PORH pool pesticide applicator certification program impacts many

Nearly 140 individuals received or renewed their pool pesticide applicator certification by participating in training programs offered this fall by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH).

According to Marjorie Groff, coordinator of the PORH pesticide applicator training program, state regulations require that all pesticides and chemicals used at “public” pools and swimming areas be applied by certified pool pesticide applicators. “These requirements extend to anyone operating a facility that serves the public,” Groff explained. “Municipal and community pools, schools, apartment complexes, hotels and motels, summer camps -- these are just some of the places that provide swimming opportunities for people.”

The improper use of pool chemicals and pesticides can result in harmful, and sometimes even fatal, consequences -- not only for the people applying the pesticides but also for the people using the pool. “Therefore, from a public safety standpoint, it is imperative that pesticide applicators earn their certification and renew it every three years,” Groff said.

In order to become a certified pool pesticide applicator, individuals must pass two exams. The first is a general pesticide safety exam that covers pesticide regulations; storage, transportation, and labeling of pesticides; pesticide toxicity; the use of protective clothing; and first aid. The second exam focuses specifically on the application of swimming pool chemicals, such as filtration, water balance, swimming pool chemical options and common pool water problems. In order to maintain certification, an individual then must complete six hours of general pesticide safety education and four hours of swimming pool-specific pesticide safety continuing education every three years.

PORH has offered the pool pesticide applicator certification and recertification/continuing education programs at various locations throughout the Commonwealth for more than 15 years, Groff said. “This is one way we can be actively involved in making sure all public swimming pools in Pennsylvania are safe for swimmers.”

PORH will release its spring program schedule in January 2011. Additional information about the PORH pool pesticide applicator training program can be found at http://www.porh.psu.edu/pest/ online.

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Last Updated October 26, 2010