William J. Becker and Freddie A.
I, / -"
Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida,Gainesville/John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension
Table of Contents
Introduction ........................................... 1
Determining If You Need a Pesticide ................... .......... 1
Purchasing the Pesticide ................... ............... 1
Understanding the Label ................................... 1.
1. EPA registration number .... ................... ........ 2
2. Directions for use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
3. Precautions ............................. ...... . 2
4. Statement of Practical Treatment. . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. 3
5. Storage and disposal ....................... .......... 3
6. Classification statement ...................... ........... 3
Entrance into the Body ...................................... 3
The Cholinesterase Inhibitor Factor. . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . 4
Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning ................... ............ 4
Transportation and Storage ............................ .... 4
Transportation ................... ......... .. ..... 4
Storage .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Mixing and Loading ........................ .... ........ 7
Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .. 8
Pesticide and Pesticide Container Disposal . . . . . . . . ... . . . . 8
Mixed Pesticides ................... .................... 8
Excess Pesticides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Pesticide Containers ................... ................. 9
Accidental Spills...... ................................ .. 11
Summary...... ................ ...................... 12
William J. Becker is Associate Professor-Extension Safety Specialist, Agricultural Engineering Department, and
Freddie A. Johnson is Professor-Extension Entomologist, Entomology and Nematology Department, IFAS, University
of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.
Safety with pesticides
should be a concern of
everyone involved with
these chemicals, for
while they provide real
benefits, they can also
be dangerous if
mishandled or misused.
An accidental death
from pesticides is rare,
but skin disorders and health problems are not.
Also, improper handling or use of pesticides can
result in harmful effects to the environment.
Pesticide safety begins with the selection of the
proper product and proceeds through the transpor-
tation, storage, mixing, loading, application, and
disposal of the pesticide and its container.
Determining If You Need a Pesticide
Before purchasing a pesticide, determine if you
have a pest problem, and if a problem exists, what
control will be most efficient, cost effective and
safe. You may not need a pesticide, since alterna-
tives are often available. These may be resistant
varieties or species, rotation and soil sterilization,
management practices and housekeeping, environ-
mental and cultural controls, proper watering and
fertilization, or even mechanical or biological con-
trols. These alternatives may be as efficient and
cost effective as pesticides. Indiscriminate use of
pesticides should be avoided.
Purchasing the Pesticide
Once you are sure you have a pest problem and
have determined that a pesticide is the best solu-
tion, you still have other decisions to make before
you can make a well-thought-out purchase. Cer-
tainly, more than quantity and price should be
For most pest problems there are usually at least
two pesticide products on the market. In addition,
each product may be available in different dry or
liquid formulations (dusts, wettable or soluble pow-
ders, emulsifiable concentrates, granules, baits,
etc.), in different concentrations (less than 1%
chemical concentration to more than 90%) and in
different sizes and types of containers (eight-ounce
box, one-gallon plastic container, 30-gallon drum, to
give a few examples.
Understanding the Label
Reading and understanding the label before pur-
chase is the first consideration. The product name
provides recognition. It is generally designed to
attract you so you will make a purchase and to
promote product identification. It helps you to find
the product when you return to make additional
purchases. Below is an example representing a
typical label. Note the types of items it contains,
such as the name of the product, directions for its
use, storage and disposal, and other information.
(160 lb. man)**
Few drops to 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon
1 ounce to more than 1 pint
* Skull and crossbones symbol included.
** Less for a child or person weighing less than 160 Ibs.
The terms "active ingredient" and "percent" give
you more precise information. The active ingredient
is the material which controls the pest. Should
product "A" have two percent active ingredient, and
product "B" four percent, product "B" has twice the
amount of actual pesticide and it will be twice as
strong. Likewise, if product "C" has two pounds of
active ingredient per gallon, it has twice the active
ingredient of product "D" if it contains only one
pound per gallon. Remember, this comparison
applies only when two products have the same
active ingredient. Other factors, however, may
determine the concentration of the product best
suited for your needs.
There are many other items of information you
must study on the pesticide label before you can
make an intelligent purchase:
1. EPA registration numberLook for this number
on every product. It is your assurance that the
product has been reviewed by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and
should be safe and effective when used as
directed on the label. This means you must
read the rest of the label before making your
2. Directions for use: Before you buy any pes-
ticide, make sure the product is labeled for use
against the pest, on the plants or animals, in
the environment where you plan to use the
product. A product may be labeled to control a
pest on nursery plants, but not for the same
pest on fruits, vegetables, or house plants in the
3. Precautions: Pesticides carry one of three
precautionary words or phrases. The products
most toxic to humans will be labeled DANGER-
POISON. These products are extremely toxic in
the form found in the container, before they are
diluted. Only a few drops could cause severe
burns, serious health problems or even death.
