In June 1996, EPA amended the Worker Protection
Standard (WPS) to reduce the number of days decontamination supplies (soap,
water, paper towels) are required to be available to workers after application
of pesticides which are low risk and have Restricted Entry Intervals (REIs)
of four hours or less.
Rule Amendment - Decontamination
In July 1994, EPA received a petition from a coalition of agricultural organizations that requested that EPA only require decontamination supplies during Restricted-Entry Intervals (REIs) specified on the label or immediately following pesticide application. REI's are the time period after application of a pesticide when worker entry into the treated area is restricted. In September 1995, EPA proposed to reduce the time decontamination supplies are required from thirty days to a range of one to fifteen days following use of pesticides with REIs of four hours or less. During the public comment period, EPA received comments from growers, farmworker groups, state agencies, and private citizens.
Summary of Final Rule Amendment
- Decontamination supplies (soap, water, paper towels) must be available when a worker enters a treated area and will contact a treated surface.
- Decontamination supplies are required for seven days following the REI for low risk pesticides defined as pesticides with REIs of four hours or less.
- This reduced time period does not apply when two or more pesticides are mixed together, unless all of the pesticides in the mix have REIs of four hours or less.
- For pesticides that have longer REIs, the requirement remains the same, i.e., supplies must be maintained for thirty days.
- Because of the relatively low cost of supplying and maintaining decontamination supplies and the high potential risks which workers face from exposure to pesticides, EPA is not amending other aspects of the decontamination requirement.
Through a screening process, EPA has determined that certain pesticides with REIs of four hours or less pose low potential risk, and that the current thirty day decontamination requirement is not appropriate for these pesticides. EPA is unwilling to alter the thirty day decontamination requirement for other pesticides. For those pesticides which qualify for the reduced period, employers may still choose to provide decontamination supplies for longer periods of time.
For more information contact:
Certification and Worker Protection Branch
Office of Pesticide Programs
U.S. EPA (7506C)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460-0001
Phone: 703 305-7666
Fax: 703 308-2962