Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Rios v. Washington Dep't of Labor & Indus.

ELR Citation: 32 ELR 20532
Nos. No. 70294-2, 39 P.3d 961/(Wash., 02/19/2002)

The court affirms in part and reverses in part an appellate court decision holding that the Washington Department of Labor and Industries violated a statutory duty to promulgate a rule requiring mandatory blood testing for agricultural pesticide handlers. A group of agricultural pesticide handlers challenged a 1993 rule that recommends but does not require a blood testing program. They also challenged the Department of Labor and Industries' denial of their request in 1997 to promulgate a rule making blood testing mandatory. The department did not violate its statutory duty under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act or otherwise act arbitrarily and capriciously when it decided not to include mandatory cholinesterase monitoring in the agricultural pesticide regulations promulgated in 1993. The court, however, holds that the department's 1997 denial of the pesticide handlers' request for rulemaking was unreasonable. Because the department had already invested its resources in studying cholinesterase-inhibiting pesticides and because the report of its own team of technical experts had, in light of the most current research, deemed a monitoring program both necessary and doable, the department's 1997 denial of the pesticide handlers' request was unreasonable and taken without regard to the attending facts or circumstances. The court, therefore, ordered the department to initiate rulemaking on a mandatory cholinesterase monitoring program for agricultural pesticide handlers.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (15 pp., ELR Order No. L-462).

Counsel for Petitioner
Elliott S. Furst, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
1125 Washington St. SE, Olympia WA 98504
(360) 753-6200

Counsel for Respondent
Todd D. True
Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund
705 Second Ave., Ste. 203, Seattle WA 98104
(206) 343-7340