US seeks tougher safety standards for farmworkers

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Associated Press

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to strengthen 20-year-old standards aimed at protecting farmworkers from toxic pesticides.

The changes proposed Thursday would bar anyone 16 and younger from handling the most toxic pesticides and require no-entry zones around and in treated fields to protect workers from drift and fumes.

Farms would also have to provide annual training sessions on pesticide risk to workers. Now, farmworkers receive training once every five years.

The EPA says that between 1,200 and 1,400 cases of pesticide exposure are reported each year at farms, nurseries and other agricultural operations. But the EPA says that such cases are underreported.

The American Farm Bureau says it has not had time to review the proposal.

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