Several farm worker interest groups are petitioning the EPA to require manufacturers to translate their pesticide labels to Spanish. The groups’ goal is to increase protection for farm works that apply agricultural pesticides.
The EPA is currently debating the issue and calling for public comment in the decision-making process. The EPA says in a press release that they recognize the decision will affect all consumers, not just farm workers. Currently, the EPA requires translation of some words or phrases of agricultural pesticides, but does not require bilingual labeling on all products.
The EPA comments:
In response to the petition, EPA is considering whether to require bilingual labeling in English and Spanish for all pesticides or for only certain types of pesticides, certain pesticide use sites, certain pesticide active ingredients, pesticides in certain toxicity categories, or certain parts of pesticide labels.
This decision will be up for public comment until June 28, 2011. Information on the petition and how to participate can be found here.
Here are 3 questions the EPA asks the general public to consider:
- Language characteristics vary by culture, region, and other factors. How could EPA ensure that Spanish text on pesticide product labels would be understood by all potential Spanish-speaking users?
- Labeling in Spanish could potentially be required for all pesticide products, for a subset of pesticide products, or for a portion of the product label. If the Agency concluded that translation of a portion or portions of the label were appropriate, which portions of the pesticide label would it be most beneficial to have in Spanish, and why? If the Agency were to limit the requirement for translation to only certain products, which products should be considered, and why? (Note: please see the sample label in the docket to consider the different sections of a pesticide label.
- Are there languages other than Spanish and English that EPA should consider for inclusion on pesticide labels? Which languages? Please explain your reasoning for including a language other than Spanish or English on pesticide labels, and cite documents that would further bolster your suggestion.