What Can Pesticide Applicators Do if They Can’t Find PPE during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Some restricted use herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides used by agricultural producers and other certified applicators have labels that require the use of respirators to prevent unacceptable levels of exposure. Structural pest control operators often wear PPE to protect themselves in confined spaces, in addition to label requirements.
However, according to the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators (AAPSE), personal protective equipment (PPE) may be in short supply regionally or nationally in 2020. For example, with the critical need for N95 respirators in the healthcare field, there are few, if any, “dust/mist” type respirators or particulate filters (N, P, or HE) available in the marketplace as of April 2020. In some cases, distributors are not accepting new orders, and back-orders have delivery dates in June, July, or later.
Although current circumstances are atypical, applicators should be aware that:
- Pesticides may not be applied without the label-required PPE.
- Home-made masks are not sufficient substitutes for label-required respirators/masks.
- No exemption or relaxation of the requirements has been made by EPA.
- Users may need to select alternative products or practices if required PPE is not available. For example, reusable gloves can be washed and reused in the absence of disposable gloves.
- If users go without required PPE, it may present an additional burden to emergency departments.
Applicators may not feel the effects of PPE shortages until later in the year, but it is prudent to plan ahead.
- Review product labels to identify key products that require respiratory protection.
- Monitor existing inventory and/or availability of PPE.
- Seek alternative products or practices if PPE is not obtainable. There may be a very similar product available with different label requirements.
Tools to Find Alternative Products and Practices
AAPSE recommends using the following tools to search for alternative products if PPE is not available for the original choice.
CDMS Label Database: http://www.cdms.net/Label-Database
Crop Data Management Systems (CDMS) works with key pesticide registrants, hosting their current labels and safety data sheets (SDS) online.
Works with manufacturers to have labels and other supporting documents. This search engine has a safety tab that lists the PPE requirements without having to search the label. The pesticide label can also be referenced.
USDA Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Database: https://ipmdata.ipmcenters.org/
Documents include common pests by crop and a variety of pest management options.
(NPIC) Product Research Online: http://npic.orst.edu/NPRO
National Pesticide Information Center – Search for federally registered pesticides by crop or pest/weed and read labels online.
MDAC Databases: http://www.kellysolutions.com/MS/pesticideindex.htm
Mississippi Dept. of Agriculture and Commerce – Search the MDAC databases of registered pesticides by pest, site, active ingredient, and other options.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There is a new online pathway for agricultural producers and applicators to obtain pesticide use certification.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service Pesticide Safety Education Program, in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC), has launched an online Private Applicator Certification program in Mississippi.
The Dicamba Applicator Training required for individuals who plan to apply dicamba herbicide products in Xtend cropping systems is open online and scheduled at several sites across Mississippi.
The online modules are available at http://auxintraining.com.
The face-to-face workshops will be March 16-17 in Tunica, Coahoma, Hinds, Lee and Washington counties.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Farmers in Monroe and Tunica counties can dispose of unused hazardous agricultural products at two separate events.
The Waste Pesticide Disposal events, organized by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will accept insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. Household chemicals, rinsates, and empty and bulk containers will not be accepted.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Dicamba Applicator Training required for individuals who plan to apply dicamba herbicide products in Xtend cropping systems has been opened online and scheduled at several sites in the Delta and north Mississippi.
Agricultural professionals are invited to attend the 2019 General Pest Management Workshop Jan. 24 at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond.
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