The EPA has filed notices with the federal register to either tweak or get rid of two rules that prevent exposure to toxic chemicals to workers under the age of 18.
The first rule, Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, is one adopted in 2015 by the Obama administration which prohibits farmworkers who are minors from handling certain toxic pesticides. These pesticides are known as “restricted use” pesticides and are really only used for large agricultural sites and commercial farms. Doctors have warned that these chemicals could affect brain development.
The second rule, Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule, would loosen restrictions on who can become certified to dispense and deal with these toxic peptides, meaning it could be easier for minors to gain this certificate. Since children are more susceptible to these chemicals than adults, it could be a long-term disaster if they are allowed to work around these toxins.
— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) January 6, 2018
“Exposure to the same chemical may cause different health outcomes in children compared with adults. A well-known example is the effect of lead on young children’s developing nervous systems. Lead does have effects on the nervous systems of adult workers, which result in peripheral neuropathies. For children, however, intellectual development is exquisitely sensitive to even small amounts of lead; this sensitivity is not seen in adults,” says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
These two rules were made in order to protect those workers under the age of 18 whose brains are still developing and could be negatively affected by exposure to these large amounts of toxic and dangerous pesticides. Medical professionals had advised these rules stay in place.
Unfortunately, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt will continue to side with industry interests over science and citizen health.