The benefits of controlling pests and plant diseases must be balanced with the need to protect individuals and the environment. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as garments, aprons, headgear, and gloves, is used for risk mitigation. Determining the PPE required for adequate protection as well as effectively communicating the information to operators and re-entry workers is vital for the health and safety of individuals. The pesticide product label is the legal means for communicating the risk mitigation requirements. The extent and clarity with which this information is communicated varies considerably. Part of the problem has been lack of international standards to classify protective clothing and accessories and assign protection factors.
Revision of ISO 27065 as a harmonized ISO/EN standard provides a “common language” for defining protective clothing that can be used to communicate the requirements on PPP labels. It is an opportunity for clear, concise communication about PPE for individuals who are at risk of exposure to pesticides in the workplace. Consensus standards development and working with stakeholders on implementation of the standard requires networking and coordination. Two international symposia that focused on PPE for pesticide operators allowed stakeholders, ranging from risk assessor to trainers, to discuss the issues. The establishment of an international consortium was an outcome of the second symposium to improve PPE required to mitigate risks for operators and re-entry workers. This international effort provides the much needed synergy to find solutions at a global level to make differences to the health and safety of the individuals at the “local” level. ICPPE provides a “home” for the coordination of international activities.