University of Minnesota Extension
Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education
Across the Midwest, farmers lack access to fit testing: a critical medical service that’s required for safe respirator use.
While respirators have long been promoted in agriculture for individuals working in grain bins or with livestock, the idea of wearing a respirator for pesticide handling is a fairly new concept. This is in part due to issues with pesticide resistance, which is causing farmers to switch to different types of pesticides than they’ve used previously. For soybean farmers, resistance in soybean aphid populations to pyrethroid based insecticides is resulting in higher use rates of chlorpyrifos, which requires a respirator for safe use.
This spring, the University of Minnesota (UMN) Extension’s Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education team is hosting a series of free, hands-on workshops to address this issue with two audiences: farmers who need access to a fit test and respirator selection assistance, and health and safety professionals who would like to be trained to offer fit testing services across the state.
Train the trainer sessions will run from 8:30am – 4pm. Participants will spend the morning learning about respirator selection and fit testing, and will have time to practice conducting fit tests. In the afternoon, farmers will come in to be fit tested, and train the trainer participants will have the opportunity to walk farmer participants through respirator selection and fit testing with assistance and supervision from an occupational health and safety expert. Lunch will be provided.
Farmer fit test sessions will run from 12:00pm – 4pm. Farmers can sign up for a 45 minute time slot.
Both farmers and train the trainer participants can sign up at:
Funding for these workshops was provided by a grant from the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health.