It is essential that pesticides are safely stored before use so that they do not contaminate the environment or harm human health. Ten rules for proper pesticide storage and stock management have been put forward by FAO in the Pesticide Storage and Stock Control Manual1.
- Pesticide stores should not be located in or near densely populated urban areas or near water bodies.
- The storage capacity (total storage surface) should be sufficient to store the total stock of pesticides at any time.
- Each store should have at least the following:
The floor of the store should have a layout of separate blocks with aisles between them. Ideally the outline of the blocks should be painted on the floor. Each block should contain only one product. There should be sufficient space between blocks to move containers freely, enable the inspection of containers and treat leakages. Drums should be stacked in such a way that each can be inspected from the aisles between the blocks. Drums and bags should be stored on pallets. The number of containers stacked on top of each other should not exceed the stacking recommendations for the type of container concerned. Overstacking may lead to rupture of containers lower down and reduces access to containers.
Pesticide stores should only contain pesticides. All other goods or objects should be removed.
Obsolete pesticides should be separated from operational stocks.
Each store should have the following for dealing with emergencies:
- sufficient ventilation openings to avoid unnecessarily high temperatures;
- floors made of, or covered by, impermeable concrete or cement (as a temporary measure, floors may be covered by a large and thick polyethylene sheet);
- ramps at entrances to contain any major leakage within the store;
- doors that are lockable and bars across ventilation holes and windows to prevent unauthorized entry.
The contents of leaking or heavily damaged containers should be repacked in appropriate replacement containers. Repacked pesticides should be labelled immediately. Stores should be inspected regularly. Any leakage or contamination should be cleaned up immediately.
Storekeepers should keep a record of the stocks in their custody and a separate record of stocks in the country should be kept centrally. Recorded data should include: for incoming pesticides, the arrival date, formulation, quantity, unit size, date of manufacture, supplier and origin; for outgoing pesticides, the date, formulation, quantity, unit size and destination. Records should be updated regularly.
A "first in - first out "principle should be applied consistently. In other words, always finish old consignments before using newly arrived consignments.
- a few bags of sawdust and/or sand to absorb leaked or spilled pesticides;
- a number of empty containers (preferably salvage drums that can contain a whole 200-litre drum) and empty bags to repack heavily damaged or leaking containers;
- spade and brush;
- fire extinguisher;
- protective gear for staff to enable them to deal with emergencies (nitrile rubber or neoprene gloves, rubber boots, overalls, goggles, vapour masks or half-face respirators with organic vapour cartridges)
- water supply from a tap, or a container of water, to wash hands and face if these become contaminated;
- eyewash set.
Disposal of small amounts of pesticides should be carried out by applying it according to label recommendations. By managing stocks of pesticides carefully and not over ordering it should be possible to avoid having to dispose of large amounts of material. However, where this is unavoidable advice should be taken on legal methods for disposal according to local requirements.
Individual countries also give specific advice for the storage and disposal of pesticides much of which is similar to that given above. In the USA the Environmental Protection Agency gives advice on the storage and disposal of pesticides to both household consumers and farmers2, the latter also disposing of pesticides under the “Clean Sweep” programme, available in many states for the collection and disposal of unwanted pesticides3. Information is also available from various extension services e.g. University of Nebraska4, Colorado State University5, University of Nevada6, University of Missouri7. In the UK advice is given to farmers by the Health and Safety Executive8.
CropLife International has also produced a comprehensive guide to the safe warehousing of crop protection products9.
1. Food and Agriculture Organisation, Pesticide Storage and Stock Control Manual
2. US Environmental Protection Agency, Storage and Disposal of Pesticides
3. US Environmental Protection Agency, Storage and disposal of pesticides, The Clean Sweep Report
4. C.L. Ogg, L.d. Schulze and S.T. Kamble, Safe Transport, Storage and Disposal of Pesticides, EC 2507, University of Nebraska, 2006
5. L.G. Skoglund and S.K. McDonald, Proper Pesticide Storage, Colorado Environmental Pesticide Education
Program, Pesticide Fact Sheet #115, 2006
6. S. Strom, W. S. Johnson and F. Whitford, Pesticide Safety Tips for Private and Commercial Applicators, Best Management Practices, Special Publication-05-11, 2005
7. M. Steinwachs, Safe Use, Storage and Disposal of Pesticides, WM 6000, University of Missouri, 2007
8. UK Health and Safety Executive, Guidance on storing pesticides for farmers and other professional users, Agriculture Information Sheet No. 16, 2006
9. CropLife International, Guidelines for the safe warehousing of crop protection products, 2006
Last modified 8th April 2010