EPA Update

1. EPA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Pesticide Applicator Certification Rule. EPA is extending the public comment period on the proposed changes to the certification rule for an additional 30 days. EPA is proposing stronger standards for pesticide applicators who are certified to apply the riskiest pesticides, known as restricted use pesticides (RUPs). The goal is to reduce the likelihood of harm from the misapplication of RUPs and ensure a consistent level of protection among states. More information about this rule is available at www.2.epa.gov.


2. EPA Releases Strategic Plan for Protecting Drinking Water from Harmful Algal Blooms. EPA has released a strategic plan outlining actions to address algal toxins in drinking water. The agency will work on treatment techniques and monitoring technologies, develop innovative mapping tools to help protect drinking water sources, provide technical support to states and public water systems, issue health advisories, and support activities to protect drinking water sources. To read the plan: Click here


3. EPA Announces $3.75 Million Grant for Local Projects to Protect and Sustain Healthy Watersheds. The Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds has made an official award to the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment). The purpose of the grant program is to accelerate and expand the strategic protection of healthy freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. The cooperative agreement, totaling $3.75 million in federal funding over six years. The Endowment will manage an annual subgrant award process to fund projects that develop healthy watersheds efforts and support local projects. The first Request for Proposals will be available soon. For updates on the subgrant process, a planned webinar, and the posting of the subaward RFP, check the Endowments website:  Click here


4. New EPA Web Page on Secondary and Service Containers for Pesticides. EPA has a new Web page that compiles information about secondary containers and service containers and addresses frequently asked questions. Secondary and service containers are used by the pesticide industry as part of the process of applying pesticides. For example, many pesticide products used by applicators come in a concentrated form and must be diluted for use. The secondary container might be used to hold the diluted pesticide. In other cases, an applicator may want a smaller service container (to be filled from the large container) for ease of use. Neither type of container may be used for distribution or sale. While containers used in this way are not required to be labeled, EPA’s recommendations for labeling are intended to help ensure the safe use of pesticides. This webpage combines and replaces information previously found on the Labeling Questions and Answers Click here


The Web page is designed to help pesticide registrants and applicators:

* understand EPA’s definition of secondary and service containers;
* learn about EPA’s recommendations for good management practices when labeling secondary and service containers; and,
* learn how to properly identify the contents of a secondary or service container, including when the pesticide is diluted.

This new Web page can be found at: www.2.epa.gov

5. EPA Launches Pesticide Worker Protection Dashboard. As part of our overall efforts to increase protection for farmworkers links.govdelivery.com from pesticide exposure and increase transparency EPA recently launched a new Pesticide Worker Protection Dashboard links.govdelivery.com

This interactive tool provides charts and graphs presenting certain key enforcement and compliance information related to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) program under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). This effort reflects our ongoing commitment to make environmental data accessible and easy to use. The WPS dashboard presents information on the regulated community and answers questions like:

* how many facilities in the United States employ workers or handlers covered by the Worker Protection Standard;
* how many inspections are reported;
* how many violations have been found, and what enforcement actions have been taken by states, tribes and/or EPA.

This information will help allow the public and regulators to monitor the types of worker protection violations found in their state and in adjoining states so that they can adjust compliance assistance and education efforts or target inspections to increase compliance. Greater compliance means better protection for agricultural workers and fewer pesticide exposure incidents among farmworkers and their family members. That means a healthier workforce, reductions in lost wages and medical bills, and fewer absences from work and school. The public will be able to see the number of operations and workers covered by the Worker Protection Standard, and see the types and numbers of responses by the state, territory, tribe or EPA. Most states, territories and several tribes have primary authority for compliance monitoring and enforcement against the use of pesticides in violation of the labeling requirements (this is commonly referred to as state primacy). It is important to note that the data may not reflect all compliance monitoring, inspections and enforcement activity within a state or tribe and that database will be updated. You can access the WPS Dashboard at echo.epa.gov.