[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 85 (Wednesday, May 3, 1995)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 21955-21960]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-10875]




Federal Register / Vol. 60, No. 85 / Wednesday, May 3, 1995 / 
Proposed Rules  
[[Page 21955]] 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 170

[OPP-250101A; FRL-4950-4]


Exception to Worker Protection Standard Early Entry Restrictions 
for Limited Contact 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 limited contact activities. The exception is 
in response to a petition that the Agency received from many 
organizations in the agricultural community. This exception allows 
workers to perform tasks, which if delayed would result in significant 
economic loss, and that result in minimal contact with pesticide-
treated surfaces, for up to 8 hours per 24-hour period during a 
restricted entry interval. EPA is granting this exception because it 
believes the benefits of this exception outweigh any resulting 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-250101A'' 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-250101A.'' 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 
VIII 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Linda Strauss or Joshua First, Office 
of Pesticide Programs (7506C), Environmental Protection Agency, 401 M 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20460. Office location, telephone number 
and e-mail: 1921 Jefferson Davis Highway, Crystal Mall 2, room 1121, 
Arlington, VA 22202, (703) 305-7371, strauss.linda@epamail.epa.gov or 
first.josh@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.
    (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 limited contact activities. Final 
determinations on the other four actions mentioned above are being 
published at the same time as this action.

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 restricted-entry intervals (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 into treated areas.
    In July 1994, EPA was petitioned by a coalition of agricultural 
organizations to allow individuals to perform tasks involving limited 
contact with treated surfaces in pesticide treated areas before the 
expiration of the REI.
    EPA considered the petition, held several work sessions with the 
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and other co-
signers of the petition exploring the need for and scope of limited 
contact tasks, and proposed granting a nationwide exception for limited 
contact activities. EPA solicited comments on the proposed exception 
and received comments supporting and opposing the proposed exception. 
Information received during the public comment period persuaded EPA 
that there could be significant economic impacts if certain limited 
contact tasks were prohibited during the REI.

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 the pesticide product label 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. 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 to be performed 
with 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. [[Page 21956]] 

II. EPA's Exception Decision

    EPA is granting an exception to the early-entry prohibition to 
allow limited contact tasks to be performed. This decision is 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 perform these 
necessary tasks. The exception is designed to minimize risk to workers 
conducting early-entry ``limited contact tasks'' while providing 
growers the needed flexibility to perform these tasks.
    EPA has reviewed information on the risks and benefits associated 
with granting an exception for necessary limited contact 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, in the context of the WPS, has 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 at 
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 restricted to limited contact 
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 limited contact 
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 workers performing limited contact tasks.
    The category of activity envisioned by this exception includes only 
those ``limited contact 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 the category of permissible tasks, with significant limits on 
the type and duration of activity, 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 employees performing ``limited contact 
tasks.'' This exception specifically: prohibits 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 restricted entry interval 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) through (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 restricted-entry interval. In 
granting this exception, EPA has weighed the risk to workers against 
the benefits to be gained from early entry to perform ``limited contact 
tasks'' 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 exception. Comments 
were received from State agencies, grower groups, farm worker groups, 
and individuals.

A. Need for Exception

    Comments received primarily from growers noted the need for the 
exception in order to add flexibility and practicality to the WPS, and 
thereby help ensure grower compliance. Without this exception, growers 
projected reduced production due to the inability to perform various 
tasks which would involve minimal contact with surfaces containing 
pesticide residues but which would need to occur during times where 
early entry was prohibited. Growers provided examples of situations 
that would require early entry to perform limited contact tasks such 
as: Opening windows or vents from the inside of a greenhouse, replacing 
electrical fuses for pumps, unloading beehives for pollinating crops, 
placing small equipment (e.g., weather monitoring stations) in fields, 
performing frost protection measures, removing equipment, and removing 
livestock from crop areas.
    Most comments opposing the exception identified risk to workers as 
a primary concern. These comments noted the existence of exceptions to 
early entry in the 1992 WPS and questioned the need for this exception, 
as well as the ability to properly interpret and enforce the exception.
    EPA remains concerned about worker risk during the restricted-entry 
interval. Additionally, EPA continues to be concerned that even PPE, 
decontamination supplies, and training may not adequately reduce the 
risk to workers if an unlimited time is allowed in an area under an 
REI.
    EPA provided the existing WPS early entry exceptions to address 
short term, time-sensitive, critical, emergency situations. EPA 
continues to believe that entry to perform routine tasks, particularly 
hand labor tasks such as harvesting, is rarely needed, especially when 
the REI is 72 hours or less.
    While the existing WPS exceptions cover most unanticipated 
circumstances necessitating early entry, EPA believes there may be a 
few occasions when the existing exceptions do not provide the 
flexibility to deal with non-routine, non-hand labor tasks for more 
than the one hour that is provided in the short-term entry exceptions. 
This exception is designed to address such situations, but EPA expects 
that it will rarely be needed.
    EPA believes that the entry requirements set out in this exception 
acceptably reduces worker contact with pesticide treated surfaces by 
limiting the duration of the contact; by limiting contact to feet, 
lower legs, hands, and forearms; by requiring PPE to protect the worker 
from the treated surfaces; by not allowing hand labor activities, as 
defined by the WPS, to be performed, as well as by other conditions.

