State, tribal and federal regulators have the authority to inspect pesticide application records whether as part of a routine inspection or a case investigation. They have the authority to make copies. Make sure you keep the originals. In addition, if a human health exposure may have occurred, health care professionals may request records, and if the case is a medical emergency, the records must be provided immediately. In a few instances, certain states have mandatory record reporting.
Anytime records are requested, the requesting official must present to the applicator their credentials issued by USDA, EPA, state, or tribe.
Records Access for Routine Inspections
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service randomly selects a specified number of private applicators in each federally-regulated state every year. USDA’s inspection information is a good reference. USDA-AMS randomly selects applicators from either the state’s certification list for private applicators or pesticide dealer records of sales of restricted-use pesticides. The inspector completes an inspection sheet upon reviewing your records and provides you a copy. Failure to comply with USDA requirements can result in no more than a $650 fine for the first offense, and not less than $1,100 for any subsequent offense.
Records Access for Medical Purposes
Certified applicators must promptly make application records and any label information available to a licensed healthcare professional or their designated representative if the healthcare professional determines the information is necessary to provide medical treatment or first aid to an individual who may have been exposed to the pesticide for which the record is maintained. The information must be made available immediately following application in cases of medical emergencies. The attending licensed healthcare professional may release the record information to appropriate federal or state agencies that deal with pesticide use or any health issue related to the use of pesticides when necessary to prevent further injury or illness. A licensed healthcare professional may also release the record information to submit pesticide poisoning incident reports to the appropriate federal or state agencies.
States, territories, and tribes also do records inspections as part of a routine use inspection. Here is an Applicator Inspection Checklist from Washington State as an example.
Records Access for Compliance Issues
Almost every alleged pesticide incident that becomes an actively investigated case requires record requests of one or more applicators.
Fishel, F.M. 2006. Restricted-use Pesticides. Pesticide Information Office, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Published March 2005. Revised July 2006. PI-36
USDA AMS website for private applicator recordkeeping.
Authored by Carol Ramsay