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EPA proposes changes to pesticide applicator certification and training

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a minimum age (18) and stricter standards for certifying applicators of restricted use pesticides (RUPs). For commercial applicators in Ohio, there is no distinction between RUP and non-RUP users, hence these new proposals potentially affect the certification and recertification of all licensed commercial pesticide applicators in Ohio whether or not they actually use restricted use pesticides. Private applicators are only required to be licensed in Ohio if they use RUPs.

Much of what is proposed for the stricter federal standard is already required by Ohio law. For example, Ohio pesticide applicators already take closed book exams, must recertify on a three-year schedule, and keep pesticide records. The proposed changes would however significantly increase the recertification requirements for Ohio pesticide applicators. The EPA has proposed that all applicators will be required to take six units (50 minutes) of core plus three (private) or six (commercial) units per category every three years. An Ohio commercial applicator licensed in one category who is now required to take five hours of recertification would have to attend 12 50-minute sessions every three years.  An Ohio private applicator licensed in one category who now needs three hours of training to recertify would have to attend nine 50-minute sessions every three years.

Applicators would be required to present identification at exams and recertification programs. For private applicators, the fumigation category would be split into soil and non-soil fumigation categories. There also would be an annual training requirement and minimum age of 18 for trained service persons, who under current Ohio law only require a single, verified training prior to occupational exposure to pesticides.

The public may comment on the EPA’s proposal through November 23, 2015. There have been formal requests for an extension to the deadline. Comments may be submitted to the EPA at http://www.regulations.gov in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183. Learn more about the proposal and certification for pesticide applicators: http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/epa-proposes-stronger-standards-people-applying-riskiest-pesticides.

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