UC IPM Online UC ANR home page UC IPM home page


SKIP navigation


Annual Reports

1995Pesticide Education Program

There are times when pesticides are needed for managing crop pests. When pesticides are used, environmental and human health risks can be reduced if workers are properly trained. The Pesticide Education Program, through its publications, videos, slide sets, and innovative training programs reaches employers and workers throughout the state with important pesticide safety information and provides handlers and fieldworkers with skills and knowledge needed to avoid pesticide-related problems.

The Pesticide Education Program collaborates with industry, regulatory agencies, and campus and county based Cooperative Extension personnel to develop materials and conduct training programs. Staff of the Pesticide Education Program serve as a resource for UC farm advisors and frequently participate in local programs.

Much of the work of the Pesticide Education Program involves developing and testing new and innovative materials and training programs that can bridge the cultural, language, and educational barriers found in California's diverse agricultural workforce. Once programs are proven effective, many are taken over by local organizations, Cooperative Extension offices, and regulatory agencies. Major efforts are focused on training the trainers of pesticide handlers and agricultural fieldworkers, thus leveraging the efforts of the Pesticide Education Program staff.

Pesticide Training Coordinator Patrick J. O'Connor-Marer heads the Pesticide Education Program. Program Representative Melanie Zavala develops training materials and videos in both English and Spanish and participates in many training programs for pesticide handlers and agricultural fieldworkers. New to the IPM Project, Program Representative Jennifer Weber participates in training programs, develops English and Spanish language materials, and works with rural health clinics and social service agencies to provide pesticide safety information access to farmworkers. Program Assistant Gale Pérez organizes meetings, makes all logistical arrangements, maintains records, tabulates evaluations, and supervises registrations.

Training Materials for Pest Management Professionals

People in California who work with restricted-use pesticides must be certified by the Department of Pesticide Regulation through an examination process. The Pesticide Education Program develops and updates study materials for the various certification examinations. The program also conducted a review of all the examination questions and developed a new pool of questions. The core for California's Qualified Applicator certification and licensing program is the UC IPM Pesticide Application Compendium Series. Volume 4 Forest and Right-of-Way Pest Control was released in June, joining The Safe and Effective Use of Pesticides (Volume 1), Residential, Industrial, and Institutional Pest Control (Volume 2), and Wood Preservation (Volume 3). Many additional volumes are being developed for release over the next several years. Nearing completion is a special volume for growers who use restricted-use pesticides.

Pesticide Handler and Farmworker Instructor Training

During 1994 and 1995, the UC IPM Pesticide Education Program was the only program approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to qualify instructors to train pesticide handlers and agricultural fieldworkers under the provisions of the Federal Worker Protection Standard. The Pesticide Education Program conducted 49 train-the-trainer programs during 1995. Twelve of these were 8-hour programs for trainers of both pesticide handlers and agricultural fieldworkers. This is the first year that some of these programs have been conducted in the Spanish language. Thirty nine of the programs were 4 hour sessions to prepare trainers of fieldworkers. Twenty of these were conducted in Spanish. Handler and fieldworker programs were held in Bakersfield, Fresno, Lakeport, Pismo Beach, Salinas, Yuba City, Rohnert Park, El Centro, and Irvine. These programs have attracted additional groups of people apart from the PCAs, pesticide handlers, and growers who are the program's typical clientele. Those attending the training included farm labor contractors, worker's compensation insurance company safety officers, farm supervisors, and medical and social service providers. A special program was also conducted for a team of AmeriCorps volunteers who will be training farmworkers during the coming year.

The train-the-trainer program demonstrates how the efforts of a few people, such as the Pesticide Education Program staff, can be greatly leveraged to have a significant impact on the agricultural community. During 1994, for instance, a total of 1,100 instructors were trained. These instructors reported that they were responsible for training over 450,000 workers in the coming year. During the first five months of 1995, 605 instructors attending the UC IPM trainer workshops reported they would be training a total of 242,347 workers this year.

Efforts of the Pesticide Education Program to train trainers during 1995 were augmented by two UC Area Agricultural Personnel Management farm advisors who conducted train-the-trainer programs for trainers of fieldworkers under the auspices of the UC IPM Project. Gregory Billikopf held Spanish-language workshops in Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Merced Counties, while Steve Sutter provided English-language workshops in Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Madera Counties.

All participants in the train-the-trainer program submitted evaluations which are now being analyzed. In addition, spot checking of trainers' programs is being conducted to assess how they are using the information and skills they received at the workshops.

New Program for Trainers

In 1995 the Department of Pesticide Regulation developed guidelines that would allow individuals to submit their own train-the-trainer program for approval. The Pesticide Education Program, working with representatives of the California Agricultural Production Consultants Association (CAPCA), has developed the curriculum for a "train-the-trainer-of-trainers (T3)" program. This two-day course is designed to assist individuals in developing their train-the-trainer programs and provides them with resources and actual training experience. One unique aspect of this program is that many of the resource materials are provided on computer diskette to enable the instructors to customize their own program.

New Educational Materials

The Pesticide Education Program released a new video, Safe Use of Pesticides in Outdoor Nurseries, that has received approval from the US EPA as an authorized training material under the Federal Worker Protection Standard. Major funding for this video was provided by a grant from Region 10, US EPA. The video, available from Visual Media on the UC Davis campus, contains English and Spanish versions on the same cassette as well as sections for nursery workers and pesticide handlers.

California is the only state requiring pesticide handlers who use category 1 or 2 organophosphate and n-methyl carbamate insecticides to undergo routine medical monitoring. Blood tests can detect low levels of exposure so corrective action can be taken before serious injury occurs. The blood test measures the level of an enzyme called cholinesterase that regulates nerve activity. The Pesticide Education Project introduced a video and pamphlet this year that describes this monitoring technique in lay terms to workers whose employers must send them for this test. Both the video and pamphlet are in English and Spanish and have the title Jorge's New Job: Getting Tested for Cholinesterase. In both the video and pamphlet actors portray a worker, his employer, and a laboratory technician going through the process of getting a blood test taken and explaining its purpose. The video is available through Visual Media while the pamphlet is available through ANR Publications in Oakland.

Agricultural Health and Safety Center

The Pesticide Education Program remains an active participant in the NIOSH-sponsored Agricultural Health and Safety Center at Davis. Funding from this grant supports development and evaluation of materials and programs that address and bridge cultural and language barriers to providing safety information to agricultural workers. An example of the materials whose development was supported by this grant is the training tool La loteria de los pesticidas that conveys pesticide safety information in the form of a familiar Hispanic board game. This concept is now being used in other areas of agricultural safety. Upcoming projects will involve working within two of the Center's thematic areas: 1) Injuries, headed by Dr. Stephen McCurdy; and 2) Neurotoxicology and Pesticides, headed by Dr. Barry Wilson.

Special Projects

The UC IPM Pesticide Education Program hosted the national Pesticide Applicator Certification and Training Workshop in San Diego on April 10-13. This semi-annual meeting is sponsored by US EPA and US Department of Agriculture. Participants from universities and regulatory agencies of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Washington DC, and Canada attended. This is the first time the meeting has ever been held on the west coast and provided an opportunity to showcase western agriculture. San Diego County farm advisors Karen Robb and Gary Bender hosted an agricultural tour and winery visit as one of the highlights of the meeting. Pesticide Education Program staff members Gale Pérez and Patrick J. O'Connor-Marer received commendations from the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators for their roles in planning the meeting.

Top of page

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /IPMPROJECT/1995/pested.html revised: July 10, 2014. Contact webmaster.