The bill proposes more regulations and licensing for exterminators, as well as heavy fines and potential jail time for violators.
The Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee gave its approval for a bill aimed at imposing stricter regulations on the use of pesticides.

The legislation seeks further training and tougher licensing standards for exterminators, as well as more stringent punishments, in the hope of minimizing health risks from pesticides, as well as damage to the environment.

It will now advance to its second and third readings in the Knesset, bringing it another step closer to becoming law.

Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay was responsible for advancing the latest version of the bill after an initial reading was approved during the previous Knesset, almost two years ago. In May, the Interministerial Committee for Legislation elected to revive it.

The Environmental Protection Ministry said that extermination often entails the use of dangerous chemicals near humans, and that stricter regulations could prevent tragedies caused by the use of illegal or unapproved pesticides.

In January 2014, two girls, aged two and four, died after an exterminator used phosphine, a highly-powerful insecticide, in their family’s home.

If the bill becomes law, all exterminators will be required to pass an introductory course before getting their license.

Furthermore, all employees working for exterminators will be required to have a license, and there will be a variety of license types made available.

The legislation ranks pesticides based on their health risks and danger to the environment, which the ministry said would dissuade exterminators from using the more dangerous chemicals except in special cases and only when absolutely necessary.

It calls for officials to be given broader powers of supervision and enforcement, and for stricter punishments for violators.

The initial version of the bill in February 2014 proposed giving violators up to a year in prison and a fine of up to NIS 904,000.