STOP READ THE LABEL
Products labeled WARNING are less toxic to
humans, but extreme care must be exercised in
their use, particularly before they are diluted.
The word CAUTION will appear on those pes-
ticides which are the least harmful when used
as directed. These products, however, can still
cause serious injury or health problems and even
death. You will notice that pesticides carrying
even the least toxic precaution -- the word
CAUTION -- often carry the statement, "KEEP
OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN".
LD or lethal dose value is another term used
in describing pesticide toxicity. An LD/50
indicates the amount of active ingredient in the
pesticide formulation that would be lethal to 50
percent of a population of test animals. The LD
amount is expressed in milligrams of toxic
product per kilogram of body weight. Thus, a
pesticide with an LD/50-50mg/kg is ten times
more toxic than a pesticide with an LD/50-
500mg/kg. Sometimes an LD/90, or other
number, is given. An LD/90 indicates that the
product would be lethal to 90 percent of the test
V 01 V<^v
Many pesticides have two LD or lethal dose
values; one LD/50 value for oral ingestion of the
product, the other for dermal absorption
(through the skin) of the pesticide. Normally
the oral LD/50 value of a pesticide is lower,
thus more toxic, than the dermal LD/50 value of
the product. However, since we are more apt to
get the product on our skin than we are to
swallow it, dermal exposure may be a much more
The "precaution" portion of the label will give
additional advice on the safe use of the product.
It might require that people and animals be kept
out of treated areas, that the product not be
used in enclosed areas, that special clothing and
protective equipment be worn, that treated
fruits, vegetables or other products not be
handled or eaten for a particular period of time,
that care be followed not to have the product
drift onto or be sprayed on other plants or find
its way into surface or ground waters.
The precautionary statements may be few or
many, but the potential purchaser of the pes-
ticide must heed this information. Failure to do
so can be extremely hazardous and is in viola-
tion of federal law.
4. Statement of Practical Treatment: This is in-
formation about first aid and can be limited or
detailed. It may give advice on what to do if the
product is accidentally swallowed, inhaled or gets
into the eyes or onto the skin. The statement
may tell you that you need to purchase addi-
tional equipment and supplies before you can use
the product safely and be able to deal with
You need to know what to do if someone is
accidentally poisoned by the pesticide. Be sure
you understand the Statement of Practical
Treatment. Have materials available to ad-
minister first aid. Always call a doctor or
emergency room immediately if an accident
occurs. Make sure the doctors are given the
pesticide label; it will help them prescribe
immediate correct treatment. Emergency tele-
phone numbers, including that of the nearest
poison control center, should be posted near all
5. Storage and disposal: Don't purchase the pes-
ticide if you cannot store it properly or dispose
of unwanted quantities safely. Seek an agree-
ment with the dealer that unopened, unused
quantities can be returned for credit. Pur-
chasers of large quantities of pesticides might
even obtain an agreement on the return of
empty pesticide containers.
6. Classification statement: Pesticides are classi-
fied as "general" or "restricted". Those classified
as "general" can be purchased and used, in
accordance with the label, by the general public.
"Restricted Use Pesticides" can be purchased and
applied by State-certified licensed pesticide
RESTRICTED USE PESTICIDE
For retail sale to and use only by certified
applicators or persons under their direct
supervision, and only for those uses covered by
the certified applicator's certification.
You can make intelligent purchases of pesticides
through completely reading and understanding the
label. A product you have chosen wisely will do
the job economically and safely. It is the user's
legal responsibility to thoroughly read and follow
label instructions. Remember, by reading the direc-
tions and warnings before you purchase the pes-
ticide, you can protect yourself, your family and
the environment from serious accidents.
Entrance into the Body
There are three ways for pesticides to enter the
body: breathing, swallowing (also called ingesting),
or through the skin or eyes. All three methods can
cause immediate danger. Inhaled pesticides are
absorbed rapidly into the body through the thin
membranes of the lungs. Wearing a properly-fitted
respirator with the proper cartridge or canister is
very important. Replace the canister or cartridge
every few hours of use, or whenever the odor or
taste of the pesticide is detected, or when breath-
ing becomes difficult. Working upwind of the pes-
ticide dust, mists and vapor and not smoking pes-
ticide-contaminated cigarettes are other safety
practices to follow.
