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August 19, 2003

Public hearings scheduled for pesticide rules

TUMWATER - The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) will hold public hearings in seven communities across the state during the next three weeks to receive public comments on a proposed regulation that would require employers to provide blood testing (cholinesterase monitoring) for agricultural workers who handle certain pesticides.

The proposed rule would apply to all agricultural employers and workers covered by the Safety Standards for Agriculture and the pesticide Worker Protection Standard.

Cholinesterase is a protein produced by the body to help control nerve function. Exposure to organophosphate and n-methyl-carbamate pesticides can decrease the amount of available cholinesterase. Monitoring cholinesterase levels in the blood could help identify and prevent overexposure by workers.

The proposed rule was developed at the direction of the Washington Supreme Court following a successful lawsuit by farm workers who were exposed to organophosphate and n-methyl-carbamate pesticides.

L&I will have Spanish-speaking staff at all of the hearings to help with translation. In addition, the August 28 meeting in Yakima will provide simultaneous interpretation of both English and Spanish. The hearings, all being held in the evening, will be held as follows:

  • Moses Lake - Aug. 26, 6:00 p.m., Best Western Hallmark Inn, 3000 Marina Drive
  • Kennewick - Aug. 27, 6:00 p.m., Red Lion Hotel/Columbia Center, No. 1101 Columbia Blvd.
  • Yakima - Aug. 28, 6:00 p.m., Red Lion Hotel/Yakima Gateway, 9 North 9th Street
  • Wenatchee - Sept. 2, 6:00 p.m., Wenatchee Convention Center, 221 North Wenatchee Avenue
  • Winthrop - Sept. 3, 6:00 p.m., Winthrop Barn, 51 North Highway 20
  • Mount Vernon - Sept. 4, 6:00 p.m., Best Western Cottontree Inn, 2401 Riverside Drive
  • Tumwater - Sept. 8, 5:00 p.m., Department of Labor & Industries, 7273 Linderson Way SW

Please see the L&I web site at www.LNI.wa.gov for the complete text of the proposed rule and frequently asked questions, or call 360-902-5522 or 1-800-423-7233.

Written comments must be received by September 12, 2003, and may be sent to mooc235@LNI.wa.gov or mailed to: Cindy Ireland, Project Manager, WISHA Services Division, PO Box 44620, Olympia, WA 98504-4620.

Radio broadcast version:

The Department of Labor & Industries will hold seven public hearings to receive comments on a proposed rule that will require agricultural employers to provide blood testing for workers who handle certain types of pesticides.

Exposure to these pesticides can interfere with nerve function, and blood testing can help identify and prevent overexposure in workers.

For complete information on the proposal and the hearing dates, please call 360-902-5522 or see the L&I web site at: www.LNI.wa.gov.

Spanish-speaking staff will be available at the hearings to help with translation, and simultaneous translation in both English and Spanish will be provided at the Yakima hearing.


For media information, call Elaine Fischer at 360-902-5413; e-mail: nele235@LNI.wa.gov

Spanish version

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