On the same day that President Trump nominated Andrew Wheeler to be EPA administrator, the agency said it would withdraw a Trump-era proposal to set a minimum age of 16 for farmworkers to handle, mix, or apply pesticides, down from the age 18 limit specified in a 2015 regulation.
The Trump administration improperly and repeatedly delayed the pesticide applicator rule issued by the EPA in early 2017, decided U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, who declared the rule to be in effect.
Future Ag Management, a farm labor contractor in Soledad, California, will be fined over $168,000 for failing to provide farmworkers with appropriate housing conditions. The fine will be levied by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
A 2015 update of the EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard required that farmworkers who handle or apply pesticides be at least 18 years old. The EPA now says it “has initiated a process to revise certain requirements in the WPS.”
The EPA is considering changes to a 2015 rule that requires pesticide handlers to be at least 18 years old and bars the application of pesticides if farmworkers are nearby, said Bloomberg.
With Syngenta already under investigation for the alleged misuse of pesticides in Hawaii, the EPA is now looking into Monsanto, Terminix, and Wonder Farm [a Hawaiian agricultural operation] for allegedly ignoring pesticide laws in Hawaii, says Civil Beat.
Some workers at U.S. packing plants pay a high price for their jobs, says Harvest Public Media in a three-part series that starts today with new installments through Thursday. "Employees aren't cattle going through the chutes," the widow of one worker tells HPM. "They're people with families."
An investigation by the Austin American-Statesman newspaper says that, despite a Texas state law intended to assure migrant farmworkers have clean and safe housing, "many housing facilities elude the reach of the state's limited inspection effort."
"Fields of toxic pesticides surround the schools of Ventura County," by Liza Gross, won third place in the investigative category for smaller circulation news organizations in the Association of Health Care Journalists' annual Awards of Excellence contest.