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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the Department of Pesticide Regulation responsibility over five programs that directly affect and protect the health and safety of both South Carolina citizens and the environment:
The Endangered Species Protection Program began in 1988. This program helps to avoid and/or lessen the potential impact of pesticide use on endangered species in our state by providing pest management professionals with educational materials that describe endangered species habitats and best management practices for pest control in and around those habitats.
The Groundwater Protection Program began in 1991. As part of our goal of helping to protect the public's health and the environment, we sample wells across the state for pesticides and nitrate. The purpose of the program is to determine whether chemicals used in farming, landscape management, and home gardening are impairing South Carolina's groundwater resources and to provide information to farmers, pest management professionals, and homeowners on how best to protect groundwater sources from contamination.
Integrated Pest Management is an alternative approach to traditional pest management that uses information on the life cycles of pests and their interactions with the environment, in combination with available pest control methods, to manage pests by the most economical means with the least possible damage to people, property, and the environment. It teaches pest management professionals how to employ non-chemical pest management methods such as sanitation first--with chemical control methods being used only when necessary.
The Pesticide Container Recycling Program began in 1993. It is sponsored by both the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service and our department. To date, more than one million containers have been accepted for recycling. Recycled pesticide containers are manufactured for industrial uses such as pallets, fence posts, and other items.
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) was implemented in 1995. It covers pesticides that are used in the production of agricultural plants on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses. This program protects both resident and migratory agricultural workers by providing them educational materials about pesticide safety.