[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 85 (Wednesday, May 3, 1995)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 21960-21965]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-10873]



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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 170

[OPP-250098A; FRL-4950-5]


Administrative Exception to Worker Protection Standard Early 
Entry Prohibition for Irrigation Activities

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Administrative exception decision.

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SUMMARY: EPA is granting an administrative exception to the 1992 Worker 
Protection Standard (WPS) allowing early entry into pesticide treated 
areas to perform certain irrigation activities. The exception is in 
response to formal requests the Agency received from the States of 
California and Hawaii, a petition from many organizations in the 
agricultural community, and informal requests from other States. The 
exception allows workers to perform necessary irrigation activities, 
which if delayed could cause significant economic loss, and that result 
in minimal contact with pesticide-treated surfaces, for a maximum of 8 
hours in a 24-hour period during a restricted-entry interval (REI). EPA 
is granting this exception because it believes the benefits outweigh 
the risks and the potential risk from this exception is not 
unreasonable.

EFFECTIVE DATE: May 3, 1995.

ADDRESSES: The Agency invites any interested person who has concerns 
about the implementation of this action to submit written comments 
identified by docket number ``OPP-250098A'' to: By mail: Public 
Response and Program Resources Branch, Field Operations Division 
(7506C), Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M St., SW., Washington, 
DC 20460. In person, bring comments to: Rm. 1132, Crystal Mall #2, 1921 
Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202.
    Comments and data may also be submitted electronically by sending 
electronic mail (e-mail) to: opp-docket@epamail.epa.gov. Electronic 
comments must be submitted as an ASCII file avoiding the use of special 
characters and any form of encryption. Comments and data will also be 
accepted on disks in WordPerfect in 5.1 file format or ASCII file 
format. All comments and data in electronic form must be identified by 
the docket number ``OPP-250098A.'' No Confidential Business Information 
(CBI) should be submitted through e-mail. Electronic comments on this 
document may be filed online at many Federal Depository Libraries. 
Additional information on electronic submissions can be found in Unit 
VII of this document.
    Information submitted as a comment concerning this document may be 
claimed confidential by marking any part or all of that information as 
CBI. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance 
with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2. A copy of the comment that 
does not contain CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public 
record. Information not marked confidential may be disclosed publicly 
by EPA without prior notice. All written comments will be available for 
public inspection in Rm. 1132 at the Virginia address given above from 
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.
    The exception requests and all comments submitted on the proposed 
exception are available for public inspection in the Office of 
Pesticide Programs' public docket, Rm. 1132, Crystal Mall #2, 1921 
Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 
p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Ager, Office of Pesticide 
Programs (7506C), Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M St., SW., 
Washington, DC 20460. Office location, telephone number, and e-mail 
address: 1921 Jefferson Davis Highway, Rm. 1121, Crystal Mall #2, 
Arlington, VA, (703) 305-7666, ager.sara@epamail.epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is one of a series of Agency actions to 
revise elements of the WPS. These actions were published on January 11, 
1995 (60 FR 2820), and proposed to: (1) Shorten the time periods before 
which employers must train workers and retrain workers and handlers in 
pesticide safety; (2) exempt those who perform crop advising tasks from 
certain requirements; (3) allow early entry to pesticide-treated areas 
to perform certain time-sensitive irrigation activities; (4) allow 
early entry to pesticide-treated areas to perform certain time-
sensitive activities resulting in ``limited contact'' with pesticide 
treated surfaces; and (5) allow workers to enter areas treated with 
certain lower risk pesticides after 4 hours rather than 12 hours. This 
action addresses allowing early entry to pesticide-treated areas to 
perform certain time-sensitive irrigation activities. Final 
determinations on the other four actions mentioned above are being 
published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

