Natural Resources and Environment:

Better Coordination Is Needed Between Pesticide Misuse Enforcement Programs and Programs for Certifying and Training Individuals To Apply Pesticides

RCED-83-169: Published: Jul 1, 1983. Publicly Released: Jul 1, 1983.

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GAO reviewed programs in Illinois and Minnesota under the Pesticide Applicator Certification and Training Program to determine whether they are addressing major pesticide misuse problems.

GAO found that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Illinois, and Minnesota have not linked the certification and training and enforcement programs to deter and reduce pesticide misuse. The review of programs, to certify individuals as competent to use pesticides, indicates that information on pesticide misuse is not routinely and systematically developed or used, even though the data are collected and maintained by the states as part of their pesticide enforcement efforts. Further, EPA evaluations of state programs have not addressed qualitative program elements, but have concentrated on quantitative program outputs. GAO noted that EPA has neither developed criteria for evaluating test criteria nor, within 7 years, conducted in-depth test reviews. Finally, GAO found that the Illinois and Minnesota pesticide commercial examinations did not meet all federal certification requirements.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: EPA guidance to the states was revised to encourage the states to develop information on their major pesticide misuse problems and revise certification training material and tests to address these problems. Although states are encouraged to do so, it is not a requirement.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should direct that action be taken to include a requirement in state cooperative agreements that states develop basic program management information on major pesticide misuse problems for use by certification and training programs.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA guidance to regions was revised and the regions were directed to address this issue in their year-end evaluations.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should direct that action be taken to develop guidance for EPA regions to evaluate state efforts in using pesticide misuse data to ensure that its certification and training programs are addressing the major pesticide misuse problems that the state is experiencing.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On August 30, 1985, a task force studying the need for changes in the certification and training program made substantive recommendations for program changes which would effect this recommendation. In its fiscal year 1988 program guidance, EPA advised its regional offices to review the adequacy of state plans for training and certification of pesticide applicators.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should direct that action be taken to develop criteria and guidance for EPA regions to evaluate state commercial applicator examinations.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

 

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