Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

EPA Moves To Gut Agricultural Worker Protection Standards

WASHINGTON -

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will revise crucial protections for more than two million farm workers and pesticide applicators by the federal Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and the Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) rule.

The WPS establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers who mix, load, and apply pesticides; increases the frequency of worker safety training from once every five years to every year; improves the content and quality of worker safety trainings; and provides anti-retaliation protections and the right of a farm worker to request pesticide-application information via a designated representative.

The EPA also announced the reconsideration of the minimum age requirements established by the Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) rule, which sets training and certification requirements for Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), the most toxic chemicals in the market. There are roughly half a million child farm workers in the United States.

The following statement is from Andrea Delgado, Earthjustice legislative director:

“Nearly two decades ago, EPA recognized that the outdated Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, or WPS, failed to protect farm workers from pesticide exposure and poisoning. After hearing from the children, women, and men that grow and harvest our food, EPA revised the WPS to provide farm workers with basic federal protections that workers in other industrial sectors already enjoy. The Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule affects pesticide applications in agricultural, commercial and residential settings, which affects us all. 

“The workers who are most exposed to and apply a range of toxic pesticides deserve the strongest protections. Gutting the basic safeguards provided by these two rules will deny farm workers the right to access pesticide information via a farm worker representative and put children at risk of pesticide misuse, injury, illness, and death.  Whether it's in Congress or in the courtroom, we'll defend these crucial protections every step of the way.”  

###

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.

'Let's Pass Medicare for All,' Says Jayapal as Survey Spotlights Failures of For-Profit System

"When the 'all-time low' of uninsured Americans is still 26 MILLION, something needs to change," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Julia Conley ·


Environmental Defender Killed Every Two Days Over Last Decade, Report Finds

"All over the world, Indigenous peoples and environmental defenders risk their lives for the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss," said the head of Global Witness.

Brett Wilkins ·


Trailing Lula in Polls, Bolsonaro's Party Peddles 'Fabricated' Attack on Brazilian Voting System

"They're afraid they're going to lose," said one political scientist. "They're trying to create some kind of excuse for Bolsonaro supporters on why."

Julia Conley ·


'Incredible Victory': California Gov. Newsom Signs Farmworker Unionization Bill Into Law

"This is your victory," UFW president Teresa Romero told those who led and supported the fight for free and fair union elections.

Kenny Stancil ·


Climate Scientist Demands 'War Crimes' Charges for Whoever Ordered Pipeline Sabotage

The call from Stanford University climate scientist Rob Jackson came as a fourth Nord Stream leak was discovered, intensifying fears of an unprecedented release of planet-heating methane emissions.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo