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A Note Regarding California Code and Cal/EPA
When one reviews various provisions in California statutes, especially the Health and Safety Code, Food and Agriculture Code, and Government Code, please note that the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) was created July 1, 1991 under the Governor's Reorganization Plan # 1(GRP-1). At that time, the programs and personnel responsible for dealing with pesticide safety and health regulations in the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) were moved to the newly created Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) under Cal/EPA. The pesticide worker safety and health programs in the Department of Health Services (DHS) were similarly moved to the newly created Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) under Cal/EPA. However, the statutory provisions making these changes were not "codified" by GRP-1. That is, they cannot be found by looking in basic published law books. Nonetheless, GRP-1 is "law" and is in place and controlling for determining which state agency has which powers. The intent of GRP-1 was that the changes would be codified on a piecemeal basis. Therefore, it is possible to see sections of code in published codes that have not been updated. Code references that appear on this Web page regarding pesticide health and safety have been "updated" to accurately reflect current legal status of CDFA, DPR, DHS, and OEHHA as affected by GRP-1.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL CODE
[Joint-and-mutual DPR-OEHHA responsibility]
12980. The Legislature hereby finds and declares that it is necessary and desirable to provide for the safe use of pesticides and for safe working conditions for farmworkers, pest control applicators, and other persons handling, storing, or applying pesticides, or working in and about pesticide-treated areas. The Legislature further finds and declares that the development of regulations relating to pesticides and worker safety should be the joint and mutual responsibility of the Department of Food and Agriculture [now DPR] and the State Department of Health Services [now OEHHA]. The Legislature further finds and declares that in carrying out the provisions of this article, the University of California, the Department of Industrial Relations, and any other similar institution or agency should be consulted.
12981. The director shall adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of this article. Such regulations shall include, but are not limited to, all of the following subjects:
(a) Restricting worker reentry into areas treated with pesticides determined by the director to be hazardous
to worker safety by using either or both of the following:
(1) Time limits.
(2) Pesticide residue levels on treated plant parts determined by scientific analysis to not be a significant
factor in cholinesterase depression or other health effects.
When the director has adopted regulations pursuant to both paragraphs (1) and (2), the person in control of the area treated with the pesticide shall have the option of following regulations adopted pursuant to either paragraph (1) or (2). If the person in control of the area treated with the pesticide chooses to follow regulations adopted pursuant to paragraph (2), the director may establish and charge the person a fee necessary to cover any costs of analysis or costs incurred by the director or commissioner in carrying out regulations adopted pursuant to paragraph (2). The regulations shall include a procedure for the collection of the fee, and the fee shall not exceed actual cost.
(b) Handling of pesticides.
(c) Hand washing facilities.
(d) Farm storage and commercial warehousing of pesticides.
(e) Protective devices, including, but not limited to, respirators and eyeglasses.
(f) Posting, in English and Spanish, of fields, areas, adjacent areas or fields, or storage areas. The State Department of Health Services [now OEHHA] shall participate in the development of any regulations adopted pursuant to this article. Such regulations that relate to health effects shall be based upon the recommendations of the State Department of Health Services [now OEHHA]. The original written recommendations of the State Department of Health Services [now OEHHA], any subsequent revisions of those recommendations, and the supporting evidence and data upon which the recommendations were based shall be made available upon request to any person.
12982. The director and the commissioner of each county under the direction and supervision of the director, shall enforce the provisions of this article and the regulations adopted pursuant to it. The local health officer may assist the director and the commissioner in the enforcement of the provisions of this article and any regulations adopted pursuant to it. The local health officer shall investigate any condition where a health hazard from pesticide use exists, and shall take necessary action, in cooperation with the commissioner, to abate the condition. The local health officer may call upon the State Department of Health Services [now OEHHA] for assistance pursuant to Section 105210 of the Health and Safety Code.
12985. Any person who orders an employee to enter an area posted with a warning sign in violation of any worker safety reentry requirements promulgated pursuant to this article by the director is guilty of a misdemeanor. A violation of this article affecting any worker or workers constitutes a separate offense for each affected worker.