B. Definition of Limited Contact Task

    Most comments supported the EPA definition of limited contact in 
the proposal. Some comments, however, suggest expanding the scope to 
include hand labor tasks and removing the condition that tasks must be 
those that cannot be delayed until after the REI.
    EPA believes that the exclusion of hand labor is critical to 
eliminate specific tasks that could result in greater exposure and 
unacceptable risk. Excluding hand labor tasks from the 
[[Page 21957]] definition of ``limited contact task'' will eliminate 
specific tasks that could result in greater exposure. EPA determined 
that hand labor tasks could not be performed with limited contact. 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. Allowing hand labor tasks would result in more 
frequent and longer periods of worker entry into the field. Generally, 
a worker performing hand labor is likely to have near-constant exposure 
to plant foliage, plant stems, and soil and therefore, higher exposure 
to pesticide residues. Therefore the Agency has limited the exception 
to non-hand labor tasks that are performed by workers that result in 
minimal contact with treated surfaces (including but not limited to 
soil, water, surfaces of plants, and equipment), and where such contact 
with treated surfaces is limited to the forearms, hands, lower legs, 
and feet.
    To establish offsetting benefits to balance the potential risk to 
workers from early entry for ``limited contact tasks,'' EPA is 
requiring that the limited contact task must be one that ``cannot be 
delayed until after the expiration of the restricted entry interval'' 
and, therefore, would constitute a significant economic loss if not 
undertaken. The Agency wishes to limit entry in the treated area during 
the REI and therefore is restricting entry to necessary tasks that 
cannot be delayed until the expiration of the REI.

C. Two Year Expiration Date

    Under the proposal, this exception would have expired 24 months 
after the implementation date. Most comments were opposed to an 
expiration date and stated that 2 years was not sufficient time to 
gather data concerning any documented increase in poisoning incidents. 
Several comments were in favor of the two-year expiration as a period 
to be used to monitor the need for further restriction if necessary.
    EPA believes that the two-year time period would not provide 
adequate time for EPA to evaluate the impact of the exception. 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. Therefore, EPA has 
decided to remove the 24-month expiration. EPA, of course, may use the 
procedure in Sec. 170.112(e)(6) to revoke the exception at any time 
that data become available indicating that such action is necessary.

D. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    The Agency has concluded that a generic set of PPE, consisting of 
coveralls, chemical-resistant gloves and footwear, and socks, should be 
required for this exception. Several comments requested modifications 
to this requirement, including removing the requirement for coveralls, 
substituting long sleeve shirts and long pants for coveralls to avoid 
the effects of heat stress, making PPE optional, and tailoring PPE 
requirements to the size of the plant.
    Several comments disagreed with eliminating protective eyewear, 
given that workers will be in recently-treated areas and that residues 
on workers' hands and gloves can be transferred to the eyes. A number 
of comments stated that workers should always use label PPE.
    EPA is convinced that the use of coveralls, chemical-resistant 
gloves and footwear, and socks is appropriate for limited contact 
tasks. Given the nature and range of tasks permitted under this 
exception EPA has concluded that coveralls are more appropriate than 
long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
    While the terms of the exception require that contact be limited to 
feet, lower legs, hands, and forearms, EPA believes that incidental, 
unintended, or unanticipated 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 all PPE, which includes coveralls, be properly cleaned 
and maintained by agricultural employers. This PPE maintenance includes 
cleaning according to manufacturer's instructions. In the absence of 
these instructions, the PPE must be washed thoroughly in detergent and 
hot water. The PPE must also be inspected for leaks, holes, tears, or 
worn places before each day of use.
    EPA has carefully considered comments supporting required eyewear 
and reviewed information in its possession that indicates a relatively 
low incidence of eye injuries to field workers by pesticides. EPA has 
concluded that rather than create a universal standard for eyewear to 
be used under the limited contact exception, the use of protective 
eyewear should be consistent with the early-entry PPE requirement on 
the labeling. Where eyewear is required on the label for early entry, 
it is also required for this exception.
    In response to concerns regarding heat stress from wearing PPE, EPA 
has included in the exception a requirement that the agricultural 
employer assure that no worker is allowed or directed to perform the 
early-entry activity without implementing, when appropriate, measures 
to prevent heat-related illness. See Unit V.(7) of this document.

E. Time Allowed in the Treated Area During an REI

    The Agency requested comments on the proposal to allow up to 3 
hours allowable time to perform limited contact tasks during the REI, 
but for reasons outlined in this action has decided to allow no more 
than 8 hours of limited contact activity in a 24-hour period during an 
REI. Most of the comments requested an unlimited time be allowed for 
limited contact activities.
    Some comments stated that the proposed time limit does not provide 
the needed flexibility in performing tasks, given the unpredictable and 
variable nature of farming and the necessity to perform certain tasks. 
Some comments stated further that without sufficient time, workers 
might feel pressured to work faster to complete the task, which could 
lead to safety risks, heat stress and exhaustion. In addition, several 
comments also stated that the proposed time limit would be difficult to 
enforce. Finally, several comments supported the proposed time limit 
for limited contact activities during the REI.
    EPA has concluded that up to 8 hours in a 24-hour period in the 
treated area is sufficient time to perform almost all limited contact 
tasks. The Agency recognizes that, due to the vagaries of weather, pest 
populations, etc., unforeseen exigencies frequently occur in 
agriculture. These circumstances may necessitate more than the one-hour 
time limit currently allowed in the existing early entry exception. If 
limited contact activities can be completed in less than 8 hours, the 
exception does not authorize workers to remain in the treated areas to 
perform tasks that do not meet all of the conditions of the exception.
    EPA concludes that early entry will not result in unreasonable 
risks to workers performing limited contact tasks, given that the 
allowable tasks are confined to those tasks that cannot be delayed 
until after the REI expires, that hand labor tasks are not permissible, 
and the exception does not apply where ``double notification'' 
pesticides have been applied. When workers do enter fields, exposure 
will be limited because of:
    (1) The definition of the tasks. [[Page 21958]] 
    (2) Entry is prohibited for the first 4 hours after a pesticide 
application and until ventilation criteria and inhalation exposure 
levels are met.
    (3) PPE must be provided and.
    (4) The workers must be informed of the safety information on the 
product labeling.
    The Agency recognizes that a time limit for limited contact tasks 
will be more difficult to enforce than universally prohibiting workers 
from entering the treated area under any conditions. EPA contends, 
however, that in this case, administrative ease must be balanced 
against the agricultural industry's need to cope with critical needs.

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 for crops treated 
with these pesticides; they said they 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 on the 
toxicity of the pesticide, and reducing the maximum time allowed in 
fields treated with double notification pesticides.
    Another commenter stated that other hazardous pesticides as well as 
ones posing chronic risk have not been subjected to the double 
notification requirement and are, therefore, still included under this 
exception.
    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 and other highly toxic 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).
    EPA acknowledges the concern raised by commenters that exclusion of 
double notification pesticides may not guarantee that all hazardous 
chemicals are excluded from use under this exception. EPA believes it 
has excluded a group of pesticides known to be responsible for many 
poisoning incidents because of their acute toxicity. The Agency 
believes that worker exposure to other pesticides has been addressed by 
the stringent terms of this exception.

IV. Definitions and Examples

A. Definitions

    This exception defines a ``limited contact task'' as follows:

    A limited contact task is a non-hand labor task performed by 
workers that results in minimal contact with treated surfaces 
(including but not limited to soil, water, surfaces of plants, and 
equipment), and where such contact with treated surfaces is limited 
to the forearms, hands, lower legs, and feet.