I. Background

    On August 21, 1992, EPA issued a final rule (57 FR 38102) revising 
the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) for agricultural pesticides (40 
CFR part 170). The WPS prohibits routine entry by workers into 
pesticide-treated areas during REIs. An REI is the time after the end 
of a pesticide application during which entry into the treated area is 
restricted. Section 170.112(e) of the WPS provides a process for 
considering exceptions to this prohibition against early entry to 
treated areas.
    In 1994, both California and Hawaii specifically requested that EPA 
grant an exception to allow early entry to pesticide-treated areas, 
prior to the expiration of the REI, to perform necessary irrigation 
tasks involving limited contact with treated surfaces. Specifically, 
the Agency was asked to consider allowing unlimited early entry during 
the REI if workers would not have substantial contact with pesticide-
treated surfaces. The Agency was also asked to consider establishing a 
single requirement for personal protective equipment (PPE) that could 
be worn by irrigation workers.
    The irrigation exception requests from California and Hawaii, and a 
petition from a coalition of agricultural and commodity groups, 
persuaded EPA that there is a potential for significant economic impact 
if growers could not tend to irrigation tasks in a timely manner due to 
REIs. In response to these requests, EPA proposed a national exception 
for irrigation activities to be performed within the REI, provided 
certain conditions were met.
    EPA received comments supporting and opposing the proposed 
exception. [[Page 21961]] Information received during the public 
comment period persuaded EPA that there could be significant economic 
impact if irrigation activities, resulting in minimal contact, were 
prohibited during the REI. EPA has been persuaded by comments that the 
irrigation tasks are relevant to the production of a wide variety of 
agricultural plants across a broad geographic area.

A. WPS Early Entry Restrictions

    In general, the WPS prohibits agricultural workers from entering a 
pesticide-treated area during the REI. REIs are based on the toxicity 
of the active ingredient in the product and other factors. They are 
specified on pesticide product labels and typically range from 12 to 72 
hours or possibly longer where product-specific REIs have been 
determined.
    Additionally, workers engaging in early-entry work are not 
permitted to engage in hand labor, which results in substantial contact 
with treated surfaces. The WPS defines hand labor as any agricultural 
activity performed by hand or with hand tools that causes a worker to 
have substantial contact with surfaces (such as plants or soil) that 
may contain pesticide residues.

B. WPS Exceptions to Early Entry Restrictions

    Currently, the WPS contains the following exceptions to the general 
prohibition against worker early entry: entry resulting in no-contact 
with treated areas; entry allowing short-term tasks, with required PPE 
and other conditions; entry to perform tasks associated with 
agricultural emergencies; and an exception process for EPA to determine 
on a case-by-case basis whether entry is warranted for activities not 
covered in the previous exceptions.

II. EPA's Exception Decision

    EPA is granting an exception to the early-entry prohibition to 
allow irrigation tasks to be performed. Based on the information 
submitted in comments and EPA's experience over many years of reviewing 
agricultural practices in connection with pesticide use, EPA has 
concluded that this exception appropriately balances the potential risk 
of worker exposure and the significant economic impact which could be 
incurred if growers are not allowed to tend to irrigation tasks at 
necessary times.
    The exception is designed to minimize risk to workers conducting 
early-entry irrigation tasks while providing growers the needed 
flexibility to irrigate their crops. EPA has reviewed information on 
the risks and benefits associated with granting an exception for 
necessary irrigation activities and believes that the benefits outweigh 
the risks. This assessment is based on EPA's evaluation of the risk 
reduction provided by the provisions contained in this exception and 
the benefits which may be obtained by allowing the exception. 
Furthermore, where the benefits outweighed the risks, EPA has, in the 
context of the WPS, previously made exceptions to the general 
prohibition against early entry, even for hand labor activities. [See 
Hand Labor Tasks on Cut Flowers and Ferns Exception (57 FR 38175, 
August 21, 1992)]. Because hand labor as defined in the WPS involves 
substantial worker contact with surfaces that may contain pesticide 
residues, and this exception is limited to irrigation tasks where 
workers' contact with treated surfaces would be minimal and limited to 
the workers' feet, lower legs, hands, and forearms, EPA believes that 
pesticide exposure to workers performing irrigation tasks under the 
terms of this exception would be less than exposures to workers 
performing hand labor tasks in the same treated area. Therefore, EPA 
believes that early entry under the terms of the exception (see unit IV 
of this document), will not pose unreasonable risk to irrigation 
workers.
    The category of activity envisioned by this exception includes only 
those irrigation tasks which cannot be delayed until the expiration of 
the REI. The definition of a task that cannot be delayed is one that, 
if not performed before the expiration of the REI, would cause 
significant economic loss and where there are no alternative practices 
which would prevent the loss. By this definition, EPA has defined a 
category of tasks with significant limits placed on the type and 
duration of activity in which a worker can be engaged and the economic 
circumstances under which the exception can be applied. Taken together, 
these elements limit the exception to only high-benefit activities.
    Further, EPA has included significant provisions which will limit 
pesticide exposure and risk to irrigation workers. This exception 
specifically forbids hand labor activity; prohibits entry into a 
treated area during the first 4 hours after a pesticide application and 
until applicable ventilation criteria and any label-specified 
inhalation exposure level have been met; limits the time in treated 
areas under a REI for any worker to 8 hours in any 24-hour period; 
requires that any contact with treated areas by a worker be minimal and 
limited to feet, lower legs, hands, and forearms; excludes pesticides 
requiring double-notification; requires PPE; directs the agricultural 
employer to notify workers of specific information concerning the 
exception; and ensures that the requirements of Sec. 170.112(c)(3)-
(c)(9) are met. These terms will limit worker exposure and, 
consequently, worker risk.
    The WPS's general prohibition against early entry is designed to 
limit worker exposure during the critical REI. In granting this 
irrigation exception, EPA has weighed the risk to irrigation workers 
against the benefits of early-entry irrigation activities and finds 
justification for this exception. EPA believes that this exception 
adequately addresses and balances worker exposure concerns with the 
commercial needs of agriculture.

