Are you up-to-date on the use of pesticides?

Pesticide misuse is taken very seriously by the EPA.
Pesticide misuse is taken very seriously by the EPA.

4pm Tuesday: FOLLOWING a Lismore landscape gardener being fined $400 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority it pays to be aware of what the regulations are with regards to pesticide use.

According to the EPA website training in the use of pesticides has been compulsory for people who use pesticides as part of their job or business in NSW.

These pesticide users must do a short refresher course every five years.

Keeping records of pesticide use is compulsory for people who use them as part of their job or business in NSW.

Since February 2007, certain groups must provide notification of pesticide use.

When the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) declares pesticides products to be restricted, they can only be supplied to, and used by, persons authorised under state legislation.

Pesticide misuse includes:

  • failing to follow label or permit instructions,
  • injuring people or damaging property,
  • using pesticides in a way that is likely to injure people or damage property,
  • harming a non-target plant or animal, 
  • using an unregistered pesticide or possessing one (and intending to use it),
  • storing pesticides in containers that do not have the approved label attached,
  • disposing of a pesticide or its container illegally, e.g. pouring pesticide waste down a drain,
  • spraying pesticides from an aircraft without a relevant EPA licence,
  • spraying pesticide from an aircraft within 150 metres of a residence, school or other public place (excluding roads, travelling stock reserves and RailCorp land) without the written consent of the occupier.

EPA Manager Regional Operations North Coast Brett Nudd said that when using pesticides around the house it's important to first read the labels correctly, and follow instructions on the correct use of the product. It's also important to understand the dangers posed by the chemical.

"Keep children and pets away from the area being sprayed and use the recommended protective equipment outlined for the product being used, such as long clothing, gloves and safety goggles." he said.

"It's also important to store pesticides in a safe place, away from the reach of children and dispose of them at an appropriate facility, via a household chemical cleanout event."

If you feel that you are at risk as a result of exposure to pesticides, move away from the area and seek immediate medical assistance from a general practitioner or local hospital.

The Poisons Information Centre may also be able to help in cases of acute poisoning and can be contacted from anywhere in Australia on 13 11 26.

5am, Tuesday: THE NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is reminding the community of the importance of having pesticide accreditation and keeping records of pesticide use after issuing a fine to a landscape gardener in Lismore.

EPA Manager Regional Operations - North Coast Brett Nudd said that regardless of the size of the operation, pesticide users must be certified and must follow the regulations, such as recording the usage of pesticides.

"The EPA issued a $400 fine to a Lismore based landscape gardener for not having a valid pesticides user accreditation and for failure to provide records of pesticides use," Mr Nudd said.

"Pesticides can be dangerous if incorrectly applied or managed, especially to people who work with pesticides or are regularly exposed to them.

"Training in the correct use of pesticides minimises mistakes being made and is one of the most effective ways of protecting workers, the community and the environment.

"Pesticide users have a responsibility to keep records of spraying activities, store pesticides appropriately and apply pesticides in accordance with the label conditions.

"Records of pesticide use must include information on the area of land sprayed, the time and weather conditions of spraying and the type and volume of pesticides used. The EPA can request these records when undertaking an audit or inspection."

If people suspect inappropriate pesticide use they can report it to the EPA Environment Line on 131 555.

The EPA regulates the use of pesticides in NSW, including those used in agriculture, on public land and in commercial and domestic premises, through the provisions of the Pesticides Act 1999 and the Pesticides Regulation 2009.

Further information on pesticides is available on the EPA website here:

Topics:  epa landscape gardner northern rivers environment pesticides

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