    This exception specifically prohibits hand labor activity, as 
defined by the WPS. The WPS defines ``hand labor'' as follows:

    Any agricultural activity performed by hand or with hand tools 
that causes a worker to have significant contact with surfaces (such 
as plants, plant parts, or soil) that may contain pesticide 
residues.

B. Examples

    Examples of possible limited contact tasks that might qualify for 
the exception include, but are not limited to: The operation and repair 
of weather monitoring and frost protection equipment; the repair of 
greenhouse heating, air conditioning, and ventilation equipment; the 
repair of non-application field equipment; the maintenance and moving 
of beehives.
    Examples of hand labor activity that is specifically prohibited 
include, but are not limited to: Harvesting; detasseling; thinning; 
weeding; caning; girdling; topping; planting; sucker removal; pruning; 
disbudding; roguing; packing produce into containers in the field.
    Hand labor does not include operating, moving, or repairing 
irrigation or watering equipment or performing the tasks of crop 
advisors. Hand labor tasks involve substantial contact and have a 
potential for high exposure.

V. Terms of the Exception

    The exception described in this Notice 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. It should be noted that because this 
exception allows tasks to be performed during the REI, all persons 
engaged in irrigation tasks permitted under this exception must be 
trained.
    Under this exception, a trained worker may enter a treated area 
during a restricted entry interval to perform a limited contact task if 
the agricultural employer ensures that 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 tasks 
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), is minimal and 
is limited to feet, lower legs, hands, and forearms.
    (4) The personal protective equipment for early entry must be 
provided to the worker by the agricultural employer for all tasks. Such 
personal protective equipment shall either: (a) Conform with the label 
requirements for early entry PPE; or (b) consist of coveralls, 
chemical-resistant gloves, socks, and chemical-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 
[[Page 21959]] notification''), or a restriction prohibiting any 
person, other than an appropriately trained and equipped handler, from 
entering during the restricted entry interval.
    (6) The time in treated areas under a restricted entry interval for 
any worker does not exceed a maximum of 8 hours in any 24-hour period.
    (7) For all limited contact tasks, the requirements of 
Sec. 170.112(c)(3) through (c)(9) are met. These are WPS requirements 
for all early entry situations that involve contact with treated 
surfaces, and include:
    (a) 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.
    (b) Informing workers of safety information on the product 
labeling.
    (c) Provision, proper management, and care of personal protective 
equipment.
    (d) Heat-related illness prevention.
    (e) Requirements for decontamination facilities.
    (f) Prohibition on taking personal protective equipment 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:
    (a) The establishment is relying on this exception to allow workers 
to enter treated areas to complete limited contact tasks.
    (b) 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.
    (c) The time in a treated area under a restricted-entry interval 
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.

VI. Reevaluation of the Limited Contact Exception

    The Agency is adopting this exception in order to provide the 
flexibility to the agriculture sector to avoid significant economic 
losses while providing protections for agricultural workers under the 
WPS. As discussed more fully above, the Agency believes that any added 
risks associated with pesticide exposure of workers from activities 
permitted by this action will be limited by the specific conditions 
imposed in the 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 limited contact 
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 exception and any practical problems with enforcement.
    To obtain a better understanding of the implementation and impacts 
of this limited contact 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 document under the ADDRESSES section.

VII. List of Exceptions in 40 CFR 170.112

    EPA will be amending Sec. 170.112 of the WPS by adding to 
Sec. 170.112 new paragraph (e)(7)(iii) referencing this administrative 
exception for ``limited contact'' 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. This amendment to paragraph (e) of 
Sec. 170.112 will be a technical amendment. It does not make any 
substantive changes in the WPS or in Sec. 170.112.

VIII. Public Docket

     A record has been established for the rulemaking and this 
administrative decision under docket number ``OPP-250101A '' (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.

IX. 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 for review and will 
be provided to Congress. 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 administative 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 private sector. In fact, this action 
actually involves a reduction in burden and overall 
cost. [[Page 21960]] 
    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 was identified as 
a result of EPA's discussion with the States.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 170

    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. 95-10875 Filed 5-2-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-F