Pesticides can present risks to your health and immediate environment. Accidents involving spills and leakages can have serious health and environmental repercussions. Inadequately secured access to pesticides can have disastrous consequences, particularly for children.

Most people think of pesticides as being insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. However common household pesticides also include disinfectants, antibacterial soaps, bleach, pool chemicals, toilet bowl cleaners, flea collars and, flying insect sprays. Always use caution when applying these products. Read the label for instructions.

These guidelines are designed to assist homeowners minimize their exposure to pesticides and reduce the risks to public health and the environment. They do this by presenting helpful information about environmentally sound methods for the storing and handling of pesticides.

Storage
It is important to read and follow the pesticide label. The label contains information concerning directions for use, application site and rate, storage and disposal, active ingredients, protective equipment needs and the types of pests controlled. Using a pesticide in a manner that is inconsistent with its label requirements is a violation of Federal law.

Safety is the key element in pesticide storage. The safest approach to any pesticide problem is to limit the amounts and types of pesticide stored. The amounts and types of pesticides stored should be maintained at the level that is immediately required and should not be stored beyond immediate needs.

In selecting an area for storing/handling pesticides, human and environmental safety should be foremost considerations. In particular, the area should be evaluated for potential risks to human health due to accidental spills, fires or contamination of drinking water supplies.

Pesticides should be stored out of the reach of children outside of your home in a garage or other outside storage area such as a shed. Pesticides should not be stored over soil that is coarse or sandy or over surfaces that drain easily such as gravel because the pesticide can then easily move through the soil into the ground water.

For storage of small quantities wooden cabinets with a chemically resistant surface coating or metal cabinets work well. The cabinets should, ideally, be located in an area away from direct sunlight, freezing temperatures and extreme heat. An alternative is to store the pesticides on shelves in leak proof trays. Wooden pallets work well for storing granular or dry formulations that are packaged in bags or sacks.

Pesticides should always be stored in their original containers, according to label requirements, with the label intact.

Pesticides and fertilizers should be stored separately. Pesticides should be separated by type- insecticides, weed killers, fungicides- to avoid cross contamination and possible accidental misuse. Flammable and non-flammable pesticides should be stored in separate areas. Pesticides should never be stored alongside food, feed or seed. The storage area should be locked at all times, if possible, and identified as a place of pesticide storage.

The area should be well ventilated either by windows or a fan to avoid the build up of fumes.

Pesticides and fertilizers should be stored separately. Pesticides should be separated by type- insecticides, weed killers, fungicides- to avoid cross contamination and possible accidental misuse. Flammable and non-flammable pesticides should be stored in separate areas. Pesticides should never be stored alongside food, feed or seed. The storage area should be locked at all times, if possible, and identified as a place of pesticide storage.

The area should be well ventilated either by windows or a fan to avoid the build up of fumes.

Mixing, Loading, and Rinsing
If practical, use pre-mixed pesticides or ready-to use pesticides, instead of ones you have to mix yourself. This prevents spillage and incorrect mixing of concentrate. It also decreases your exposure to the pesticide.

All transfer of pesticides between containers, including mixing, and equipment cleaning, should be conducted over a spill containment surface designed to intercept, retain and recover spillage, leakage and wash water. A recommended strategy is to mix and load over a tarpaulin or on a concrete driveway. Pesticides should not be mixed and loaded over soil that is coarse or sandy because the pesticide can then easily move through the soil into the ground water.

Only the amount of pesticide that is immediately required should be mixed. The exact amount of pesticide to be applied to the area should be carefully calculated according to the rate on the label. The creation of excess amounts of pesticide should be avoided as this will lead to disposal problems. Small amounts of leftover pesticide mix should be disposed of by applying to a different part of the site. Pesticides should never be disposed of by throwing them down a storm drain or toilet.

If a spillage occurs, the contaminated area should not be hosed down. This will cause the pesticide to spread and infiltrate into groundwater. Absorbent material such as vermiculite, clay, pet litter or activated charcoal should be on hand along with a garbage can and shovel to quickly contain and clean up any spills. Run-off water caused by rain could intercept the spillage leading to the creation of hazardous waste and the contamination of water bodies. Most pesticides should not be applied if rain is forecast within 24 hours of application, unless it is stated otherwise on the label directions.

The use of personal protective equipment is recommended. At a minimum, gloves (rubber, nitrile or neoprene) and long sleeve shirts should be worn. Rubber boots, a hat, goggles and a face mask are also recommended.

Correct procedures must be followed in the disposal of empty pesticide containers. Liquid containers should be rinsed three times, the rinse water being used to dilute the mixture in the applicator. The containers should then be punctured and put out in the trash.