SMod of Entry
Pesticides can enter the body in three ways--
inhalation, ingestion and skin or eye absorption.
While breathing pesticides is the most rapid way
for them to enter the bloodstream, most acute
poisonings are the result of swallowing pesticides,
which happens more often. Swallowed or ingested,
pesticides are absorbed more slowly and less com-
pletely than by breathing. Establishing good work
habits, including washing hands before eating, and
not eating, smoking or drinking while working with
pesticides, will reduce the chances of ingestion. It
must be emphasized that pesticides should never be
stored in other than their original containers.
Putting pesticides in containers that originally held
food or drink has resulted in many accidental
All pesticides may enter the body by absorption
through the skin and eyes, the most common meth-
od of accidental poisoning. The eyes, stomach,
groin, arms, hands, and forehead are the likely
areas for absorption. Be extremely careful to see
that open wounds, sores or blisters are not exposed
to pesticides. Wearing the proper protective cloth-
ing and equipment, changing and laundering
immediately after working with pesticides, and
showering thoroughly with detergent and soap will
reduce the danger of absorption. Should a pesticide
spill onto your body, the next two minutes are
critical Immediate removal of your clothing and
thorough washing are required!
The Cholinesterase Inhibitor Factor
Mixers, loaders, applicators and others working
with concentrated pesticides, or those who have
accrued long hours of exposure to diluted pesticides,
should be particularly aware of the dangers of the
organophosphate and carbamate pesticides as cholin-
esterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase is an enzyme in
the blood. It affects the red blood cell and plasma
ChE levels. Organophosphate and carbamate
pesticides affect this enzyme and cause lower red
blood cell and plasma ChE levels. Affected
individuals may exhibit pesticide poisoning symptoms
such as fatigue, listlessness and headaches. Severe
exposures can result in death. Users of these
pesticides should be in a cholinesterase testing
program. Consult your medical doctor.
Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning
Many of the early symptoms of mild pesticide
poisoning are similar to the symptoms of the flu.
heat stroke, exhaustion or the common cold. How-
ever, if these symptoms occur while working, or
shortly after you have been working, with pesticides
contact your supervisor, nurse or doctor. Symptoms
which may occur are:
Transportation and Storage
Whether you are a homeowner, farmer, grower,
rancher or commercial applicator, proper transpor-
tation and storage are important aspects of safe
Pesticides should never be transported inside the
passenger compartment of an automobile or truck
cab; put them in the trunk or in the back of the
truck. Never transport them where they could come
in contact with groceries, livestock feed or other
products which might become contaminated.
When transporting pesticides in a truck, see that
they are secured to prevent spillage or loss due to
sudden starts, stops, turns, etc. Should there be an
accident or spill,immediately inform the local police
and fire officials of the quantity and name of the
pesticide involved. Large spills, particularly of "Re-
stricted Use Pesticides," should be reported to the
Florida Department of Environmental Regulation
(DER) (1-904-488-1320), CHEMTREC (1-800-424-
9300) and/or the manufacturer.
Applicators of pesticides, particularly in heavily
populated areas, must take special precautions to
secure products transported to the application site.
Allowing containers of pesticides to remain unat-
tended on the back of an open truck is inviting an
accident -- and a costly lawsuit.
Commercial transporters of pesticides must meet
special requirements: vehicles must carry placards,
bills of lading, labels of the product, etc. Consult
the Florida Department of Transportation regarding
Nationally, nearly three-fourths of all pesticide
accidents occur to non-users of the materials.Many
of these accidents involve children. In addition,
each year there are several cases of livestock and
pet poisonings from contacts with improperly stored
pesticides. These accidents not only cause human
suffering and economic losses, but improper storage
is contrary to federal regulations. READ THE
LABEL: IT IS THE LAW.
Excessive sweating and salivating
Stomach cramps or diarrhea
Unable to walk
Constriction of pupil of eye
Severe construction of pupil
Secretions from nmouth and nose
Whether you are a homeowner, producer or ap-
plicator of pesticide, there are basic safe storage
rules to follow:
1. Keep pesticides, other poisons, and related
materials locked in a cabinet, room or sep-
arate building designated solely for the stor-
age of these materials. Metal storage cabi-
nets, such as discarded school lockers, provide
excellent storage for homeowners or other
users of small amounts of pesticides.
