Publication in English, Spanish prepares private applicators for state exam

Publication in English, Spanish prepares private applicators for state exam


In Spanish

Expanded from four chapters in the previous edition to 12, the third edition of Pesticide Safety: A Study Manual for Private Applicators aims to be more than just a study guide.

The manual, available for purchase in English and Spanish, provides much more detail on essential processes and procedures that will help keep applicators safe while using pesticides – as well as reduce environmental impacts from misapplication.

Published by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources in collaboration with the state's Department of Pesticide Regulation, the manual – intended for members of the agricultural community who own, manage or work on farms that use restricted-use pesticides – also includes substantial updates.

 “The information in the book they were using was way out of date,” said writer/editor Shannah Whithaus, senior editor for pesticide safety education with UC ANR's Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. “Also, the book was much, much shorter than it needed to be, because it wasn't providing enough information for people to safely apply pesticides, given the complexity of the regulatory environment we're in now.”  

The new edition features a more user-friendly layout that clearly highlights key learning objectives.

The new manual reflects important changes to federal and state regulations since the publication of the previous edition in 2006.

“There are significant regulatory updates which help you stay up-to-date with safety rules and standards – and protect your workers from overexposure to pesticides,” said Lisa Blecker, technical editor of the publication, and currently a pesticide safety educator at Colorado State University.

In addition to emphasizing the broader ecological ramifications of improper pesticide use, the manual includes information on subjects that might get short shrift in other manuals, such as the correct calibration of equipment to ensure accuracy of application.

“All of that is now in the book and fully fleshed out,” Whithaus said. “[Applicators] are going to be able to do that much more effectively using the new book, compared to the old one – it was really hard to be thorough in 80-some pages.”

The new edition – totaling more than 200 substantive pages – also features a more streamlined and user-friendly layout modeled after a sister publication, The Safe and Effective Use of Pesticides, written for commercial applicators.

“A significant update is a layout that is not only beautiful, but helps you identify key information you need to know in order to make safe and effective pesticide applications,” Blecker explained.

She highlighted the “knowledge expectations” listed at the beginning of each chapter and in the margins of the book, next to the relevant passages. The statements serve as “visual cues” to help readers learn and retain the material they need to pass California DPR's certification exam for private applicators.

And while the manual functions as an improved study aid for owners, managers and workers who apply pesticides, it doubles as a reference that they can turn to for years to come.

“It's going to be able to serve as a reference manual, as opposed to just a study guide,” Whithaus said. “You really will be able to use this book as a tool to help you do better in managing your land.”

The manual, listed at $29, is available for purchase in English at and in Spanish at