DATCP has been getting questions lately from farmers about changes to pesticide use laws – specifically to new requirements that pesticide handlers and applicators be at least 18 years old. It’s understandable this is confusing, because there are changes to two separate federal laws going on simultaneously.
The two regulations involved are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules — the Worker Protection Standard and Certification of Pesticide Applicators. In both cases, they apply to pesticide use. This includes:
- Mixing, loading and applying pesticides
- Cleaning and repairing application equipment
- Carrying open pesticide containers
- Rinsing pesticide containers
Let’s sort out the changes to each of these regulations.
Worker Protection Standard
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) applies to employees on your farm.
Effective January 1, 2017, employees on your farm must be at least 18 years old to handle pesticides that carry the “agricultural use requirement” statement on the label, whether they are restricted or non-restricted use products. This statement is found on restricted or non-restricted use pesticides. As examples, atrazine products would be restricted use, and products containing glyphosate would be non-restricted use. Employees must also be at least 18 to enter areas treated with pesticides during the “restricted entry interval”. This time will vary depending on the pesticide, and is listed on the label.
There are also other changes to the Worker Protection Standard, and it does apply to nurseries, greenhouses and forestry businesses, too. If you have questions, contact Jane Larson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-224-4545.
Certification of Pesticide Applicators
Farmers, their family members and their employees must be certified and licensed as private pesticide applicators if they use restricted use pesticides. This is not new. But under the new regulation, they will have to be at least 18 years old to be certified to use these pesticides.
Note, however, that this law is not yet in effect. The EPA has finalized it, but is working with the states to align state and federal regulations. Enforcement is at least three years away. States have their own pesticide laws, which must be at least as stringent as federal laws; they can be more stringent. In Wisconsin’s case, most of the changes to the federal law are things we already do; however, the age restriction will be new.
There are other changes to certification of pesticide applicators as well, including new provisions for commercial applicators. For information, contact Mike Murray, email@example.com, 608-224-4551.
The EPA defines family members as parents, children, step-children, foster children, spouses, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and first cousins – even if you pay them for their work.
Neither of these two rules applies to family members who handle or apply non-restricted use pesticides. However, even family members who handle or apply restricted-use pesticides must be certified and licensed.
Please feel free to visit the DATCP website for current requirements: datcp.wi.gov, search for worker protection or private applicator.