EPA Announces Approval of Arkansas State Certification of Pesticide Applicator Plan

Oct 02, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing stronger standards for individuals who use Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) in the state of Arkansas. The current state plan has been revised to meet or exceed the improved safety requirements in the 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators Final Rule (CPA).

“Misuse or disregard of pesticide safety standards can impact vulnerable populations; therefore, it is imperative that we keep improving and maintaining pesticide safety requirements,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “With this approval, EPA is taking critical steps to reduce exposure to the environment and to safeguard human health.”

There are over 20,000 pesticide applicators in Arkansas certified to use RUPs and over 30,000 farm workers who may work around RUPs. Applicators, the public, and the environment are at risk from exposure to mishandled or misapplied RUPs. The revised State Certification Plans are intended to enhance and improve the competency of certified RUP applicators and persons working under their direct supervision (noncertified applicators). EPA expects that improving the competency of certified and noncertified applicators will help ensure that RUPs are used according to their labeling and will reduce pesticide exposure and illness among applicators, farm workers, the public, rural communities, and children, as well as preventing unreasonable adverse effects to the environment.

EPA understands the importance and dangers of RUPs; therefore, it has verified that this State Plan meets or exceeds the updated and more stringent federal regulations. The revisions of this plan incorporate long-standing requests and environmental justice concerns from communities, including improved training for people applying RUPs under direct supervision, protection of minors, and additional training for certain high-risk classes of pesticides. Major areas of improvement under the CPA:

  • New categories: A certificate is now required for aerial, fumigation, and predator control RUPs. These high-risk pesticides now require specific training due to the difficulty of application without causing severe harm by off-target exposure.
  • Minimum age: Applicators must be 18 to apply RUPs (with limited age exemption (16) for some uses on family farms by noncertified applicators under the direct supervision of a certified applicator).
  • Noncertified applicator qualifications: Those applying RUPs under direct supervision of a certified applicator must receive training in a manner they can understand. Applicators must verify training records for those working under their supervision prior to applying RUPs.
  • Recertification: Certifications are valid for a maximum of five years. Previously, no federal limit.

This plan has met the CPA’s minimum requirements and has tailored the programs to their state’s needs. The program changes will be implemented over time, according to the plan’s implementation schedule.

Of the 56 proposed plan revisions submitted by state and territory certifying authorities, 51 have been approved. The regulatory deadline for approving revised certification plans is November 4, 2023. EPA continues to collaborate with certifying authorities to resolve the Agency's comments on the remaining plans.

Source : epa.gov
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