2. Post the facilities
with a sign:
POISONS, KEEP PESTICIDES
OUT', or similar
3. Control access to i s IN
this facility to only SMO
one, two, or three -
highly trusted, -
4. Never store pesticides where food, feed, seed,
fertilizers or other products can become
5. Store pesticides in their original containers.
It's the law.
6. The facility should be reasonably fireproof
and well-ventilated. Temperatures should be
kept between freezing and 100 degrees F.
7. Sealed concrete floors, concrete block walls
and metal shelves are recommended over
8. With shelf storage, store dry pesticides on
the top shelves, liquids on the lower shelves.
9. Electrical fixtures should be of the dust-and
10. Provide adequate space for the secure stor-
age of empty pesticide containers until proper
disposal of them is possible.
Those businesses with large quantities of pes-
ticides to store should have a separate building for
this purpose. In addition to the above features,
this building should also include the following char-
1. When feasible, the building should be down-
wind and downhill from sensitive areas, such
as homes, play areas, feedlots, animal shel-
ters, gardens and ground water sources.
2. The building should be located in an area not
subject to flooding.
3. A drainage system should be built to collect
any tank rinsing water or spoils. This ma-
terial should be treated as surplus pesticide
and must be disposed of properly, according
to label instructions.
4. A water supply should be furnished, not only
for mixing, loading, tank rinsing and cleanup,
but for showers and cleanup for the persons
who mix, load and apply the pesticides.
5. Fire detectors and fire fighting equipment
should be available.
6. A telephone should be convenient, with all
emergency numbers posted.
7. A current inventory of all materials in stor-
age, along with a label of all materials, should
be maintained in a secure area away from the
storage area. The local fire department should
be provided with an updated copy of this
8. Equip the storage area with all personal
protective equipment and materials to prevent
accidents and to handle accidents and spills.
Activated charcoal, absorptive clay, vermicu-
lite, clay-granule type cat litter or sawdust are
good materials to absorb liquid spills.
9. Date and identify all pesticides when they are
placed into storage, and store no more than
will be needed for one season. Establish a
policy of first-in, first-used, so that pesticides
do not become outdated.
10. Have your fire insurance carrier inspect
pesticide storage facility periodically --
intelligent management and may reduce
Many pesticide storage facilities are inadequate,
dangerous and lack security. On page 7 is a plan
for constructing a safe pesticide storage building.
If drains are installed in the building or in the
mixing/loading platform out-of-doors this drain
water must be captured and not allowed to enter
ground or surface water. Copies of this plan
(EX6346 Pesticide Storage Building) are available
from the Cooperative Extension Service.
Mixing and Loading
Mixing and loading of pesticides are among the
most dangerous tasks involving work with these
products, because it is at this time that people are
working with open containers of concentrated pes-
For this reason, individuals employed to perform
this activity should be well-informed of the dangers
involved and work under the supervision of a prop-
erly certified, licensed applicator whenever handling
Mixing and loading
should never be done RESPIRATOR
without a full understand-
ing of the pesticide label RUBBER
and with the use of all
protective equipment. The
label will identify the /
dangers involved and the SLEEVO
precautions to follow, may
indicate the signs and
symptoms of poisoning and
recommend first aid prac- BOOTS
tices, should one be ex-
posed to the product.
Before you begin to mix, load and apply pes-
ticides, and after you understand the label direc-
tions, make certain you have taken the following
1. Have detergent or soap and an adequate supply
of water available.
2. Know the early symptoms of poisoning for the
pesticide you are using.
3. Know the first aid procedures and make
certain that materials and supplies are avail-
4. Be certain that materials are available to
5. Make certain that all equipment is functioning
6. Do not work alone; be sure help is available
if you get into trouble.
7. Have all the recommended protective clothing
and equipment. Double-check that the respira-
tor fits properly and has the correct canister
8. Never eat, drink, smoke or go to the bath-
room while working with pesticides, without
first washing your hands.
You are now ready to begin mixing and loading.
Follow these suggestions:
1. Reread the label and follow the directions;
pay special attention to the warnings and
2. Make sure only authorized mixers, loaders
and/or supervisors are in the mixing and
loading area. No other people or animals
should be there.
3. Work only in a well-ventilated, well-lighted
4. Pesticide containers should be in a secure
position when opening, to prevent any spil-
lage. Be sure everyone is wearing the proper
personal protective equipment.
