EPA Celebrates National Farmworker Awareness Week

This original announcement was published by the EPA on March 25, 2021. Click here for more information.


From March 25 to March 31, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrates National Farmworker Awareness Week to recognize the more than two million agricultural workers that help feed our families.

The health and safety of America’s farmworker communities is a priority for EPA. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring agricultural workers and pesticide handlers are provided with access to information and health protections similar to those already afforded to workers in other industries.

EPA provides resources and conducts initiatives to protect the well-being of farmworkers and their communities, including:

  • Worker protection: EPA implements programs and regulations that are critical to the protection of farmworkers. EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) aims to prevent and reduce pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. Less pesticide exposure means a healthier workforce and fewer lost wages, medical bills, and absences from work.
  • Information accessibility: EPA’s WPS also requires that pesticide safety information be approachable and displayed for workers during their working hours. To increase accessibility, EPA developed new pesticide safety posters in multiple languages. The new WPS posters are available on  EPA’s Worker Protection Standards Materials webpage.
  • Risk management: EPA scientists thoroughly review pesticide data to determine possible risk to human health and the environment, ensuring that if risks of concern to workers are identified, risk management measures are put in place.
  • Safety training: EPA awards grants to fund projects to educate pesticide applicators, handlers and farmworkers on working safely with, and around, pesticides. Most recently, EPA awarded a five-year cooperative agreement in the amount of $2,500,000 to the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) to support the National Farmworker Training Program. Through its previous 2015-2020 cooperative agreement with EPA, AFOP trained 184,000 farmworkers on pesticide safety.
  • Community and rural outreach: The agency’s cooperative agreements help increase the reach and scope of pesticide safety educational programs and ensure tailored outreach to farmworkers and their families in rural agricultural areas. This summer, EPA plans to award an estimated $1.2 million annually through a five-year cooperative agreement to fund outreach projects that support and promote safe pesticide use including community-based projects that focus on reaching farmworkers, agricultural pesticide handlers, their families and communities.

To learn more about EPA’s efforts to protect farmworkers, pesticide handlers and their families, visit EPA’s Occupational Pesticide Safety and Health homepage.

EPA Addresses Ecological Risks Posed by Four Pyridines and Pyrimidines Herbicides

This original announcement was published by the EPA on March 18, 2021. Click here for more information.


Today, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a proposed interim decision for picloram and interim decisions for clopyralid, dithiopyr and triclopyr to address ecological risks.

The interim decision (ID) for dithiopyr finalizes enforceable mitigation measures to address spray drift risks of concern. The IDs for clopyralid and triclopyr finalize enforceable mitigation measures to address potential residues in compost in addition to spray drift. The compost mitigation measures for clopyralid and triclopyr include label language focusing on:

  • Reducing compost contamination by prohibiting off-site composting of treated plant matter and manure from grazing animals until residues have adequately declined (both clopyralid and triclopyr);
  • Requiring pasture and turf applicators to notify the property owners/operators of the compost prohibition, and for the applicator to keep a record of this notification for two year (clopyralid only);
  • Requiring registrants to participate in a stewardship program and provide educational outreach for those affected by herbicide residues in compost (clopyralid only); and,
  • Removal of residential use on turf language from all labels (clopyralid only).

In addition to the IDs, EPA is also releasing the proposed interim decision (PID) for picloram for public comment. The PID for picloram proposes mitigation similar to the mitigation measures in the clopyralid ID.

Interim registration review decisions impose risk mitigation measures necessary to protect the environment pending additional assessments including an endangered species assessment.

The pyridines and pyrimidines are a class of herbicides used to control broadleaf weeds, woody brush and aquatic plants in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings that vary among the herbicides. Agricultural use sites include grains, fruits, vegetables and other crops. Non-agricultural use sites include turf, industrial areas, roadsides and other non-agricultural sites.

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, the IDs will be available in docket numbers EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0167 (clopyralid), EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0750 (dithiopyr) and EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0576 (triclopyr) and the PID will be available for a 60-day public comment period in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0740 (picloram) at www.regulations.gov.

After reviewing and considering the public comments received on the proposed interim decision for picloram, EPA will proceed with the registration review process and issue the picloram ID.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires EPA to periodically review pesticides to ensure that risk assessments reflect the best available science. The proposed interim decision and interim decisions are part of a multi-step process to identify risks as well as actions that can mitigate risks.

Additional information on the pyridine and pyrimidine herbicides proposed and interim decisions can be found on EPA’s website.

EPA Takes Action to Protect Public Health by Proposing Cancellation of Pentachlorophenol

This original announcement was published by the EPA on March 5, 2021. Click here for more information.


In support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making evidence-based decisions to protect human health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking an important step by proposing the cancellation of the registration of pentachlorophenol. Pentachlorophenol is a heavy-duty wood preservative used primarily on utility poles.

After completing a risk assessment, EPA determined that pentachlorophenol poses significant human health risks to workers. To address this issue, EPA is proposing to cancel all uses of pentachlorophenol through the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration review process. The agency will accept public comments on this proposed interim decision (PID) for 60 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0653 at regulations.gov.

EPA’s proposed action would align the United States with the United Nation’s Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which has banned the use of pentachlorophenol. EPA has worked with industry stakeholders to identify a number of viable, safer alternatives such as copper naphthenate and DCOIT, along with well-established wood preservatives such as chromated arsenicals and creosote.

This proposed interim decision (PID) is the next step in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration review process that EPA conducts at least every 15 years. After considering any comments concerning the PID, EPA will issue an interim decision, which would finalize the cancelation of pentachlorophenol.