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CDFA surveying growers about PPE needs

UCANR Spray application in a vineyard
A vineyard in California is sprayed.
Gloves, masks, other gear in short supply as priority is given to health care workers.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is conducting a survey of growers to learn more about their needs for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Growers are asked to fill out the survey by Friday.

"Many of you may have already provided this information early in the stay at home order," CDFA Secretary Karen Ross wrote in a message to growers. "Your feedback contributed to conversations with Cal OES about the real and growing needs for PPE in agriculture. As these conversations have progressed, we have been asked to provide more detailed information. "

The latest survey comes as agricultural commissioners in 28 counties are hearing from farmers who are having trouble getting PPE for their employees and farmers in another 11 counties who are worried about running out of PPE in the next month or two, according to a previous California Department of Pesticide Regulation survey.

Gloves, N95 respirators, coveralls and other gear that workers wear to protect themselves from COVID-19, pesticides, dust and other health hazards are in short supply as priority is given to health care workers during the pandemic.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, workers may wear homemade face coverings, but for applying pesticides, they must wear respirators specified on the pesticide product label, said Whitney Brim-DeForest, University of California Cooperative Extension rice advisor.

Pesticide applicators may use gear that is more protective than required by the product label and regulations. 

“Although this could change in the days ahead, half-mask and full-mask respirators are more available than disposable N95 respirators for now,” UC Pesticide Safety Education Program coordinator Lisa Becker told UCANR's news service.

To fill out the survey, click here.

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