III. Summary of Major Issues

    EPA received over 80 comments on the proposed irrigation exception. 
Comments were received from State agencies, grower groups, farmworker 
groups, and individuals.

A. Need for the Exception

    An exception for allowing irrigation activities is needed because 
failure to irrigate crops in a timely manner could cause a significant 
economic impact. The existing exceptions do not adequately address 
irrigation needs.
    Commenters described many circumstances where failure to irrigate 
before the expiration of the REI could cause a significant economic 
impact. Comments from nurseries and greenhouses stated that frequently 
they need to water more than once a day. Several commenters stated 
their dependency on the irrigation districts for water and noted that 
often a grower has only a few hours notice before water arrives from 
the irrigation contractor. USDA cited the need for the exception for 
United States agriculture to be competitive in international markets.
    EPA agrees with these comments, and is persuaded that it is 
necessary to allow early entry during the REI to perform irrigation 
activities. EPA has written specific restrictions into this exception 
to reduce risk to irrigators.

B. Geographic Limitation

    The States of California and Hawaii formally requested an exception 
for irrigation activities. In response to other States, informally 
expressing the need to irrigate before the expiration of the REI, the 
Agency requested comments on the need for a national exception. 
Comments were received from: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, 
Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, 
[[Page 21962]] Montana, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, 
Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. Most comments opposed a 
geographic limitation and several commenters stated their irrigation 
needs were similar to California and Hawaii. The greenhouse and nursery 
industry, which is national in scope, expressed the importance of 
watering-in pre-emergent herbicides. One commenter stated that a 
geographic limitation could pose an economic disadvantage to parts of 
the country where the exception is not applicable. However, another 
commenter stated, that a national exception would heighten the risk of 
poisonings and another commenter stated, that criteria should be 
established and applied on a case-by-case basis.
    Based on the comments received, EPA has concluded that a nationwide 
irrigation exception is necessary. Although irrigation practices and 
the circumstances in which irrigation is employed vary considerably 
throughout the country, the need for early entry to perform irrigation 
tasks, that cannot be delayed without incurring significant economic 
loss, is common nationwide. The provisions of the exception which 
define the category of acceptable tasks limits those activities to ones 
which are needed nationwide. Granting exceptions for certain geographic 
areas is appropriate to address local, particularized needs. But in the 
present instance, EPA believes that such a case-by-case approach is 
unwarranted and overly burdensome given that the need is common and 
amenable to a more generalized exception.
    The disruption of needed irrigation can lead to significant and 
even catastrophic economic losses. All types of irrigation require 
occasional maintenance, repair or adjustment necessitating early entry. 
This exception will allow such activities during the REI only if the 
failure to act during the REI will result in significant economic loss. 
By limiting the exception in this manner, EPA intends to prevent use of 
the exception for routine irrigation activities.
    Furthermore, EPA's analysis takes into account the concern that 
this exception should adequately protect worker safety. Among other 
limitations to ensure appropriate protection for irrigation workers, 
EPA is limiting the tasks that may be engaged in by time (a maximum of 
8 hours during any 24-hour period), necessity, and economic impact. 
These measures will provide workers with adequate protection while 
allowing growers the needed flexibility to prevent significant economic 
losses due to problems with their irrigation systems.

