Health Research Science Board Information Sheet - May 2007

The Pesticide Sales and Use Data Base and Record Keeping and Reporting Law

Pesticide applicators are required to maintain records of pesticide applications and report some of this information to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) annually. The following information must be reported to NYSDEC for each application: the product's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) registration number, product name, quantity used, date applied, and location of application by address (including five-digit zip code). In addition, for each application, records must be kept regarding dosage rate, application method, target organism and/or crop treated.

People who sell restricted use pesticides or general use pesticides that will be used in agricultural crop production to private pesticide applicators must issue a record of sale to the applicator and report the following information to NYS DEC: the product's U.S. EPA registration number, product name, quantity purchased, date purchased and location of intended application by address (including five-digit zip code).

People who manufacture or compound restricted use pesticides in the State or import restricted use pesticides into the State for use, distribution or storage must keep records of and report the following information on all sales within the state: the product's U.S. EPA registration number, container size and number of containers sold to purchasers in the State.

Researcher Access to Confidential Information or Pesticide Application Information for Human Health Research

Confidential information from the Pesticide Use and Sales Data Base (also called the Pesticide Registry) collected by NYSDEC and pesticide application information maintained by private applicators are, with certain restrictions, available to scientists involved in human health research. Any information, including name and address, that could identify a commercial or private applicator of pesticides, including a farmer, or anyone who receives the services of a commercial applicator is considered confidential information. Researchers interested in obtaining confidential pesticide registry information, or pesticide application information, should contact the New York State Department of Health toll-free at 1-800-458-1158. They will be sent 3 documents developed by the Health Research Science Board ("the Board"):

  1. a request form to be used by researchers seeking either Pesticide Registry information from the Board or pesticide application information from private applicators;
  2. guidelines to restrict the dissemination of confidential Pesticide Registry and pesticide application information by researchers;
  3. a confidentiality agreement between a researcher and the Board which would require the researcher to maintain the confidentiality of confidential information obtained from the Board or a private applicator;

The Board's Committee on Access to Pesticide Registry and Pesticide Application Information meets to discuss each application. The committee makes a recommendation to the Board, which decides whether or not to approve the request. Confidential pesticide registry information and access to pesticide application information will be provided to a researcher only after an agreement to maintain confidentiality has been signed by the researcher and the Board. The process requires four to six months. Private applicators, including farmers, maintain pesticide application information, but do not report it to NYSDEC. Researchers who have been approved for access to pesticide information maintained by farmers should seek access at times that are mutually convenient, avoiding planting and harvesting times.

The Confidentiality Agreement

The confidentiality guidelines and agreement are somewhat lengthy and detailed and researchers may have questions when reviewing them. Please call the New York State Department of Health toll-free at 1-800-458-1158 if you need assistance. Some of the

provisions are summarized briefly here. Please note that this summary does not modify the provisions of the confidentiality agreement. In the event of any inconsistency between this summary and one or more provisions of the confidentiality agreement, the provisions of the confidentiality agreement shall be controlling.

Before either a researcher or a person designated by the researcher to have access to confidential information can gain access to confidential information, the Board and the researcher (or person designated by the researcher) must sign a confidentiality agreement. The researcher or designated person must maintain the confidentiality of confidential information. Confidential information may be used only for the purposes described by the researcher when the data are requested and must be accessible only to persons who have signed confidentiality agreements that also have been signed by the Board. A confidentiality plan must be submitted along with the application for the confidential information. This plan should address these components of data security: work area access, personal computer security, server/network security, and internet exposure.

When the Board approves a researcher's request for access to Pesticide Registry and/or pesticide application information, a notice will be sent to the Environmental Notice Bulletin for publication. The notice will include the abstract of the research project that was submitted to the Board as part of the request for data.

A researcher may not knowingly publish or disclose Pesticide Registry or pesticide application information in a way that would identify an individual or a particular parcel of property. For example, disclosing a particular zip code could identify a pesticide applicator or a farm if only one permitted pesticide applicator or one farm exists in that zip code.

If a researcher finds that confidential information has been or may have been disclosed, or there is risk of disclosure, the Board must be notified. Under certain circumstances, the Board may direct that confidential information be returned by a researcher to the Board. A researcher who publishes or discloses confidential information to someone other than another person who has signed a confidentiality agreement that also has been signed by the Board may be subject to legal action. Such a legal action could be brought on behalf of the Board, or by persons interested in maintaining the confidentiality of confidential information. Under

certain circumstances (e.g. someone misrepresents himself/herself to the Board as a researcher solely to obtain and sell the customer list of a commercial pesticide applicator), if publication or disclosure violates one or more provisions of the Penal Law, criminal prosecution could ensue. In addition, in the event of improper publication or disclosure, the Board may recommend that one or more state agencies restrict the researcher's future access to other confidential information maintained by these agencies.

Within two years of the end of the research for which the data have been obtained, the researcher must destroy confidential information unless the Board gives permission for the information to be kept for an additional period of time.