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PA EPA INVITES COMMENT ON REQUEST BY ROSE GROWERS FOR EXCEPT.

Release Date: 11/18/96
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PA EPA INVITES COMMENT ON REQUEST BY ROSE GROWERS FOR EXCEPT.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 1996

EPA INVITES COMMENT ON REQUEST BY ROSE GROWERS FOR EXCEPTION TO WORKER PROTECTION STANDARD

EPA is inviting comments on a request from rose growers to allow workers to harvest roses by hand earlier than would otherwise be permitted under the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Among other things, the WPS prohibits agricultural workers from entering pesticide-treated areas for specified periods of time ranging from four to 72 or more hours (depending upon the toxicity of the pesticide) following pesticide applications. The WPS 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 pesticide handlers who mix, load or apply pesticides. The request by Roses Inc. covers all cut-rose production in greenhouses throughout the United States. According to Roses Inc. without an early-entry exception allowing for harvest of cut roses two times per day, cut-rose growers will lose a significant portion of their crop and therefore suffer substantial economic harm. Roses Inc. also maintains that health risks to workers would not be increased. In l994, EPA granted an exception that allowed, under specified conditions, early entry into pesticide-treated areas to harvest roses by hand for a maximum of three hours during a 24-hour period. The exception expired in June of this year. In granting the 1994 exception, EPA noted that if rose growers needed an exception beyond the two years, the industry would need to provide additional information concerning economic hardship, as well as measures to mitigate risks to workers. EPA is soliciting comments on whether the data submitted are adequate to support granting the requested exception. Comments on the request by Roses Inc. are due to the Agency by Nov. 29 and should be sent to: Public Response and Program Resources Branch, Field Operations Division (7506C), U.S. EPA, 401 M St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20460. The Federal Register notice of today's announcement appeared on Oct. 30.

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