C. Two-Year Expiration Date

    Under the proposal, this exception would have expired 24 months 
after the implementation date. Most commenters were opposed to an 
expiration date and stated that 2 years was not sufficient time to 
gather data concerning any documented increase in incidents. Several 
commenters were in favor of the 2-year expiration as a period to be 
used to monitor the need for further restriction if necessary.
    EPA agrees with comments opposed to the 24-month expiration. The 2-
year time period would not provide adequate time for EPA to evaluate 
the impact of the exception date. In general, changes in pesticide use 
practices do not occur suddenly, and there is often a lag time in 
reporting and analysis of incident data. Therefore, EPA expects it 
might be several years before data would be available to evaluate the 
impact of this exception. EPA, of course, may use the procedure in 
Sec. 170.112(e)(5) to revoke the exception at any time that data become 
available indicating that such action is necessary.

D. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    The Agency was asked to consider establishing a generic PPE set. 
Since irrigation workers may work in several different treated areas, 
they could be required to comply with several different label 
requirements for PPE. EPA proposed a generic PPE set which would 
consist of coveralls, chemical resistant gloves, socks, and chemical 
resistant footwear. EPA proposed that the employer may choose to 
provide employees with PPE that either: (a) conforms with the label 
requirements for early-entry PPE; or (b) conforms with the generic PPE. 
The proposed alternative generic PPE requirement includes eyewear, if 
on the label.
    Several commenters expressed concern that irrigators may be at risk 
of heat stress from performing strenuous tasks in coveralls. Several 
commenters maintained that bodily contact with treated surfaces would 
be limited to areas protected by gloves and boots. One commenter 
mentioned that the use of gloves would be impractical for certain 
tasks.
    Some commenters stated that the complete PPE was necessary because 
it could not be assumed that exposure would be only to feet, lower 
legs, hands and forearms. It was mentioned that irrigators may not have 
considerable contact with foliage, but do have significant contact with 
contaminated soil and pipes. Several commenters responded favorably to 
the option of wearing generic PPE, in lieu of the label requirements, 
because it would reduce confusion for irrigators entering multiple 
fields in a single day. One commenter opposed the use of generic PPE, 
in lieu of the label PPE, because irrigation workers will be exposed 
through incidental exposure, such as residues dripping from orchards, 
irrigation water, or wiping perspiration from the face. Even while 
wearing PPE, injuries have been reported.
    EPA has concluded that rather than require eyewear as part of the 
generic PPE, the use of protective eyewear should be consistent with 
the early-entry PPE requirement on the labeling. EPA is not requiring 
respiratory equipment because the exception expressly prohibits workers 
from entering treated fields during the first 4 hours after application 
and until applicable ventilation criteria have been met, and until any 
label-specified inhalation exposure level has been reached.
    While the terms of the exception require that the contact be 
limited to feet, lower legs, hands, and forearms, the Agency believes 
that incidental, unintended, or accidental exposure to other parts of 
the body, besides the lower legs, feet, forearms and hands, may be 
possible and thus, is requiring coveralls as part of the generic PPE. 
The WPS requires that PPE not be worn home and that it must be properly 
maintained by agricultural employers. The requirement for coveralls 
could decrease exposure risk to residues from long-sleeved shirts and 
long pants which could be worn home.
    In response to concerns regarding heat stress from wearing PPE, EPA 
notes that the agriculture employer is required, under unit IV.7 of 
this document, to assure that no worker is allowed or directed to 
perform the early-entry activity without implementing, when 
appropriate, measures to prevent heat-related illness.

