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EPA proposes stronger rules around pesticides on farms

Mirko Fabian
John Deere Tractor with field sprayer.

Read the transcript for this report below.

ELIZABETH ARAKELIAN, HOST: This month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed strengthening the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard. That’s a regulation that aims to reduce pesticide exposure in farming communities. KVPR’s Esther Quintanilla explains what this means.

ESTHER QUINTANILLA: The EPA wants to expand pesticide application exposure zones and establish a standard radius. That includes a 25-foot buffer for medium to large sprays and a 100-foot buffer for fine sprays.

Michal Freedhoff is with the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. She says current regulations are not enough to protect people.

MICHAL FREEDHOFF: This isn't just a worker health issue. It's also about civil rights.

QUINTANILLA: Freedhoff says the proposed regulations can protect against accidental pesticide exposures.

FREEDHOFF: Today's proposal would reinstate all those important protections to keep farm workers safe, because less pesticide exposure keeps workers and communities healthy.

QUINTANILLA: The EPA is also recommending agricultural employers keep workers out of areas where pesticides are being applied to avoid incidents like pesticide drift.

For KVPR News, I’m Esther Quintanilla

Esther Quintanilla reports on diverse communities for KVPR through the Central Valley News Collaborative, which includes The Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle, KVPR and Radio Bilingüe.