Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. serves small, medium, and large pesticide product registrants and other stakeholders in the agricultural and biocidal sectors, in virtually every aspect of pesticide law, policy, science, and regulation.

By Lisa M. Campbell and Margaret R. Graham

On March 20, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a notice that it was delaying the effective date of five regulations, including the final rule on the certification of pesticide applicators.  The effective date for this final rule is now May 22, 2017 (original effective date was March 6, 2017).  In the notice, EPA states that it is “taking this action to give recently arrived Agency officials the opportunity to learn more about these regulations and to decide whether they would like to conduct a substantive review of any of these regulations.”  The new effective date of May 22, 2017, could be delayed further if EPA officials decide to conduct a substantive review.  More information on the pesticide applicator certification rule is available in our memorandum Final EPA Rule Requires Stronger Standards for Applying Riskiest Pesticides.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell and Margaret R. Graham

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has scheduled a final rule to be published on on January 26, 2017, which will temporarily delay the effective date of certain regulations until March 21, 2017.  This final rule is being issued in accordance with the Presidential directive entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” issued January 20, 2017.  Among the 30 regulations that meet those criteria is the final rule Pesticides; Certification of Pesticide Applicators, which revises EPA’s regulations concerning the certification of applicators of restricted use pesticides which was scheduled to be effective as of March 6, 2017.  The final rule states that it “may consider delaying the effective dates … beyond March 21, 2017,” but in that event, “the Agency would propose any later effective date for public comment.”  More information on this final rule is available in our memorandum Final EPA Rule Requires Stronger Standards for Applying Riskiest Pesticides.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell, Susan Hunter Youngren, Ph.D., and James V. Aidala

On August 24, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposal to revise the Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule.  EPA is proposing stricter standards for people certified to use “restricted use” pesticides (certified applicators).  Restricted use pesticides are not available for purchase by the general public, require special handling, and may only be applied by a certified applicator or someone working under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.

The proposed stricter standards include:

  • Certified applicators must be at least 18 years old;
  • Those working under the supervision of certified applicators would now need training on using pesticides safely and protecting their families from take-home pesticide exposure;
  • Certifications would have to be renewed every 3 years;
  • Additional specialized licensing for certain methods of application that can pose greater risks if not conducted properly, such as fumigation and aerial application; and
  • Updates to the requirements for States, Tribes, and Federal agencies that administer their own certification programs to incorporate the strengthened standards. 

Currently, the majority of certification programs have no renewal requirements.  Thus, this requirement will put additional burdens on States and Tribes administering certification programs to not only strengthen their standards under this new proposal but to incorporate a time-keeping process to ensure applicators’ renewals are kept up to date, and sufficient certification programs are available for re-certifying purposes.  In addition, for some certification programs, the specialized licensing programs will need to be developed, tested, and instituted.

EPA’s proposal to update certification and training requirements comes along with the parallel effort to revise the worker protection standards (WPS), where a final rule updating those requirements are expected sometime in September.  Like the revised WPS, revising the training requirements has been on EPA’s agenda for many years, and this part of the updated requirements for worker protection is expected to be less controversial than some of the changes to the WPS.  In particular, since EPA has emphasized the protection of children as part of its pesticide regulatory program, making the minimum age 18 for pesticide applicators is part of that agenda.

EPA encourages public comment on the proposed improvements.  Comments on the proposal are due November 23, 2015.

More information about certification for pesticide applicators is available here.