E. Time Allowed in the Treated Area

    EPA proposed that the time in treated areas under the REI for each 
worker not exceed 8 hours in any 24-hour period.
    Many comments recommended unlimited entry during the REI for 
irrigation. Several commenters favored the 8-hour limit in any 24-hour 
period and one commenter said it would be difficult and uncommon for an 
irrigator to exceed 8 hours in a treated area during even the longest 
work shift. One commenter indicated that pesticide-treated surfaces 
cannot be controlled and that PPE may not adequately protect for 8 
hours. It was also suggested that [[Page 21963]] time in the treated 
area should be determined by the toxicity of the chemical, allowing up 
to 6 hours per 24-hour period.
    EPA has designed this exception by balancing the benefits of giving 
employers the flexibility to perform irrigation tasks against the added 
risks resulting from increased exposure during early entry. In this 
case, one way to limit risk is to limit exposure to 8 hours, rather 
than to allow unlimited entry as commenters requested. Entry for up to 
8 hours affords employers considerably more flexibility in using 
workers than a shorter period. EPA is retaining the 8 hours maximum 
time allowed within a 24-hour period. The Agency concludes that this is 
a sufficient amount of time to address most irrigation needs and, after 
considering this provision in combination with the other protections 
required under this exception, that the benefits of an 8-hour period 
outweigh the risk of exposure in that period.

F. Exclusion of Double-Notification Pesticides

    Entry into areas treated with pesticides requiring double 
notification is not allowed under the terms of this exception. The 
``double-notification'' provision relates to pesticides that are highly 
toxic, dermally irritating, or have other health effects that set them 
apart from other pesticides and requires growers to both post the 
treated area and orally notify workers of the application.
    Several commenters opposing the exclusion of double-notification 
pesticides, asserted that the same tasks are necessary and believed the 
risks would be low since workers would have only ``minimal contact with 
treated surfaces'' and that PPE would provide adequate protection. 
Other alternatives proposed included: allowing entry to fields based on 
the height of the crop or on the nature of the task rather than the 
toxicity of the pesticide; and reducing the maximum time allowed in 
fields treated with double-notification pesticides.
    Several commenters supported excluding double-notification 
pesticides and one commenter stated that the double-notification 
pesticides should also be excluded from the other exceptions. One 
commenter stated that category B or C carcinogens, identified as 
developmental or reproductive toxins or known to be sensitizers, and 
pesticides with the signal word DANGER should also be excluded from the 
exception. Another commenter expressed concern over the methodology of 
compiling the double-notification list and expressed concern regarding 
other risky pesticide exposures, especially from the standpoint of eye 
exposure and chronic toxicity.
    The Agency is convinced that allowing workers to enter a field 
treated with a double-notification pesticide before the expiration of 
the REI would pose an unreasonable risk. Incidental exposure to double-
notification pesticides, such as brushing against a treated surface, 
more than with other pesticides, has the potential to cause an acute 
illness or a delayed effect. There are reports of acute poisonings 
which have occurred after short-term exposure to many of these highly-
toxic pesticides. Thus, shortening the period allowed for early entry 
may still not provide adequate protection. EPA has data demonstrating 
that the majority of pesticides requiring double-notification are 
responsible for many reported incidents of worker poisonings. The 
Agency is prohibiting early entry during the REI to fields treated with 
pesticide products which require both the posting of treated areas and 
oral notification to workers (i.e. double-notification).

G. Notification Requirements to Workers

    The exception proposed 10 posting requirements. Many of these 
requirements duplicated requirements of the WPS and one (the posting of 
the 2-year expiration date) is no longer relevant.
    The Agency is requiring growers that use this exception to inform 
workers, either in writing or orally in language the worker 
understands, that: (1) The establishment is relying on the irrigation 
exception to allow workers to enter treated areas to complete 
irrigation tasks; (2) no entry is allowed for the first 4 hours 
following an application, and until applicable ventilation criteria 
have been met, and until any label-specified inhalation exposure level 
has been reached; and (3) the time in the treated area under a REI for 
any worker may not exceed 8 hours in any 24-hour period.

H. Poisoning Information

    Several commenters supplied the Agency with poisoning incident 
data. Many poisoning incidents, while involving irrigators, appear to 
be accidents and would not be affected by this exception. Also, many of 
these pre-WPS incidents would constitute non-compliance with the 
federal WPS requirements if they had been in effect. These incidents 
have reinforced the Agency's conclusion about the potential for risk 
reduction by wearing PPE when entering treated fields before the REI 
expires.
    Implementation of the WPS will reduce the number of pesticide-
related incidents by requiring irrigators to wear PPE if entering 
before the REI expires and by not allowing any entry until the 4 hours 
after application and until inhalation/ventilation criteria have been 
met.

