|With help from Helena Bottemiller Evich|
HEALTH GROUPS: OSHA RULES NEEDED FOR FARMWORKERS: Farmers would have to post information for their workers on the pesticides being used if public health advocates had their way. Workers who experience potentially life-threatening exposure to a pesticide would be guaranteed treatment within four to five minutes, not 30 minutes.
Those are just a few examples of how advocates say Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards would better protect pesticide applicators than changes EPA is now proposing to its worker rules. Friends of the Earth, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other health and farmworker advocates are urging the agency to bring its standards more in line with OSHA’s, an idea that is unlikely to sit well with the agriculture industry or state agriculture departments already weary of the administration’s interference.
“Under [EPA’s worker protection standards], even with the proposed updates, farm workers’ protections are inferior to other workers’ protections on matters such as personal protective equipment, the right to know about workplace chemicals, safety training, and emergency assistance,” Friends of the Earth argues in its Aug. 5 comments to EPA. “EPA has the authority and moral responsibility to correct this inequity for farm workers, the vast majority of whom are low-income people of color.” More on the health groups push is...