Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
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EPA broadens exclusion zone exemptions in new proposal

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing changes to the Application Exclusion Zone language in federal pesticide law that would expand exemptions and lessen regulatory requirements for ag operations.
The changes, announced Thursday in an EPA press release, would expand AEZ exemptions under the existing Worker Protection Standard to a producer’s immediate family, limit AEZ applicability to a farm owner’s property, and clarify language on pesticide applications being suspended when other individuals enter the AEZ.
EPA said limiting the AEZ to a farm owner’s property was necessary because “the off-farm aspect of this provision has proven very difficult for state regulators to enforce.” It said off-farm bystanders “would still be protected from pesticide applications thanks to existing ‘do not contact’ requirements” prohibiting “use in a manner that would contact unprotected individuals.”
As for the immediate family language, EPA said the expanded exemptions would “allow farm owners and their immediate family members to decide whether to stay in their homes or other enclosed structures on their property during certain pesticide applications, rather than compelling them to leave even when they feel safe remaining.”
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