One motivation behind EPA’s comprehensive revisions of its certification requirements for applicators of restricted use pesticides (RUP) is the need for the federal regulations to catch up with authorized state programs. Issued under authority of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in 1974, the original RUP applicator certification requirements (40 CFR part 171) have undergone very few revisions in more than 40 years of existence. The EPA did propose significant changes in 1990 but did not finalize that proposal because of resource limitations. However, states that develop their own RUP programs have adopted some of the revisions the EPA proposed. In general, many state certification programs are more stringent than the federal program in areas such as competency requirements for applicators, supervision on noncertified applicators, and recertification. While state programs may be more stringent than EPA’s, the Agency notes that there are broad differences among these programs.
“This situation has created an uneven regulatory landscape and problems in program consistency that complicate registration decisions, inhibit certifying authorities from accepting as valid certifications issued by other certifying authorities, and hinder EPA’s ability to develop national program materials that meet the needs of all States,” says the EPA.