New bill would overhaul U.S. pesticide rules | Pesticide Action Network
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New bill would overhaul U.S. pesticide rules

Spraying pesticides farm

PAN applauds introduction of the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA)

Press contact: Ahna Kruzic, ahna@panna.org (510) 927-5379

For immediate release: November 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Senator Booker introduced the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act, or PACTPA, which would update U.S. pesticide rules administered by EPA to be more in line with health-protective laws in other countries. The bill would also provide immediate protections for farmworkers, who are on the frontlines of workplace pesticide exposure.

Margaret Reeves, Senior Scientist with Pesticide Action Network, issued the following statement: 

"This bill includes a ban on groups of pesticides associated with some of the highest numbers of reported farmworker poisonings. It also calls for pesticide illness reporting, an essential tool in understanding the real impacts of pesticide use on farmworkers and their families. Though required in very few states, illness reporting has been a vital tool in California for years, it's time all states adopt this practice." 

Kristin Schafer, Executive Director of Pesticide Action Network, also expressed support for the legislation: 

“Our antiquated pesticide rules were created decades ago to get products quickly to market, not to protect workers, families or the environment. Other countries have systems that follow the science and prioritize public health and the environment — while maintaining farming productivity. It’s high time we caught up, and this bill is a good first step.” 

If signed into law, PACTPA would:

  • Ban certain pesticides: including organophosphate insecticides, neonicotinoid insecticides and paraquat herbicides;
  • Change EPA regulatory structure by disallowing emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they go through full health and safety reviews;
  • Create a petition process, allowing citizens to request review of pesticides that would otherwise be approved for use indefinitely;
  • Change farmworker labor law by requiring injury reports, directing EPA review of these reports, and requiring labels in Spanish and any other language that can be shown to have 500 or more applicators using that language; and
  • Require suspension and review of certain pesticides deemed unsafe by Canada or the European Union. 

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Pesticide Action Network works to create a just, thriving food system. PAN works alongside those on the frontlines of pesticide exposure — from farmworkers to rural communities to beekeepers. PAN links local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. Together, we challenge the global proliferation of pesticides, defend basic rights to health and environmental quality, and work to ensure the transition to a just and viable food system.