5. Mix and pour concentrated pesticides down
low, preferably below waist level. Never pour
pesticides at eye level. A spill or splash
could be disastrous. Always remove clothing
and wash yourself and your clothing thor-
oughly, immediately (within two minutes), if
pesticides are spilled or splashed on you.
6. Stand with your back to the wind -- upwind
-- so that any fumes or dusts are blown away
7. Pour the pesticide into water, never water
into the pesticide.
8. If stirring is necessary, use a stir stick,
never your hands.
9. Mixing and loading are best done on a con-
crete slab where spills can be handled more
effectively. Avoid mixing or loading near
surface water or near a well-head.
10. Never pour pesticide directly into- a spray
tank. Always mix and dilute in a small
11. When pouring, stand with your head well
above the spray tank, to prevent pesticides
from splashing in your face. Protect your
eyes with splash-proof goggles.
12. Never overflow a spray tank. The cleanup
could be an all-day, all-night task, costly and
2- 4 AD1- O
SLAB EDGE DETAIL
a '" O r
235f ASPHALT SHINGLES
W/ SELF SEAL TABS
150 ROOFING FELT
I, C-D EXT PLYWOOD-
IX6' FACIA MUIL VAPOR
2 X4' PLATE BARRIER
%"PLYWOOO SOFFIT \" FIRE RATED SHEETROCK
6" CONT SCREEN VENT
S\ 6 FOIL BACK INSULATION
8' X8"x6" CONC BLOC* \\I HURRICANE CLIP AT EACH TRUSS
1\"X 2" TRIM
I FS5 1 CONT FROM 2"X" TOP PLATE W/ 'J' BOLTS,
TOP PLATE TO 48" 0 C
FOOTING IN FILLED
CELL AS INDICATED
WIRE MESH HORIZ
REINF EVERY 3r
CONT R OGE VENT
S5/." T l II PLYWOOD
-LIGHT BROOM FINISH
4" CONC. SLAB W/ 6"X6" # 10 WWM
d W/ 6 NIL VAPOR BARRIER OVER
WELL-COMPACTED TREATED SOIL
SlI'i.. P 5 4 CONT
ALL DOORS METAL FIRE RATED W/ FIRE RATED
JAMBS AND KEYED LOCAS
SI SAFETY SHOWER UNIT
I EYEWASH UNIT
0 2 WALL MOUNT 10f ABC FIRE EXT
O 2 CEILING MOUNT JON TYPE DETECTORS
SI INDUSTRIAL TYPE FIRST AID KIT
7 I DANGER PESTICIDE STORAGE SIGN
ALL ELECTRICAL SHALL BE EXPLOSION PROOF TYPE
AND ALL OUTLETS WEATHER PROTECTED
LIGHT FIXTURES ARE 100 WATT INCANDESCENT VP
SDUPLEX CONVENIENCE OUTLET
5 SINGLE POLE SWITCH
THREE WAY SWITCH
S 500 CFM EXHAUST FAN W/ INLET GUARD AND
100 AMP PANEL- WEATHER PROTECTED
WALL MOUNT HEATER APPROVED BY FIRE DEPT
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
PESTICIDE STORAGE BUILDING
FL '83 Ex. 6346 I SHEET I OF I
LIGHT BROOM FINISH ON
4" CONG SLAB W/ 6"X6"
6 MIL VAPOR
BARRIER OVER I S5 4 CONT
After the mixing-loading task has been completed,
your responsibility continues:
1. Securely close pesticide containers immedi-
ately after use. Return unused pesticide to
its proper storage.
2. Clean up all spills, no matter how small the
3. Wash mixing and loading pails, measuring
devices and stirring equipment or tools in
strong detergent water, rinse in clear water,
store to air-dry.
4. Wash your personal protective equipment in
detergent, rinse and hang to air-dry.
5. The wash and rinse water used in steps 3 and
4 can best be disposed of by pouring it into
the spray tank. Don't overfill the spray tank,
so that there will be room for the rinse water.
6. Remove your clothing and launder separately
with heavy-duty liquid detergent and hot
water. DO NOT USE BLEACH as it could
cause a dangerous chemical reaction. Line-
dry the clothing where it is exposed to
7. Take a hot shower, using a detergent-type
soap. Don't forget to wash your hair. Put
on clean clothing.
When applying pesticides, you are not generally
exposed to the same high concentration of pesticide
as during the mixing and loading operation. How-
ever, the time-length of exposure is much longer,
thus the cumulative exposure may be equal to or
greater than during the mixing-loading operation.
