The EPA has been taking input from stakeholders for ten years. The changes include additional worker training on the safe use of pesticides, including what to do in case of exposure.
Signs would have to posted warning workers not to re-enter a field where pesticides have recently been applied.
There are also provisions to protect workers from pesticide drift—chemicals blowing from one field to another.
Children younger than 16 would be banned from handling any pesticides. However, there is an exemption for family farms.
“We’ve defined it by the entity needs to be wholly owned by an individual, and then their children, as well as their in-laws or their parents," says the EPA's Jim Jones.
Publication of the proposed rules starts the clock on a 90-day public comment period. The EPA hopes to finalize the new rules in about a year.