EPA Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Further Extend Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule Deadline

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 7, 2022. Click here for more information.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule seeking public comment on the need to extend the deadline up to but no longer than November 4, 2024 for states, territories, tribes and federal agencies with existing certification plans to comply with the updated federal standards under the 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule.

The 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators final rule set stronger standards for people who apply restricted use pesticides (RUPs) and required that states, territories, tribes and federal agencies with existing certification plans submit proposed modifications by March 4, 2020, to comply with the updated federal standards. In December 2021, EPA issued an interim final rule extending the existing plans’ expiration deadline from March 4, 2022, to November 4, 2022, due to the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the complexity of plans, and the need for careful review of program-specific issues and questions.

EPA is requesting comments on the potential need to further extend the expiration date of existing certification plans which would allow for certifying authorities that need more time to respond to EPA comments and prepare approvable certification plans. Also, EPA will have more time to work with the certifying authorities to assure that their proposed certification plan modifications meet current federal standards without interruption to Federal, State, territory, and tribal certification programs or to those who are certified to use RUPs under those programs.

EPA has reviewed all proposed plan modifications and is making progress on sending agency comments to certifying authorities (states, territories, tribes and other federal agencies). To date, EPA has completed 55 final reviews of the 68 plans submitted by certifying authorities.

Comments submitted on the interim final rule and on this proposed rule will be used to inform a further extension. The comment period for the proposed rule is open for 30 days in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0831 at www.regulations.gov.

EPA Requires Cancellation of Pentachlorophenol to Protect Human Health

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 4, 2022. Click here for more information.


Today, EPA issued a final registration review decision requiring the cancellation of pentachlorophenol, a wood preservative used primarily on utility poles. During the registration review process, EPA found that given the emergence of viable alternatives, the risks pentachlorophenol poses to workers’ health outweigh the benefits of its use.

Following EPA’s March 2021 proposal to cancel pentachlorophenol, for which the Agency held a 60-day comment period, this final decision concludes EPA’s registration review of pentachlorophenol and initiates the process of risk mitigation which in this case consists of cancellation. After two years, pentachlorophenol will no longer be manufactured, sold, or distributed in the United States.

EPA’s action aligns the United States with the United Nations’ Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants Annex A listing of pentachlorophenol, which generally requires Parties to the Convention to eliminate its production, use, import, and export. Alternatives to pentachlorophenol include copper naphthenate and DCOIT, along with well-established wood preservatives such as chromated arsenicals and creosote.

The complete phase-out of pentachlorophenol will be conducted over five years and is intended to ensure stability within the utility pole industry by giving wood treaters time to switch to alternative wood preservatives. For the next two years, registrants may continue to produce, sell, and distribute wood preservatives containing pentachlorophenol while wood treatment facilities transition to alternatives. After February 2024, wood treatment facilities will be allowed to use their existing stocks of pentachlorophenol to produce treated wood for an additional three years.

Registrants are required to submit voluntary cancellation requests to the Agency within 60 days of the publication of the final registration review decision. The Agency will then begin the cancellation process by publishing a notice of receipt of these requests in the Federal Register and opening a 30-day public comment period.

To read EPA’s final decision, see docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0653 at regulations.gov.

EPA Expands Pesticide Outreach and Education to Better Meet the Needs of Pesticide Applicators, including Farmworkers, and Consumers

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 1, 2022. Click here for more information.


Kicks off Fifth Annual National Pesticide Safety Education Month with new Spanish-language Pesticide Safety Videos for Farmworkers

In February, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrates National Pesticide Safety Education Month to raise awareness for pesticide safety education and share best practices for using pesticides safely in and around our homes. Throughout the year, EPA provides resources and takes action to protect the well-being of all those who may come in contact with pesticides, from consumers who use disinfectants in their homes to pesticide handlers and farmworkers who work with and around pesticides in the fields.

“EPA is pleased to participate in National Pesticide Safety Education Month because providing tailored resources for farmworkers and other pesticide applicators is critical for ensuring that pesticides are responsibly used,” said Ya-Wei (Jake) Li, EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pesticide Programs. “Additionally, EPA continues to provide education and outreach on pesticide safety, particularly on disinfectants, to help consumers choose the right product for their needs and use that product safely.”

EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) aims to prevent and reduce pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers, an effort propelled by making pesticide safety information accessible in several languages. Through a producer and syndicator of Spanish-language educational content, EPA developed public service announcements to help farmworkers reduce take-home pesticide exposure. EPA now offers a Spanish-language video (available in two lengths) that is based on learning from focus groups comprised of migrant and seasonal farm workers. The videos emphasize the importance of handwashing when working in agricultural areas where pesticides may be used. The videos have already been viewed more than 89,000 times and have reached over 82,000 users on social media. Watch the videos: El Factor Invisible and El Factor Invisible – Extended Version.

EPA is also proud to support numerous successful efforts and programs that help the public every day, including:

  • Responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency – EPA continues to provide helpful consumer tips and outreach on the best cleaning and disinfectant practices. These efforts included an informative video on how to use EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus to find approved products for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The Agency has successfully reviewed and approved more than 500 surface disinfectant products to ensure American businesses, families, schools, and other organizations have as many tools as possible to disinfect surfaces during the pandemic.
  • Increasing access to pesticide safety information – EPA supports programs like the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), which provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions. NPIC addresses current and emerging pesticide-related issues through their pesticides hotline with pesticide specialists answering calls from the public in over 240 languages. The site, which provides free federal, state, and local resources, receives around 8 million views per year.
  • Creating culturally relevant resources – EPA uses focus group research to produce a variety of creative, multicultural, language outreach materials. These include radio spots, newsletter ads, posters and more that raise awareness of worker protection under the WPS. The radio spots have reached farmworkers and their families in more than 75 geographical markets across the U.S., reaching an audience of approximately 25 million people. These radio messages included information on how farmworkers and pesticide handlers can reduce occupational exposure to pesticides, what to do if exposed, and how to mitigate illness and injury.
  • Supporting Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs) – PSEPs teach pesticide safety across the country to workers and target communities. EPA supports PSEPs to provide workshops and educational tools to approximately 825,000 certified pesticide applicators in a variety of languages and help them meet certification requirements. PSEPs reach an additional 2 million people, including pesticide educators, farmworkers, and inner-city and rural communities. Find a program near you.
  • Furthering pesticide-related outreach – EPA funds several projects that advance pesticide safety education. Most recently, EPA awarded a five-year cooperative agreement to the University of California-Davis, in partnership with Oregon State University, for the second phase of the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC). PERC coordinates development of pesticide-related educational resources that meet national needs. Many new resources were launched through this cooperative agreement including multilingual manuals, pamphlets, webpages, videos and guides for different targeted audiences on how to work with or around pesticides safely. More than 47,000 materials have been distributed.

The Agency also expects to release another grant opportunity later this month to increase the reach and scope of pesticide safety educational programs. Learn more today about pesticide safety by visiting https://www.epa.gov/pesticides.