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Keep safety in mind when storing pesticides

By JERRY LITTLE
Ag notes

Safety is the primary concern in storing pesticides during the winter months. It is important that products are kept out of the reach of those who should not come into contact with them and to guard against accidental contamination of the environment in case of a spill, flood or fire.

Pesticides should be stored away from feed and seed in a secure, building. The structure should be sound, dry and airy and must be able to protect pesticides from extreme temperatures and moisture. A “pesticide storage” sign should be placed by the entrance to warn emergency personnel of the contents. Fumes from chemicals in a fire can be very dangerous to anyone around, especially those battling the fire.

Always keep protective equipment on hand like gloves and eye/body wash solutions in case of emergencies. Keep sand, sawdust, or other absorbent material available to contain liquid spills.

In addition, you’re trying to protect your investment in the products you have. If they are stored properly, most can last for at least two years on the shelf and still function effectively. Check the product label for specific storage directions.

Winter also is a good time to take inventory of all the products in the storage area. That way when you go to purchase chemicals for next year, you will know what you need. Check products in storage for damaged packaging and make sure the label is still readable.

Homeowners may not have specific storage buildings for pesticides and typically they don’t have significant quantities, but storage still is important. Homeowners should at least put products in the garage and get them up out of the reach of children.

Know the dates on your products and use the oldest ones first. Follow the label instructions for disposal when the chemicals are out of date or no longer needed.

On the farm or in the home, pesticide users may occasionally see products with telltale signs of ineffectiveness. Powdery products may start to clump and liquids may separate. Before disposing of the product, read the label to see if there are suggestions for correcting it. Sometimes rolling a bottle or shaking a product will help, but make sure the label allows these techniques before employing them.

In some situations, chemicals have been discontinued for use. Homeowners who have products containing phased out chemicals can use the product according to label directions until it is gone. It is best to use them up because the longer you keep them; the longer they have to become a disposal problem. Commercial products always have a list of active ingredients on the label. Check this list for the discontinued chemical.

If you have any questions on chemical storage or use, contact the Boyle County Cooperative Extension office.

Jerry Little is the Boyle County extension agent for Agriculture/Natural Resources.