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PA EPA GRANTS ROSE GROWERS TWO YEAR EXCEPTION TO WORKER PROT.

Release Date: 12/20/96
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PA EPA GRANTS ROSE GROWERS TWO YEAR EXCEPTION TO WORKER PROT.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1996

EPA GRANTS ROSE GROWERS TWO-YEAR EXCEPTION TO WORKER PROTECTION STANDARD

Effective Dec. 18, EPA has granted a two-year exception which will allow workers to hand harvest pesticide-treated roses grown in greenhouses before the restricted entry intervals have expired. According to Roses Inc., Haslett, Mich., which made the request, without an early-entry exception, the domestic cut-rose industry would not survive economically. Based on written statements received from the rose industry, on information obtained during public meetings, as well as on the Agency's knowledge of rose production, EPA finds that the benefits of early entry over the next two years are substantial. The Agency also believes that early entry under the terms of the exception will not pose unreasonable risks to rose workers. Risks for rose harvesters will be mitigated by the limited time harvesters are allowed in the treated area, the use of personal protection equipment that must be worn by the workers, accessible decontamination facilities, the provision of label-specific information for harvesters and the basic safety information that employers must present to workers. To provide greater certainty about the potential risk to early-entry rose workers, EPA has provided funding to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to conduct and evaluate the effectiveness of the personal protective clothing in mitigating residue exposure. EPA also expects that the rose industry will research and pilot alternative practices which could reduce and possibly eliminate the need for early entry for rose harvesting in greenhouses. EPA is interested in working with the rose industry to identify specific research efforts and explore how best to incorporate practices at individual grower establishments. The Agency expects to meet frequently with the rose industry to discuss implementation of the exception as well as the research efforts. The Worker Protection Standard prohibits agricultural workers from entering pesticidetreated areas for periods of time ranging from four to 72 or more hours (depending upon the toxicity of the pesticide) following application. The Worker Protection Standard is intended to reduce the risk of pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural employees who may be exposed to pesticides while performing hand-labor operations in or on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses, as well as those who mix, load or apply pesticides.

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