CEU Series: How To Survive A Pesticide Inspection

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Pesticide laws in Florida are described in two chapters of the Florida Statutes and are enforced by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Chapter 482 is known as the Structural Pesticide Act. Chapter 482 governs the application of pesticides both inside and around a structure. Pesticide applications to lawns and landscaped areas are regulated under this chapter.

The following pesticide licenses are regulated under Chapter 482: Certified Pest Control Operator (PCO), Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance Certification, Limited Lawn and Ornamental Certification, Limited Structural Certification. Chapter 487 is the Florida Pesticide Law. Chapter 487 regulates the use of restricted use pesticides (RUPs) in agricultural areas. An applicator can receive either a private, public or commercial RUP license. A private or a public license costs $100; a commercial license costs $250. All licenses last for four years. The private license is for non-commercial applications made by the owner or their employees to farms, nurseries, ranches and other agriculture operations. The public license is needed for municipal, state, federal and university employees who apply pesticides. The commercial license is required for hired applicators contracted to apply pesticides to agricultural areas. Public and commercial applicators must choose a pesticide category for their licenses. There are 19 categories ranging from agricultural row crop to soil and greenhouse fumigation. For a complete list of all the categories visit the following link: http://flaes.org/complimonitoring/pesticidecertification.html#Overview. Applicators can be certified in multiple categories, and there is no additional charge for each new category.

Transporting Pesticides

Pesticides should always be transported in a safe and correct manner. Failure to do so can result in thousands of dollars in fines and clean up fees. More importantly, the public could be put at risk. The first thing to check when transporting a pesticide is the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to see if the pesticide is listed as hazardous. The DOT requires that drivers have shipping papers or vehicle manifests when transporting products listed as hazardous.

The MSDS and labels for most pesticides can be downloaded at the Crop Data Management System website, CDMS.net.  It is vitally important to make sure that the pesticide being transported has a clean, intact and readable label. If first responders are unable to identify the pesticide after a vehicular accident, a hazardous material crew will be called to clean up the spill, and the person transporting the pesticide will be responsible for the cost. However, if the pesticide being transported has a readable label and the first responders can determine whether or not, the product is a general use pesticide, a hazardous material crew may not be necessary. Drivers are also required to pack a spill kit that contains a shovel, broom and PPE. To avoid spills, pesticides should always be stacked so they will not tip over in the bed of a truck or car trunk. Never transport pesticides in the passenger section of a vehicle. This is to prevent pesticide exposure to the driver in the event of an accident. If a vehicle will be unattended for any period of time, the pesticides must be stored in a secure manner. Acceptable methods include: locked toolbox, locked truck topper or a car trunk. Pesticides may be transported in an open truck bed as long as they are securely stacked and the vehicle is attended. Pesticide applicators will be held liable if anyone is poisoned or environmental contaminated occurs due to improper pesticide transport. In addition, never transport pesticides next to food or animal feed.

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