Federal law known as FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide,
and Rodenticide Act) regulates the manufacture, registration, distribution, and
use of pesticides. The Worker Protection Standards (WPS) also establish federal
guidelines for agricultural employees who handle pesticides, pesticide
equipment, or who may come into contact with pesticide-treated crops. Oregon
state law (ORS 634) governs most pesticide-related activities including the
licensing and certification of pesticide applicators, consultants, and
pesticide dealers; the state registration of pesticide products and the
implementation of the WPS (Oregon OSHA has adopted WPS federal regulations into
Oregon administrative rule).
Note: See the “Worker
Protection Standard (WPS) for Pesticide Applications” section of this handbook
for detailed information about this regulation of workers and pesticide
handlers on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses.
Private pesticide applicator
Private pesticide applicators (farmers, ranchers,
orchardists, etc.) are persons who purchase, use, or supervise the use of
restricted-use pesticides in producing an agricultural commodity on property
owned or rented by themselves or their employer. Private pesticide applicators
must obtain initial certification by successfully completing a written
examination. Once certification has been obtained, the applicator is required
to obtain a private pesticide applicator’s license and pay the accompanying
fee. The license is valid for five years and recertification is required every
five years. Recertification may be accomplished by attending 16 hours of ODA
accredited continuing education or by retaking the certification examination.
USDA requires private pesticide applicators to prepare and maintain records of
all applications of restricted use pesticides. Contact Oregon Department of
Agriculture (ODA), Pesticides Program for information on private pesticide
applicator certification and licensing.
If you hire a business to make pesticide applications for
your agricultural operation, the business you hire must be licensed as a
commercial pesticide operator and the person actually conducting the
application must be licensed as a commercial pesticide applicator, pesticide
apprentice, or a pesticide trainee. These licenses are issued by the ODA
Pesticides Program annually. Each license must reflect the category of work
being done (e.g., ag-herbicide, ag-insecticide, fungicide, etc.). Commercial
pesticide applicator licenses require 40 hours of ODA accredited continuing
education every five years or retaking of the certification examinations in
each category of work. Pesticide trainees and pesticide apprentices are not
certified applicators, however, pesticide apprentices must take 8 hours of ODA
accredited education each year to renew their license. Certain requirements and
specific conditions of supervision are required of apprentices and trainees.
Persons who offer for sale or distribution any restricted
use pesticide (RUP) are required to obtain a pesticide dealer license from the
ODA Pesticides Program. This is an annual license for each dealer location.
Record keeping related to the sales or distribution of RUPs is required of each
Pesticide use reporting
The 1999 Oregon Legislature adopted statutes establishing a
comprehensive, statewide pesticide use reporting system (PURS). The only
pesticide products exempted from the reporting system are those classified as
antimicrobials. The use of all other pesticide products in producing or
preserving an agricultural or forestry crop must be reported into PURS, through
a specific Internet site. PURS is not being operated during the current Oregon
government budget period (2011-2013).
Endangered Species Act
Meeting federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements
essentially requires a farmer to apply pesticides in concert with the pesticide
label and any county-specific bulletins available. The ESA could also affect
farming and forestry practices that alter the habitat of listed endangered
species. Pesticide product labels will refer a user to the EPA “Bulletins Live”
website when specific measures to protect endangered species must be taken.
Applying a pesticide in accordance with the approved label does not protect the
applicator from liability if there is a “take” of ESA listed species. Reference
to CFR and law DOI-50 CFR 402, ESA 7 [16 USC 1536] and 9 [16 USC 1538]. To
obtain a copy of Protecting Endangered Species from Pesticides (EPA-735-F-9
4-014) or any other bulletins or fact sheets, call the EPA Hotline at
800-424-9346 or 800-535-0202.
Clean Water Act
Making pesticide applications to, over, or along the edge of
waterbodies or waterways requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (NPDES) permit to be in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. In
Oregon, a NPDES Pesticide General Permit is required for pesticides applied to
water, over water and within 3 feet of the edge of water. Persons with
operational control (make the day-to-day decisions regarding pesticide
applications to a site) must know if they are subject to the NPDES PGP (below a
threshold amount of applications but must comply with certain requirements) or
if they must be issued a NPDES PGP from DEQ. Contact DEQ for more information
on NPDES permits for pesticide applications in Oregon. In addition, make sure
to read and follow the pesticide label completely.
Safety and training
All pesticides must be used only as directed on the label.
Minors under the age of 18 cannot apply pesticides as a licensed pesticide
applicator. As described previously, private pesticide applicators and
commercial pesticide applicators have different pesticide license requirements
for initial certification and subsequent recertification. Persons who are not
required to be licensed pesticide applicators and may conduct pesticide
applications are still required to have all appropriate training necessary to
conduct the pesticide application correctly. This may require additional worker
training in WPS compliance, respirator fit testing and maintenance of
respirators, reading and understanding Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS),
recognition of pesticide poisoning, field or structure posting requirements,
etc. Early entry into a treated site can only be made under certain
circumstances and requires additional personal protective equipment specified
on the pesticide label. ODA Pesticides Program investigates allegations of
pesticide misuse. Training records of pesticide applicators help substantiate
adequate knowledge by the applicator. Employee training records are required by
Oregon OSHA. ODA Pesticides Program and Oregon OSHA may work together to
address employer-employee pesticide related issues including the WPS.