12986. (a) The director shall approve programs for training persons who handle or apply pesticides in aerial pest control operations. The training programs shall be consistent with, but not limited to, this article and may include participation by trainees in field practices or exercises dealing with the safe handling and application of pesticides and may include performance measurement of the practices and exercises.
(b) The approved training programs shall be conducted by industry qualified instructors. Industry qualified instructors are persons approved by the director.
(c) All persons who successfully complete an approved training program shall be issued a certificate of completion by industry qualified instructors, which shall be available for inspection by the director or a commissioner, or his or her representative. When the person completing an approved training program attended the program at the request or expense of the person's employer, the employer shall be provided a copy of the certificate of completion, which also shall be available for inspection by the director or a commissioner, or his or her representative.
12988. No pesticide may be registered or reregistered unless the director determines that the registrant has complied with this article.
[Pesticide illness reporting]
105200. Any physician and surgeon who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that a patient is suffering from pesticide poisoning or any disease or condition caused by a pesticide shall promptly report that fact to the local health officer by telephone within 24 hours and by a copy of the report required pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 6409 of the Labor Code within seven days, except that the information which is available to the physician and surgeon is all that is required to be reported as long as reasonable efforts are made to obtain the information. Each local health officer shall immediately notify the county agricultural commissioner and, at his or her discretion, shall immediately notify the Director of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of each report received and shall report to the Director of Pesticide Regulation, the Director of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the Director of Industrial Relations, on a form prescribed by the Director of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, each case reported to him or her pursuant to this section within seven days after receipt of the report. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment shall designate a phone number or numbers for use by local health officers in the immediate notification of the office of a pesticide poisoning report. The office shall from time to time establish criteria for use by the local health officers in determining whether the circumstances of a pesticide poisoning warrants the immediate notification of the office. In no case shall the treatment administered for pesticide poisoning or a condition suspected as pesticide poisoning be deemed to be first aid treatment. Any physician and surgeon who fails to comply with the reporting requirements of this section or any regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall be liable for a civil penalty of two hundred fifty dollars ($250). For the purposes of this section, failure to report a case of pesticide poisoning involving one or more employees in the same incident shall constitute a single violation. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health of the Department of Industrial Relations shall enforce these provisions by issuance of a citation and notice of civil penalty in a manner consistent with Section 6317 of the Labor Code. Any physician and surgeon who receives a citation and notice of civil penalty may appeal to the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board in a manner consistent with Section 6319 of the Labor Code. Each local health officer shall maintain the ability to receive and investigate reports of pesticide poisoning at all times pursuant to Section 12982 of the Food and Agricultural Code.
105205. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment shall develop and implement, in cooperation with local health officers and state and local medical associations, a program of medical education to alert physicians and other health care professionals to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and reporting of pesticide poisoning.
105210. After consultation with the county agricultural commissioner or the Director of Agriculture, the local health officer may, upon his determination that pesticide poisoning is serious and that an outbreak in pesticide poisoning or any disease or condition caused by pesticide poisoning has occurred in his county, request assistance by the state department. Upon such request, the director shall provide the local health officer with the necessary staff and technical assistance to conduct an epidemiologic investigation of the outbreak, and where appropriate, shall make recommendation to control or prevent such poisoning outbreaks.
[Pesticide spills reporting]
105215. Any public employee, as defined in Section 811.4 of the Government Code, whose responsibilities include matters relating to health and safety, protection of the environment, or the use or transportation of any pesticide and who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that a pesticide has been spilled or otherwise accidentally released, shall promptly notify the local health officer or the notification point specified in the local hazardous materials response plan, where such a plan has been approved by the State Office of Emergency Services and is in operation. The operator of the notification point shall immediately notify the local health officer of the pesticide spill report. The local health officer shall immediately notify the county agricultural commissioner and, at his or her discretion, shall immediately notify the Director of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of each report received. Within seven days after receipt of any report, the local health officer shall notify the Director of Pesticide Regulation, the Director of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the Director of Industrial Relations, on a form prescribed by the Director of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, of each case reported to him or her pursuant to this section. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment shall designate a phone number or numbers for use by local health officers in the immediate notification of the office of a pesticide spill report. The office of shall from time to time establish criteria for use by the local health officers in determining whether the circumstances of a pesticide spill warrants the immediate notification of the office.
