In an effort to ensure safe usage, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cracking down on restricted use pesticides (RUPs). The Agency has revised its Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule to mandate increased supervision and oversight.

Much more potent than general pesticides, RUPs are not available to the general public. Restricted because they have the potential to cause detrimental harm to the environment and injury to both those applying them and bystanders, these chemicals can only be used by a certified applicator or someone under their direct supervision.

No one is exempt from this rule, so the new regulations will impact all one million certified pesticide applicators in the U.S. If you’re one of them, there’s no need to panic, as states, tribes, territories, and federal agencies have up to three years to create revised certification plans and submit them to the EPA for approval. Most certification programs already contain at least some of the new guidelines, so you might not be subject to extensive changes.

7 Changes to the RUP Certification and Training Standards

The revised certification standards for pesticide applicators includes the following updates:

1. Strengthens applicator competency standards
2. Sets a nationwide minimum age of 18 (in some cases 16) for everyone applying RUPs
3. Creates a maximum recertification period of five years for commercial and private applicators
4. Mandates additional certifications for anyone using certain application methods, such as fumigation and aerial
5. Offers more options for creating certification programs in Indian Country that comply with tribal regulations
6. Requires non-certified applications to undergo training before using RUPs under the direction of a certified applicator
7. Establishes clearer requirements for states, tribes, and federal agencies to run their own certification programs and makes them more flexible, so they can be tailored as needed

How to Get Certified

If you’re not currently a certified pesticide applicator, but would like to get your license, you should be able to complete training in your local area. Do note, you must be certified by the state, territory, or part of Indian country where you’ll be applying RUPs.

Requirements vary, but some areas have constraints that exceed those mandated by the government. For example, the EPA notes that many states require all commercial applicators — even those not using RUPs — to be certified. For more information, contact the certifying agency in your state or follow these guidelines for Indian country.

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