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EPA lenient compared to OSHA violation requirements

The government has a variety of agencies which are in charge of regulating the safety of work environments. However, not all agencies have the same rules and regulations. Some offer more protections for workers in California than others. This is the case with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many criticize the EPA for not providing enough protection compared to OSHA violation requirements.

Many are calling for the EPA to strengthen its protections for farm workers in particular due to instances of misuse of pesticides which caused harm to workers. Approximately 5.1 billion pounds of these chemicals are used on crops every year nationwide. This threatens farm workers' health as well as the health of their families. Repeated exposure to pesticides has been shown to cause chronic health issues that can be debilitating.

However, even after studies reported that approximately 10,000 to 20,000 serious pesticide poisonings occur among farm workers each year, the EPA has yet to update its safety standards for agricultural workers for over two decades. The EPA's current safety regulations are codified in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). However, critics argue that FIFRA is too lenient compared to OSHA regulations.

On the other hand, despite EPA and OSHA violation requirements, those who are injured as a result of exposure to pesticides while on the job may be able to obtain monetary reimbursement via workers' compensation in California or in any other state. However, one may have to prove that the injury and symptoms are indeed a result of pesticide exposure from work. Authorities may request that the worker explain his or her case before granting benefits.

Source: Source: Huffington Post, "It Is Time for the EPA to Step Up Protection of Farmworkers," Hector E. Sanchez, Aug. 9, 2013

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