Monday, June 18, 2018

EPA Publishes New Pesticide Rules

It took lawsuits from three states to force the EPA under the demise of hard-core exploiter, Scott Pruitt, to implement new rules to protect farm workers from pesticides they apply to crops everyday.  California, New York and Maryland filed suit against the agency for its failure to issue new regulations governing worker exposure to the toxic chemicals they handle.  The training requirements Pruitt wanted to discard without public notice or hearing, inform workers on how to minimize their exposure from contaminated clothing and footwear; how to access information about the hazards of particular pesticides they come into contact; insure awareness of emergency medical care.  The number of agricultural workers injured each year by pesticides is not known since there is no national reporting of acute pesticide poisonings or chronic illnesses caused by repeated exposure.  Many of America's farm workers are Mexican or Central American immigrants with little education.  Thirty states require reporting of pesticide injuries, but many incidents go unreported.

Combined exposure to three chemicals commonly sprayed on crops to fight pests in California’s Central Valley triples the risk of Parkinson’s disease for people who work near where the pesticides are sprayed, a research team headed by Dr. Beate Ritz, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health, found as far back as 2011.

The Agricultural Worker Protection Standard was first implemented in 1992, but was strengthen with training requirements in 2015.  It was these requirements that were arbitrarily suspended by Pruitt in the name of freeing private enterprise from burdensome government regulations.  So who cares if a few more ignorant farm workers get ill or die, if profit margins can be maintained?  Pruitt has not given up on his effort to weaken the regulations.  His agency plans to publish a new rule making later this year for more revisions to the standards.