IV. Terms of the Exception

    The terms of the exception are essentially the same as those 
proposed in the Federal Register of January 11, 1995 (60 FR 2830), with 
two minor differences; the final exception is not limited to 2 years 
and the 10 posting requirements have been changed to 3 notification 
requirements. It should be noted that because this exception allows 
tasks to be performed during the REI, all persons engaged in irrigation 
tasks under this exception must be trained.
    The exception described in this document may be used unless early 
entry is expressly prohibited in product labeling. For example, some 
labels prohibit entry--including entry that would otherwise be 
permitted under the WPS and this exception--by any person other than 
trained and equipped handlers performing handling tasks for specified 
periods after the application.
    Under the terms of this exception, a trained worker may enter a 
treated area during a REI to perform tasks related to operating, 
moving, or repairing irrigation or watering equipment, if the 
agricultural employer ensures that all of the following requirements 
are met:
    1. The need for the task could not have been foreseen and cannot be 
delayed until after the expiration of the REI. A task that cannot be 
delayed is one that, if not performed before the REI expires, would 
cause significant economic loss, and there are no alternative practices 
which would prevent significant loss.
    2. No hand labor activity is performed. (The WPS defines ``hand 
labor'' as any agricultural activity performed by hand or with hand 
tools that causes a worker to have substantial contact with surfaces 
(such as plants, plant parts, or soil) that may contain pesticide 
residues.)
    3. The worker's only contact with treated surfaces (including but 
not limited to soil, water, surfaces of plants, crops, and irrigation 
equipment) is minimal and is limited to feet, lower legs, hands, and 
forearms.
    4. The PPE for early entry must be provided to the worker by the 
agricultural employer for all tasks. Such PPE shall either: (a) conform 
with the label requirements for early-entry PPE; or (b) consist of 
coveralls, chemical resistant gloves, socks, and chemical 
[[Page 21964]] resistant footwear, and eyewear (if eyewear is required 
for early-entry PPE by the product labeling). In either case, the PPE 
must conform to the standards set out in Sec. 170.112(c)(4)(i) through 
(c)(4)(x).
    5. The pesticide product does not have a statement in the pesticide 
product labeling requiring both the posting of treated areas and oral 
notification to workers (double notification), or a restriction 
prohibiting any person, other than an appropriately trained and 
equipped handler, from entering during the REI.
    6. The time in treated areas under a REI for any worker does not 
exceed a maximum of 8 hours in any 24-hour period.
    7. For all irrigation tasks, the requirements of 
Sec. 170.112(c)(3)-(c)(9) are met. These are WPS requirements for all 
early-entry situations that involve contact with treated surfaces, and 
include:
    i. A prohibition against entry during the first 4 hours, and until 
applicable ventilation criteria have been met, and until any label 
specified inhalation exposure level has been reached.
    ii. Informing workers of safety information on the product 
labeling.
    iii. Provision, proper management, and care of PPE.
    iv. Heat-related illness prevention.
    v. Requirements for decontamination facilities.
    vi. Prohibition on taking PPE home.
    8. The agricultural employer shall notify workers before entering a 
treated area, either orally or in writing, in a language the worker 
understands, that:
    i. The establishment is relying on this exception to allow workers 
to enter treated areas to complete irrigation tasks.
    ii. No entry is allowed for the first 4 hours following an 
application, and until applicable ventilation criteria have been met, 
and until any label-specified inhalation exposure level has been 
reached.
    iii. The time in a treated area under a REI for any worker cannot 
exceed 8 hours in any 24-hour period.
    EPA reserves the right to withdraw exceptions, in accordance with 
Sec. 170.112(e)(6), if the Agency receives information or any other 
data that indicates the health risks posed by activities permitted 
under the exception are unreasonable, that the provisions of this 
exception are being abused, or that indicates the exception no longer 
has benefits that outweigh the risks.

