The winter months are when most managers acquire their pesticides and adjuvants in preparation for the following season. After purchase, proper storage of pesticides and adjuvants protectsthe health and well-being of people,helps protect against environmental contamination, and protects the chemical shelf life. Most importantly, proper storage of agrichemicals helps prevent hazards.
What types of hazards are associated with pesticides in storage?
Pesticides are chemical substances that contain flammable compounds, oxidizing substances, or corrosive chemicals.
- Flammable compounds – pesticides contain petroleum-based substances which are flammable and need to be kept away from heat and substances that might cause them to ignite or explode.
- Oxidizing substances – some pesticides contain substances that can easily react with other chemicals. They should only be stored with other oxidizing chemicals.
- Corrosive chemicals – some pesticides are acids which can corrode substances. They can also react vigorouslyand explode if they come into contact with other types of chemicals.
Types of Chemical Hazards
Pesticides are toxic chemicals that can cause harm to users even when they are used properly. Therefore, pesticide users should be concerned with the hazard associated with exposure and the toxicity of the chemical itself.
Toxicity is the inherent capability of the chemical substance to produce injury or death. Hazard is a function of toxicity and exposure.
Three types of hazards associated with exposure to chemicals include health hazards, physical or occupational hazards, and environmental hazards.
- Health hazard – can occur following exposure or contact with toxic chemicals which might cause irritation, skin rashes, a disorder of internal organs like lungs, kidney, liver, or even lead to heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
- Physical or occupational hazard – include explosion, flammability, corrosion, leakage, and spillage which can cause huge losses.
- Environmental hazard – occurs when the release of toxic chemicals in the environment disturbs the ecological balance and badly affects plants and animals within the area. Chemicals in gaseous form in the environment give rise to problems like air pollution and acid rain.
Proper storage of pesticides helps prevent hazards that would otherwise harm humans, other organisms, and the environment.
Tips on how to avoid hazards during storage of pesticide products
- Storage unit/building guidelines:
- A separate, isolated storage unit or building should be used to store pesticides.
- The storage unit should be located as far away as possible from other buildings and populated areas.
- Ensure that the storage unit can be locked and always kept locked.
- The storage unit should be well-ventilated and have a source of heat for pesticide products that cannot tolerate cold temperatures.
- The storage unit should be constructed using fire-resistant material and should include fire extinguishers or a sprinkler system.
- Plenty of soap and water should be available in the storage area.
- Post warning signs outside the pesticide storage unit.
- Pesticide product storage guidelines:
- Store pesticides in their original labelled containers.
- Keep lids of containers and tops of bags closed.
- Liquid containers should be stored on pallets to preventmetal containers from rusting.
- Check all containers frequently for leaks and tears to avoid contamination.Dispose of pesticides showing signs of deterioration.
- Avoid storing unnecessarily large quantities of pesticides by keeping good records of previous requirements and making good estimates of future needs.
- Try to avoid storing pesticides from one year to the next. The storage life of pesticides varies from product to product.
- General safety guidelines when storing pesticide products:
- Do not store pesticides in the same room with food, livestock feed, or water.
- Do not store some pesticides with certain agricultural inputs, e.g., when hormone type pesticides are stored with fertilizer cross-contamination can occur.
- Do not store personal items like clothes, respirators, cigarettes, or drinks with agrichemicals.
- Do not store glass containers in sunlight where they might concentrate heat rays and start fires.
- Store combustible materials away from steam lines and heating devices.
Safety is the key element in pesticide storage. The safest approach to preventing pesticide hazards is to limit the amounts and types of pesticides stored. It is also important that access to the storage unitis limited to only those individuals who are properly trained in the use of pesticides.
- Pesticide Safety: 10 Things that Must be on a Pesticide Label
- Pesticide Safety: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Univ. Mass, Amherst. Pesticide Storage, Handling, and Disposal.[Accessed, November 29, 2022].
- US EPA, 2022.Storing Pesticides Safely. [Accessed, November 29, 2022].
- Gripp, S., Ayers, J., and Richards, K.H. 2022. Pesticide Storage and Security. Penn State Extension. [Accessed, November 29, 2022].
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