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Committee to Advise on Reassessment and Transition - Paper #4

Agricultural Worker Protection Program National Assessment

EPA Begins National Assessment of the Agricultural Worker Protection Program

What is prompting this national assessment?

  • EPA initiative on the fifth year anniversary of the full implementation of the worker protection regulation
  • Worker advocacy groups' recommendations to review implementation and enforcement
  • Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee's (CHPAC) recommendations
  • U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) audit recommendations

What is EPA's initial response to the variety of recommendations?

  • EPA agrees that improvements are needed in its regulatory efforts to protect the health of agricultural workers and children in agricultural areas.
  • EPA intends to carry out a more comprehensive set of initiatives than recommended by worker advocacy groups, CHPAC, or GAO.
  • EPA is closely coordinating its assessment efforts to involve risk assessors and enforcement and program staff to examine the following areas: consistency and effectiveness in state implementation and enforcement of the worker protection program; application of available regulatory tools; verification of national compliance; determination of whether the regulation is meeting its goal; education of farmers, workers, and state regulators; reassessment of the scope, quality, and medium of safety training; and educating the medical community.
  • In particular, we agree that we need to better address the safety needs of women and children as agricultural workers.

What are some program elements that EPA will address first?

  • EPA will conduct an internal review of the process used to establish re-entry intervals for pesticides to ensure that the process adequately considers the needs of children and women employed as farm workers.
  • As part of the larger effort to obtain public comment on science policies, EPA is revising exposure assessment standard operating procedures to account for and better characterize pesticide exposure scenarios involving spray drift and other residential exposures that may occur from pesticide use in nearby agricultural areas or from agricultural workers who may carry pesticide residues into the home.

How will EPA involve the nation's worker protection program stakeholders?

EPA is initiating a worker protection assessment group composed of EPA, the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, and Health and Human Services, state regulators, state extension service safety educators, farm worker advocacy groups, farm worker service/training associations, agricultural employer associations, farm worker clinicians networks, and others to provide national direction to state programs. The goals of the group will be to:
  • assess the current program status;
  • generate a consortium of interests that can effect change in the programs;
  • provide a means to foster the partnerships essential to make the program work;
  • and, most importantly, to provide a continuing forum to focus on and resolve worker protection issues.

For more information:

  • Status information on the worker protection national assessment is available from the Certification and Worker Protection Branch (703/305-7666) and on the branch web page www.epa.gov/pesticides/safety.
  • Contact the National Pesticide Information Center Telecommunications Network (800-858-7378; http://npic.orst.edu/ Exit EPA disclaimer   for information on the toxicity of pesticides.
  • EPA's pesticide homepage www.epa.gov/pesticides has information about pesticide regulation as well as publications about pesticide issues for consumers.



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