V. Reevaluation of Irrigation Exception

    The Agency is adopting this exception in order to provide the 
flexibility to the agriculture sector to avoid significant economic 
losses while still providing agricultural workers protection under the 
WPS. As discussed more fully above, the Agency believes that any added 
risks associated with pesticide exposure of irrigation workers, from 
activities permitted by this action, will be limited by the specific 
conditions imposed in the irrigation exception. The Agency intends, 
over the next several growing seasons, to collect information to 
evaluate the effectiveness of this exception. In particular, EPA is 
interested in determining whether the conditions imposed by this action 
successfully protect workers against pesticide poisonings. EPA is also 
interested in better characterizing the circumstances in which this 
exception is being used and in understanding whether the exception 
addresses the needs of growers adequately. Finally, EPA would like to 
obtain information on the extent of compliance with the conditions in 
the irrigation exception and any practical problems with enforcement.
    To obtain a better understanding of the implementation and impacts 
of this irrigation exception, EPA will work with USDA and States to 
gather relevant information. The Agency will hold public meetings in 
agricultural areas to provide those directly affected by the WPS--
growers, enforcement staff, and agricultural workers--an opportunity to 
comment on these actions and the WPS rule in general. As appropriate, 
EPA may conduct surveys and review incident data to assess how the 
rules are affecting agriculture. The Agency invites any interested 
person who has concerns about the implementation of this action to send 
comments to the Agency at the address listed at the beginning of this 
Notice under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

VI. List of Exceptions in 40 CFR 170.112

    In a technical amendment published elsewhere in this issue of the 
Federal Register, EPA is amending Sec. 170.112 of the WPS by adding to 
Sec. 170.112(e)(7) a referencing of this administrative exception for 
irrigation tasks and its effective date. EPA will ensure that the 
regulated community is aware of the terms and conditions of the 
exception, and is able to locate this and future administrative 
exceptions. The technical amendment to Sec. 170.112(e)(7) does not make 
any substantive changes in the WPS or in Sec. 170.112.

VII. Public Docket

     A record has been established for the WPS rulemaking and this 
administrative decision under docket number ``OPP-250098A'' (including 
comments and data submitted electronically as described below). A 
public version of this record, including printed, paper versions of 
electronic comments, which does not include any information claimed as 
CBI, is available for inspection from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The public record is located 
in Rm. 1132 of the Public Response and Program Resources Branch, Field 
Operations Division (7506C), Office of Pesticide Programs, 
Environmental Protection Agency, Crystal Mall #2, 1921 Jefferson Davis 
Highway, Arlington, VA.
    Electronic comments can be sent directly to EPA at:

    opp-docket@epamail.epa.gov

    Electronic comments must be submitted as an ASCII file avoiding the 
use of special characters and any form of encryption.
    The official record for the WPS rulemaking and this administrative 
decision, as well as the public version, as described above will be 
kept in paper form. Accordingly, EPA will transfer all comments 
received electronically into printed, paper form as they are received 
and will place the paper copies in the official rulemaking record which 
will also include all comments submitted directly in writing. The 
official rulemaking record is the paper record maintained at the 
address in ``ADDRESSES'' at the beginning of this document.

VIII. Consultations and Reviews

A. Statutory Reviews

    As required by FIFRA section 25(a), this administrative decision 
was provided to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to Congress for 
review. The FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel waived its review.

B. OMB Review

    This action was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) for their informal review. Any comments or changes made during 
OMB's review have been documented in the public record.

C. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Pursuant to Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 
which the President signed into law on March 22, 1995, EPA has assessed 
the effects of this administrative decision on State, local, and tribal 
governments, and the private sector. This action does not result in the 
expenditure of $100 million or more by any State, local or tribal 
governments, or by anyone in the [[Page 21965]] private sector. In 
fact, this action actually involves a reduction in burden and overall 
cost.
    In addition to the consultations prior to proposal, EPA has had 
several informal consultations regarding the proposed rule with some 
States through the EPA regional offices and at regularly scheduled 
State meetings. No significant issues or information were identified as 
a result of EPA's discussion with the States.

List of Subjects

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, 
Labeling, Occupational safety and health, Pesticides and pest.

    Dated: April 24, 1995.
Lynn R. Goldman,
Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic 
Substances.

[FR Doc. 95-10873 Filed 5-2-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-F