Pesticide applications are made with everything
from hand sprayers and dusters, to irrigation
equipment, large airblast grove sprayers and air-
craft. Whatever equipment is used, many of the
safety precautions are the same. These include:
1. Read and follow the label. Applications made
which vary from label requirements are a
violation of federal law.
2. Use the correct equipment, and make sure it
is properly maintained and adjusted. Screens,
strainers and nozzles should be clean and
functioning properly. Nozzles should be of
the right type and properly adjusted and all
lines, valves, seals should be checked for
3. The application equipment should be accu-
rately calibrated on a regular basis. When-
ever you have any suspicion that the equip-
ment is applying an inaccurate amount, recali-
brate it. Your operator's manual should provide
information on calibration of the equipment.
Additional information is available through
your county's Cooperative Extension Service.
4. Wear the proper protective clothing and
5. Check the weather forecast frequently to
determine if conditions will be favorable for
the application and effectiveness of the
pesticide. The National Weather Service
provides a continuously updated weather
forecast for Florida via VHF/FM channels
WX1 (162.550 MHz), WX2 (162.400 MHz) and
WX3 (162.475 MHz).
6. Avoid spraying near sensitive areas where
drift could damage neighboring crops or the
environment. When spraying must be done in
these areas,attempt to spray when the air is
still, humidity is high and any potential drift
will be away from sensitive areas.
7. Lower pressures, proper boom and nozzle
adjustments, larger nozzle size and drift-
reducing additives (if the label permits) will
8. Do not make field adjustments to the sprayer
in a recently sprayed, still-wet area. Move to
an unsprayed area.
9. Never attempt to clean a nozzle, screen or
hose by blowing or sucking on it with your
mouth. Use small soft-bristle brushes and/or
an air pressure bulb for these purposes.
10. Always empty a tank by spraying the entire
contents onto the vegetation or other area
for which it was intended. Never drain a
spray tank onto the ground. Important:
Never mix more than you need!
Pesticide and Pesticide Container Disposal
Major problems exist in the disposal of pesticides
and pesticide containers. These are: the disposal of
excess quantities of mixed pesticides, disposal of
rinsates, the disposal of unwanted quantities of
obsolete, deteriorated or unwanted pesticides, and
the disposal of containers.
Excess mixed pesticides can be used only for a
use which is approved on the pesticide's label. The
best solution to this problem is to not mix more
than needed. However, there are times when the
spray job is complete and a quantity of spray re-
mains in the tank. If it can't be saved until the
next time it is needed, what can be done? The
best solution is to find another field, lawn or
garden where the material can be applied, where it
is needed and where the use is in accordance with
label instructions. Another solution would be to
spray the material on another area where no dam-
age can be done and the application is in accor-
dance with the label.
What should not be done? Don't go back into a
sprayed area and spray on a second application.
This could prove toxic to the crop and/or cause
problems with excess residue on the harvested prod-
uct. Do not dump the excess; the pesticide could
end up in surface water as a result of run-off, or it
could end up in ground water as a result of per-
colation through the soil. Do not dump the excess
into a drain; it could cause septic tank or sewage
To prevent the problem of excess pesticides, don't
purchase more than will be used. This is the best
and easiest solution. Disposal of old, out-dated and
unneeded pesticides is a major problem and there is
no simple solution. If possible, use the product for
the purpose it was purchased. If you can't, maybe a
neighbor, friend or other business can. However, if
a use cannot be found or if the product has deteri-
orated or has been banned, what are the alterna-
1. Contact the manufacturer or the marketer of
the product. They may have a program
designed for taking these products off users
2. Contact your county's Cooperative Extension
Service. They may be able to provide in-
formation on proper disposal of your pes-
3. Contact the Department of Environmental
Regulation (1-800-342-0184) for a solution to
your problem. This agency has the respon-
sibility for the proper disposal of hazardous
wastes in Florida.
WITH EXCESS PESTICIDES DO NOT:
1. Attempt to burn the product.
2. Bury the product.
3. Dispose of the product in the garbage.
4. Dump it down a drain.
Florida's water supply is highly susceptible to
contamination. Improper disposal of pesticides by
only a few individuals or businesses could result in
serious, persistent and costly consequences.
Most pesticide containers are hazardous waste
products, just like pesticides, unless they are pro-
perly handled. Always follow label instructions on
the proper disposal of the container.