105220. The Director of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment shall maintain a file of all the reporting forms received from local health officers pursuant to Section 105215 at the repository of current data on toxic materials established pursuant to Section 147.2 of the Labor Code. The file shall be open to the public and shall be indexed at least to the extent of the following:
(a) The county of the accidental release.
(b) The type of pesticide involved.
105225. Each public employer of a public employee subject to Section 105215 shall post in one or more prominent places frequented by such employee a notice informing such employee of the responsibility imposed by Section 105215.
[Medical Supervision (cholinesterase monitoring)]
6728. Medical Supervision.
(a) Whenever an employee handles a pesticide in toxicity category one or two that contains an organophosphate or carbamate, for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity, the employer shall maintain use records that identify the employee, name of the pesticide and the date.
(b) Each employer who has an employee that regularly handles pesticides specified in (a) shall have a written agreement signed by a physician, that includes the names and addresses of both the physician providing the medical supervisiossn and the employer responsible for the employees, stating that the physician has agreed to provide medical supervision and that the physician possesses a copy of, and is aware of the contents of the document "Medical Supervision of Pesticide Workers-Guidelines for Physicians" (available from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment). A copy of this agreement shall be given to the commissioner by the employer no later than when an employee begins to regularly handle pesticides specified in (a).
(c) The employer's responsibilities for medical supervision for employees regularly handling pesticides specified in (a) shall include the following:
(1) All covered employees shall have baseline red cell and plasma cholinesterase determinations. Baseline values shall be verified every two years. For new employees, the medical supervisor may accept previously established baseline values if they are obtained in accordance with these regulations by the same laboratory methodology and are acceptable to the laboratory which will analyze the new employee's blood samples.
(2) (A) The employer shall ensure that each employee, not previously under medical supervision associated with that employer, has red cell and plasma cholinesterase determinations within three working days after the conclusion of each 30-day period in which pesticides specified in (a) are regularly handled.
(B) After three tests at 30-day intervals, further periodic monitoring shall be at intervals specified in writing by the medical supervisor except for verification of baseline as specified in (1).
(C) Where the medical supervisor has made no written recommendation for continued periodic monitoring, the testing interval shall be 60 days.
(3) The employer shall keep a record of the agreement to provide medical supervision, use records, all recommendations received from the medical supervisor and all results of cholinesterase tests required to be made on his employees by this section or by the medical supervisor. Records required by this section shall be maintained for three years and shall be available for inspection by the employee, the director, commissioner, county health official, or state health official.
(4) The employer shall follow the recommendations of the medical supervisor concerning matters of occupational health.
(5) The employer shall post the name, address, and telephone number of the medical supervisor in a prominent place at the locale where the employee usually starts the workday or, if there is no locale where the employee usually starts the workday, at each worksite or in each work vehicle.
(d) The employer shall investigate the work practices of any employee whose red cell or plasma cholinesterase levels fall below 80% of the baseline. The investigation of work practices shall include a review of the safety equipment used and its condition; and the employee's work practices which included employee sanitation, pesticide handling procedures, and equipment usage. The employer shall maintain a written record of the findings, any changes in equipment or procedures and any recommendations made to the employee.
(e) The employer shall remove an employee from exposure to organophosphate or carbamate pesticides if the employee's plasma cholinesterase level falls to 60% or less of baseline, or if red cell cholinesterase falls to 70% or less of baseline. The employee shall be removed from further exposure until cholinesterase values return to 80% or more of their respective baseline values. The employer shall maintain written records of the dates of removal and the dates when employees are returned to exposure.
(f) To meet the requirements of these regulations, red cell and plasma cholinesterase tests ordered by a medical supervisor for occupational health surveillance shall be performed by a clinical laboratory currently approved by the State Department of Health Services to perform these tests.