Richards reviews pesticide safety, worker protection
HARRINGTON, Del. — As the spring planting season ramps up, new restrictions on certain pesticide uses and revisions in the Worker Protection Standard are part of the information farmers have to absorb.
Dr. Kerry Richards, coordinator for the University of Delaware pesticides safety education program, shared updates on both topics during the Delaware Farm Bureau’s Ag Safety Conference on March 30.
Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide and miticide widely recognized by trade names Lorsban and Dursban, among others, as of Feb. 28, 2022, can no longer be used on crops intended for food or feed.
Richards said EPA was told from 2017 they were to ban the use of chlorpyrifos. EPA was told again in 2019. Denials were challenged in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (California).
In April 2021, the court ordered EPA to grant the petition and issue a final rule modifying or revoking the tolerances of the pesticide.
“Normally, farmers get to use up existing stocks, but not so this time,” Richard said. “EPA revoked all tolerances for residue legally allowed in or on raw ag commodities and processed foods. If a crop is tested and residue is found, the crop must be destroyed.”
Until Feb. 25, there had been talk of a stay of decision for another year, Richards continued, “but they’re not kidding. It’s now a law.”
There is only one exception, Richards said. Existing stock may be used on fruit and nut trees that will not bear fruit within one year. Otherwise, “stop use immediately!”
More information is available at https://www.fda.gov/media/156012/download.
Farmers cannot use household hazardous waste disposal programs for chlorpyrifos, and it’s not clear if all state departments of agriculture will be equipped to accept discards of this insecticide, either.
Richards said Delaware is fortunate to have an Environmental Sweep Program (ESP) offered by the state department of agriculture in all three counties for easy and environmentally responsible disposal of unwanted, outdated or canceled pesticides.
The service is free to qualifying individuals and businesses. You fill out a form, then DDA Pesticide Section staff will review your inventory, perform an on-site verification visit, and contact you regarding your approved quantity status. The selected waste contractor will then directly contact you for a pickup date.
For details, contact Jimmy Hughes at (302) 698-4569 or Chris Wade at (302) 698-4570 or visit https://agriculture.delaware.gov/pesticide-management/environmental-sweep-program/.
Richards also reminded farmers of a change in rules about Paraquat, which can be found at https://npsec.us/paraquat. “You cannot pour Paraquat into another container,” she said.
This change came after six deaths involving children drinking leftover pesticide. There is no antidote; consumption of paraquat is fatal.
Richards explained significant revisions in Worker Protection Standards. Employers must provide specific information and protections to workers, handlers and others persons about potential exposure to pesticides. Training is required, and verbal notification is not enough.
Richards offered copies of a required poster. Farmers must also display application information and safety data sheets, and keep records of how much is used, where, when and re-entry intervals.
The rules also require handlers to wear PPE and take measures to protect others during pesticide applications. Workers must be notified of re-entry intervals and observe “application exclusion zone” during application, stopping application until other people are clear of that area.
If labels require a respirator, handlers must go through medical evaluation, fit testing and respirator training.
“It is not enough just to see if the respirator is tight enough. And if you lose or gain weight, or your medical condition changes, you must do it again,” she said.
These regulations are available at http://pesticideresources.org/wps/ttt/manual/.