Herbicides, Insecticides, & Fungicides Respirator Requirements
Determining the need for respirator use in pesticide applications in grapes.
With the current emphasis being placed on the new Worker Protection Standard (WPS) regulations, the regulations that seem to be getting the most attention are those surrounding the use of respirators and the need for respirator fit training. A common question I have been getting is whether or not it is possible to grow grapes using materials that do not require the use of a respirator. My first thought when asked that question is “why wouldn’t you want to protect your lungs, and potential future health by not wearing one” but that does not answer the question being asked.
The only way to accurately determine whether or not a respirator is required when mixing, loading or applying a pesticide – whether it be an herbicide, fungicide or insecticide, is to read the label for each product being used. There are two main places on the label that will give you requirements for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). As shown in Figure 1, Precautionary Statements (typically found on the second page of a label) gives PPE requirements for mixing, loading and applying the pesticide while the Agricultural Use Requirements, Figure 2, will provide information on the required PPE for early entry by workers into treated areas as permitted by the WPS. Notice that in both of these examples, no respirator is required for any activity involving the use of the pesticide.
With all the generic materials out there now it would be impossible to determine the requirement for all the materials listed for use in grapes in New York and Pennsylvania. However, in an attempt to start answering the question of whether or not grapes could be grown using pesticides without requiring a respirator, the LERGP team accessed the labels for all of the pesticides listed in the tables of Chapter 8, Pesticides for New York and Pennsylvania Vineyards in the 2017 New York and Pennsylvania Pest Management Guidelines for Grapes. The results can be found in the following three links. But please remember… THE ONLY WAY TO DETERMINE THE NEED FOR A RESPIRATOR WHEN APPLYING A PESTICIDE IS TO THOROUGHLY READ THE LABEL.