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GoatThroat Pumps Strives to Keep Farm Workers Healthy and Safe While Handling Hazardous Chemicals

MILFORD, Conn: There are some occupations that are known to be high-risk with potentially life-threatening conditions, such as firefighters and police officers; while other jobs may seem safe, but can still pose health risks if workers are exposed to hazardous materials.

Agribusiness workers, such as farmers and farm workers, are frequently exposed to potentially harmful herbicides and pesticides, which can lead to severe, long term health issues. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a study conducted in Iowa and North Carolina found that the rate of prostate cancer was higher among growers than other residents. In fact, farmers and those exposed to soil and plant treatments were 20 percent more likely to report having prostate cancer. Exposure and improper handling of pesticides can also cause non-life-threatening health conditions such as skin and eye irritation, reproductive problems, and can also have a long-term effect on the nervous system.

Pesticides handlers are more exposed at the initial loading and mixing phase today than they were decades ago, yet many are still using antiquated methods that have not evolved with the soil and plant treatments. Outdated tipping and pouring methods originated when the concentration levels of pesticides were much lower. Today, they have very high concentrations so farmers can dilute the treatments themselves and use the product more efficiently.

It is important to educate workers and employers about the dangers and introduce preventative measures that mitigate risk. With safe work practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), and the proper closed-transfer-system equipment for loading and mixing, workers are able to avoid potentially hazardous, and sometimes costly, situations. Additionally, federal and state agencies work hard to keep up with the evolving agriculture industry by introducing new safety standards that protect farmers and pesticide handlers. The EPA's Worker Protection Standard (WPS), for example, is specifically aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The WPS offers occupational protections to over 2 million of our agricultural worker neighbors.

Another recent example is the EPA's new requirements for handling paraquat dichloride (paraquat), which will help to prevent avoidable fatalities and other serious injuries from mishandling the Restricted Use Pesticide. Focused on additional education and implementing safer handling of the herbicide, the new EPA requirements include special training, special certification, and new and special closed system packaging containers, which also requires new special closed system equipment to be developed and in use by September 2020.

Closed systems can dramatically improve the safety and efficiency of pesticide transfers and subsequent mixing. A closed transfer system reduces unnecessary exposures by removing the liquid from its original shipping container and transferred through connecting hoses, pipes, and/or couplings that are sufficiently tight to prevent exposure of any person to the pesticide concentrate, use dilution, or rinse solution. This eliminates worker exposure from over-pouring, spilling, or releasing vapors. In fact, California, the largest agriculture-producing state, required a closed transfer system for mixing and loading for certain pesticides long before the EPA issued new requirements. For the last two decades, the U.S farming community has been able to eliminate spills, reduce material waste and keep workers safe by using GoatThroat pumps to safely mix, load and apply plant and soil treatments that are vital to putting food on people's tables.

For example Jon DiPiero, who managed Ricci Vineyards, a small wine grape vineyard in Sonoma, turned to GoatThroat Pumps when looking for a safer, more efficient way to transfer pesticides for mixing and spraying that also complied with California's closed system requirement. His research showed that GoatThroat systems are simple to use, eliminate chemical exposure to the handler and are considered to be a best practice for agriculture.

The pump is closed, sealed, and allows containers to remain in an upright position, it complies with state regulation and virtually eliminates the potential for all forms of chemical exposure, says DiPiero.

According to DiPiero, a multi directional spray attachment also enables rinsing of every corner of container without having to pour into it and shake it. He said this helps to minimize exposure when cleaning a container for reuse and complies with California triple rinsing requirements.

Whether for pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or liquid fertilizers, a closed and sealed pump design helps with the safe production or mixing of any liquid chemical, says DiPiero.

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GoatThroat Pumps Strives to Keep Farm Workers Healthy and Safe While Handling Hazardous Chemicals


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