N.C. Law to Prevent Agriculture Pesticide Exposure

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley on Aug. 13 signed into law Senate Bill 847, which protects agricultural workers and directs the Pesticide Board to adopt rules requiring a record of the specific time when pesticide applications are completed.

"This new law helps us move forward to protect the health of our farm workers," Easley said. "Requiring employers to keep more detailed records of pesticides being used and forbidding retaliation against those who might complain about exposure to these chemicals are important steps toward safety in agricultural workplaces."

The law makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against farm workers who complain about unhealthy exposure to pesticides. It also directs the state Pesticide Board to require more detailed record keeping on the time of day and kinds of pesticides being used, and it requires those records to be kept for two years, instead of the current 30 days.

In the state budget, $350,000 was designated to replace federal funding that was cut to track pesticide poisoning cases. It also will pay for two state workers to train farm laborers on proper handling of pesticides.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Charles Albertson (D-Duplin). It passed the state Senate 48-0 and the House of Representatives 118-0. The law became effective upon the governor's signature.

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