By Tom Udall Press Office
U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) announced that his amendment to preserve key protections for children and farmworkers has cleared the Senate as part of a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize the nation’s pesticide registration program under the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA). The Udall amendment preserves two rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the updated Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) Rule, which provide key safeguards for farmworkers, and particularly child farmworkers, from toxic pesticide exposures.
Udall, along with U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and others, had sought these protections as part of PRIA, in response to appeals from farmworkers around the country after recent EPA moves to re-open the two rules. The rules prevent children younger than 18 working in agriculture from handling highly dangerous pesticides like chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to brain damage in children, and help farmworkers get critical health and safety information about the pesticides they come into contact with.
The agreement reauthorizes PRIA through 2023 and preserves the updated WPS and CPA through at least October 1, 2021.
“The Senate came together in bipartisan fashion to advance PRIA and preserve critical protections for children and farmworkers,” Udall said. “We must maintain these essential safeguards for the people who toil day in and day out to help put food on all of our tables – safeguards which protect almost half a million young kids working on farms from handling toxic pesticides and guarantee farmworkers have access to safety information about the chemicals they are exposed to on the job. PRIA has had a long tradition of bipartisan congressional and stakeholder support. With my amendment, I believe that this tradition can continue. I thank Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow for working with us to resolve our concerns, and I encourage the House to maintain this same bipartisan spirit and move quickly to send this legislation to the president.”
The Udall amendment:
– REAUTHORIZES PRIA through 2023, with the reauthorization sun-setting in 2025
– PRESERVES THE CHILD & WORKER PROTECTIONS provided by the WPS and the CPA rule through October 1, 2021
– ADDRESSES INDUSTRY CONCERNS ABOUT THE DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE PROVISION by requiring that the GAO conduct a study on the use of a designated representative, “including the effect of that use on the availability of pesticide application and hazard information and worker health and safety”; and “include any recommendations to prevent the misuse of pesticide application and hazard information, if any misuse is identified.”
– ALLOWS REVISIONS TO THE APPLICATION EXCLUSION ZONE (after notice, and a public comment period of no less than 90 days) that are consistent with the law (FIFRA).