The child labor laws in the United States include numerous statutes and rules regulating the employment of minors. In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which, among other things, placed limits on many forms of child labor.

127 Groups Ask EPA Not to Reverse Ban on Pesticide Application by Children

Dear Administrator Pruitt:

The undersigned organizations write to oppose any changes by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to the requirements in the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (“WPS”) and Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule (CPA).

Over 15 years ago, an EPA report stated that “pesticide poisoning in the United States remains under-recognized and under-treated…despite the ubiquity of pesticides in our homes, workplaces, and communities, and despite the considerable potential for pesticide-related illnesses and injury.” Farmworkers have one of the highest rates of chemical exposures among U.S. workers and they suffer acute pesticide poisoning every year through occupational exposures and pesticide drift. Studies have shown that agricultural workers suffer serious short- and long-term health effects from exposure to pesticides. The WPS and CPA rules provide vital protections from exposure to toxic pesticides for hired farmworkers, pesticide applicators, their families and the general public in communities across the United States. In revising these rules, the EPA recognized that the weight of evidence suggests that the new requirements, “will result in long-term health benefits to agricultural workers, pesticide handlers,” and “to certified and noncertified applicators, as well as to the public and the environment.”

After more than a decade of stakeholder input and analysis, the EPA revised the WPS and CPA rule to prevent injury and illness to the children, women and men who work around pesticides in agriculture, or who come into contact with pesticides in other settings. EPA found that the new safeguards are necessary to address the known dangers associated with pesticide use. The WPS applies to hired workers and pesticide handlers who labor in farms, fields, nurseries, greenhouses and forests. The CPA rule governs the training and certification requirements of workers who apply Restricted Use Pesticides (“RUPs”) in a variety of settings, including homes, schools, hospitals, as well as agricultural and industrial establishments. RUPs are some of the most toxic and dangerous pesticides on the market.

 

We are concerned that the EPA may weaken critical safeguards meant to protect agricultural workers, the public, and the environment. Among the many important provisions in the rules, the Agency has stated its intent to reconsider the minimum age protections that prohibit children from applying pesticides, the right of farmworkers to access pesticide application information through a designated representative, and protections for bystanders through “application exclusion zones,” which require that an applicator suspend pesticide application if “an unprotected/non-trained person” enters the area around the application equipment.

Undermining these important protections cannot be justified. We urge you to preserve the existing protections and to move forward with full implementation and enforcement.

Respectfully,

127 child, faith, agricultural, health, labor, human rights, consumer and environmental groups, including the Child Labor Coalition have signed the letter.

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CLC Letter to Congress: Do Not Pass HR 4517

[Unfortunately, HR 4517 passed the House on a voice vote July 24, 2012]

July 24, 2012

The Honorable Linda Sanchez

House of Representatives

2423 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Ms. Sanchez:

The 28-members of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) write to ask you to oppose H.R. 4157, which has the misleading title, ”Preserving America’s Family Farms Act.”

Given that the Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew the proposed hazardous occupations orders for agriculture in April and announced that they would not be re-issued during the Obama administration, H.R. 4157 serves no purpose.

The legislation does however send a dangerous message, suggesting that the Department of Labor’s goal of protecting children on farms was misguided. Nothing could be further from the truth. Agriculture is the most dangerous sector that children are allowed to work in, with fatality and injury rates that are truly frightening. The Child Labor Coalition estimates that the withdrawn hazardous occupations orders would have saved 50 to 100 children working on farms from work place fatalities. It would have saved thousands of other children from debilitating injuries.

The debate that led to the withdrawal of the hazardous occupations orders was characterized by high levels of misinformation and exaggeration. The rules posed no threat to the family farm. They specifically exempted the sons and daughters of farm owners working on their parents’ farms. The withdrawn rules merely represented common sense safety protections similar to those enacted by (DOL) to protect children working in other industries.

We urge members of the House to vote against H.R.… Read the rest

NCL: Eroding Child Labor Protections in 2012 Will Put Some Teens at Risk in U.S.

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USDOL Press Release: Withdrawal of Proposed Occupational Child Safety Rules for Farms

News Release

WHD News Release: [04/26/2012]
Contact Name: Joshua R. Lamont or Elizabeth Alexander
Phone Number: (202) 693-4661 or x4675
Release Number: 12-0826-NAT

Labor Department statement on withdrawal of proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today issued the following statement regarding the withdrawal of a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations:

“The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations.

“As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations.

“The decision to withdraw this rule — including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ — was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.

“Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders — such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H — to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.”… Read the rest