The law requires investigation by Oregon OSHA regarding
employee complaints that may be related to pesticide use, re-entry into areas
treated with pesticides, or accidents. A record must be kept by the employer of
all pesticide worker training provided and any injury that results in medical
treatment, loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, or transfer to
Note: See the section
on “Worker Health and Safety” in this handbook or contact Oregon OSHA at
503-378-3272 for further information.
Pesticides should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated
and well-lit room or building, insulated to prevent freezing or overheating.
The area should be fireproof with a sealed cement floor. The area should be
locked to prevent entry by children or unauthorized persons. Warning signs
should be posted on doors and windows. All pesticides should be stored in the
original containers, away from food, feed, seed, or animals. For more information
about the storage of pesticides, contact the Oregon state fire marshal at
503-373-1540 or Oregon OSHA at 503-378-3272.
Pesticide container and containment requirements
EPA finalized federal pesticide container and containment
regulations that became effective in 2009. The rules apply to retailers, custom
applicators, custom blenders, and others. Key elements of the rule include
requirements for stationary bulk tanks, load pads, portable refillable
containers, tank containment structures, repackaging rules, and more.
How to manage empty pesticide containers
Contaminated, empty containers (unrinsed containers) are
hazardous waste unless they are accepted by a pesticide distributor or
manufacturer for refill or are decontaminated. If discarded, contaminated
containers must be disposed of as hazardous waste. This expensive practice can
be avoided by proper decontamination. At the time of emptying, decontaminate
rigid containers (plastic pails or drums, metal pails or drums, or fiber
- Pressure or multiple rinse (use rinsate for your next batch
of pesticide spray mix).
- Rinse with the appropriate diluent at least three times, or
as often as necessary to make the container clean.
- Also multi-rinse nonrigid containers such as paper
containers lined with plastic or foil.
- Visually verify that the residues have been removed from the
inside and outside of the containers.
- Air dry (the container’s interior surface should be dry
- Crush or physically alter (puncture) the containers
One- and five-gallon metal containers are to be punctured
with at least three one-inch holes in the top and bottom before crushing.
Thirty- and 55-gallon containers are required to have both
the tops and bottoms cut out and then flattened. Plastic containers do not need
to be crushed.
Decontaminated containers can and should be recycled. For
more information on the collection and recycling of decontaminated metal or
plastic pesticide containers contact the Oregon Agricultural Chemicals and
Fertilizers Association (OACFA) at 503-370-7024.
If you reuse your rinsates, avoid generating excess spray
mixtures, and purchase only the amount of pesticide you need, then you have no
waste to dispose of.
However, if you have unusable pesticide-containing
materials, and they cannot be reused, then disposal is your only option.
Consult DEQ for the factsheet, “How to dispose of unusable or unwanted
pesticide spray solutions, pesticide-contaminated rinsewaters and
pesticide-containing absorbent.” The fact sheet is available on DEQ’s website.
In addition to pesticide regulations administered by ODA,
the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) also regulates application of
chemicals, including pesticides, to private and state-owned timber lands
through the Forest Practices Act (FPA). Pre-notification to ODF of pesticide
applications is required, and in some instances, a site management plan will
need to be approved prior to application. Questions relating to use of
chemicals or pesticides in the forest environment should be directed to ODF at
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Motor
Carrier Transportation Division, regulates the transportation of hazardous
materials in the state by adopting federal hazardous materials regulations,
Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations for both carriers and shippers. Farmers
shipping or transporting hazardous materials (including fertilizers,
pesticides, and fuels) in amounts that require the shipment to be placarded
must develop and implement security plans. Questions concerning required
shipping documents, placarding of vehicles, specifications for containers, and
marking and labeling requirements for packages, should be directed to ODOT, 550
Capitol St NE, Salem, OR 97301-2530, 503-378-3667. For information about
transport security plans, call US Department of Transportation at 503-399-5775.
Pesticide spills can cause serious environmental and health
damage. The Oregon Emergency Response System (OERS), set up by the Oregon
Executive Department, acts as a clearinghouse to handle emergency calls. To
report spills or accidents involving pesticides, call 800-452-0311.
The Pesticide Analytical and Response Center (PARC) combines
agencies with common interests regarding adverse pesticide effects on humans,
animals, and the environment. PARC may also be involved in spills or accidents
relating to health problems or environmental damage.
Specific pesticide use restrictions
Chemical control areas
Portions of Umatilla and Morrow counties have restrictions
on the use of certain herbicides during specific times of the year. Permits for
the use of such products are required. For more information contact the Oregon
Department of Agriculture at 541-938-6466.
Pesticide products containing the active ingredient
clopyralid are prohibited from use on residential or commercial turf and
ornamental sites in Oregon. Uses of clopyralid products are limited to golf
courses, agricultural, cemetery, and forestry sites. Vegetative material which
has been treated with a clopyralid product must not be provided for compost.
Oregon Department of Agriculture
635 Capitol St NE
Salem, OR 97301-2532