Empty pesticide containers should be handled with
the same care as full containers. The same safety
precautions should be followed when working with
these as mixers and loaders follow. Wear protective
equipment, avoid contact, inhalation or ingestion of
any of the materials, avoid eating, drinking and
smoking, and practice all aspects of personal hy-
Proper decontamination procedures of most empty
pesticide containers can change them from hazar-
dous waste products to solid waste products. Dis-
posal of solid waste products are much less compli-
cated. There are a few acutely toxic pesticides,
however, which come in containers which are
difficult to decontaminate. Follow the disposal
procedures on the label of these pesticides care-
Pesticide containers should be properly decon-
taminated immediately after they are emptied or,
certainly, before the end of the day. Both treated
and untreated empty pesticide containers should be
secured. Pesticide containers should never be used
for any other purpose.
There are several types of pesticide containers,
including combustible bags and boxes (with or with-
out plastic liners) as well as metal, glass and plastic
containers. Combustible bags and boxes should first
be emptied -- by shaking -- as completely as pos-
sible. If these containers have a plastic liner they
can be triple-rinsed or cleaned by an alternative
method called jet-rinsing which has been scientifi-
cally shown to be equivalent to triple-rinsing.
Paper bags and boxes without plastic liners, or with
plastic liners that you have properly rinsed, can
now be considered solid wastes, not hazardous
wastes, and may be disposed of by burning, burying
or disposal at a sanitary landfill. Florida has strict
regulations on open burning: Check with local
authorities before burning any empty pesticide con-
tainers. If the local authorities permit burning,
State regulations still must be followed. Waste
pesticide containers may be burned in open fields by
the owner of the crops, the owner's authorized
employee or caretaker, or by commercial pesticide
applicators hired by the owner or caretaker. Open
burning is subject to all of the following conditions:
1. Plastic containers (liners) must be the original
container provided by the pesticide manufac-
turer or formulator as end-user conveyance for
the specified product, not reused containers
designed for other products.
2. Containers must bear label instructions stating
that small quantities of the containers may be
burned in open fields by the user of the
pesticide when such open burning is permitted
by State and local regulations.
3. The quantity of containers to be burned each
day per parcel treated, shall not exceed the
amount accumulated during one day's use of
pesticide. No more than 500 pounds of
pesticide containers shall be burned per day
at any specific location. If more than one
fire is to be set in any area, each specific
burning location shall be at least 1,000 yards
from each other location at which burning
will occur concurrently.
4. Containers which are to be disposed of by
open burning shall be completely empty and
free of residual material pursuant to the
(a) Plastic containers, including inner liners,
shall be triple-rinsed with the same kind
of solvent used to dilute the spray mix-
ture in the field. The rinse liquids from
the containers shall be added to the
spray mixture in the field.
(b) Paper containers shall be emptied by a
final shaking and tapping of the sides and
bottom to remove clinging particles. All
loosened particles shall be added to the
spray mixture for application in the field.
5. The open burning shall meet the following
(a) The open burning does not produce
smoke, soot, odors, visible emissions,
heat, flame, radiation, or other conditions
to such a degree as to create a nuisance.
(b) The open burning is 200 feet or more
away from any farm workers or occupied
buildings and is 100 feet or more away
from any public road.
(c) The fire is ignited after 9:00 A.M. and is
extinguished one hour before sunset of
the same day.
(d) The person responsible for the burning is
in attendance at an upwind location from
the fire for the entire period of the burn
(until all flame and smoke have dissipated).
(e) The open burning is not prohibited by
any local, county, municipal, or other
governmental rule, regulation, law, or
(f) Prior authorization is obtained from the
Division of Forestry, unless the open
burning is enclosed in a noncombustible
container or ground excavation covered
by a metal grill.
The metal, glass and plastic containers should be
triple- or jet-rinsed, with the exception of aerosol
cans. The triple-rinse procedure is illustrated in
the following diagram.
FOLLOW THIS RINSE AND DRAIN PROCEDURE FOR PESTICIDE
Add a measured amount
of rinse water
(or other dilutent)
Empty container into so container is 1/5 to 1/4
spray tank. Then drain full. For example, one
in vertical position quart in a one-gallon
for 30 seconds. container.
Rinse container Crush pesticide
Rinse container container immediately.
thoroughly, pour into Sell as scrap for
tank, and drain 30 sec. recycling or bury.
Repeat three times. Do not reuse.
before final drain.
Several proven closed-system, "jet-rinse" devices
are marketed, which spray water into a pesticide
container under pressure and transfer the rinse
into the spray tank. These are adequate if the
directions for use are followed.
After triple-rinsing or jet-rinsing, replace and
tighten the closures on 30-and 55-gallon drums
which are to be returned to the manufacturer or to
a drum recycling company. Do not reuse these
drums for any other purpose. They should be kept
in secure storage until shipment.
Other metal containers and glass and plastic con-
tainers should be punctured or crushed after they
are triple-rinsed, to prevent reuse. These con-
tainers are now solid waste and can be transported
to a State-approved sanitary landfill. The sanitary
landfill may require you to complete an indemnifica-
tion agreement to verify that the containers have
been triple- or jet-rinsed. Do not attempt to
triple-rinse or puncture empty aerosol cans. They
should be buried or disposed of at a sanitary
Empty pesticide containers may be buried on the
property where used. They are not to be trans-
ported to another property for burial unless it is a
state-approved sanitary landfill. Farmers can bury
triple-rinsed containers on their own property.
They should be buried a minimum of 18 inches
deep, but well above the ground water table, never
in wetlands or sinkholes. Permission should be ob-
tained from the landowner before burying containers
on rented property. Non-farmers who bury empty
pesticide containers on their own property must
notify their local Department of Environmental
Regulation of such burial.
One final problem exists. All the mixed pesticides
and pesticide containers have been disposed of
properly. Now what do you do with the wash water
from the final cleaning of the sprayer tank, boom
and nozzles and from washing down of the external
surfaces of the sprayer and personal protective
equipment? Do not allow this rinse water to con-
taminate the soil or enter a water supply. The best
solution is to wash down the equipment, capture the
rinse water and place this rinse water into the
spray tank. Next, refill the spray tank with water,
(this mix will have an extremely low concentration
of pesticide material) and spray this material onto
an area for which the pesticide is labeled, such as
in the field just sprayed.
Research is presently being conducted into the
feasibility of using pesticide degradation and/or
evaporation systems for pesticide rinse waters, but
the effectiveness of these methods is still under
Accidental spills can happen in transport, in stor-
age or in the mixing, loading or application ac-
tivities. Many labels describe what actions should
be taken should a spill occur; if the label contains
such directions, follow them.
The following are practices to handle with all
spills: Secure the accident scene. Keep people and
animals away. Equip the clean-up personnel with
protective equipment. Keep the spill from spread-
ing. Control the spill by banking with soil, or by
absorbing the liquid. Never hose down a contami-
nated area. Notify the local police or fire depart-
ment of serious spills immediately, particularly if
the spill is in a public or populated area.
If the spill is liquid, activated charcoal, absorp-
tive clay, vermiculite or sawdust should be used to
soak up all the material. Sufficient absorbent mat-
erial should be used to soak up the liquid. The
material should then be swept up and/or shoveled
into a leakproof drum. Saturated soil should also
be placed into drums.
It may be necessary to neutralize the area.
Again, check the label. Hydrated lime, lye, am-
monia, sodium hypochlorite and detergents are fre-
Supplies of absorbent and neutralizing materials
should be available in the storage area at all times,
along with the tools and supplies necessary for a
The contaminated materials may be hazardous
wastes. In many cases they are not usable and
must be shipped to an incinerator or sanitary land-
fill approved for disposal of hazardous wastes. This
type of disposal is costly; therefore, it is important
to follow all safety precautions to prevent spills.
When there is a significant spill or release of
pesticides, it is recommended that the supplier of
the pesticide be notified. The label normally has an
800 number to call; also notify CHEMTREC (1-800-
424-9300) and the Florida Department of Environ-
mental Regulation (1-800-488-1320).
Pesticides are a necessary and integral element of
modern agriculture. Appropriate use of them bene-
fits all segments of society. But pesticides can be
dangerous if they are handled inappropriately or
applied indiscriminately. Pesticide applicators have
a major responsibility to assure that pesticides are
handled and applied safely.
This publication was produced at a cost of $2,896.80, or 22.2 cents per copy, to inform pesticide users of the
safe purchase, transportation, storage, mixing, loading, application and disposal of pesticide materials and
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, K.R. Tefertiller,
director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the May 8 and
June 30,1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institu-
tions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin. Single copies of Extension publications (excluding 4-H I ... .
and Ybuth publications) are available free to Florida residents from County Extension Offices. Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state
purchasers is available from C.M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 82611. Before publicizing
this publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability.