How to Transport, Store and Apply Pesticides Safely to Avoid Injury to Your Family and Pets
Our Pesticide Storage Area
Chemical pesticides are usually a gardener's last choice for getting rid of garden pests (like insects, rodents), but if you are at your wit's end and need to buy some, you will need to know how to safely transport, store and apply them. This article is designed to show you how to handle them safely to avoid accidental injury to yourself and those around you.
While this article deals with garden pests, it would be wise to remember that there are things in your home (household chemicals) that are similar to pesticides and can be very dangerous (bleach, liquid soap, antifreeze). Know which ones are dangerous and store them properly.
How to Transport Pesticides Safely
- If you buy your pesticides in a supermarket, by all means make sure they are bagged separately from your groceries.
- You can protect the pesticide bottles by wrapping them in paper, which will reduce the chance that they might break if they fall over or roll against other bottles.
- Always transport your pesticides in the trunk of your vehicle safely away from people and groceries.
- Secure the containers upright so that they are prevented from falling over or being knocked over.
How to Store Pesticides Safely
- Pesticides should be stored in a locked cabinet that is properly labeled. I have included a photo of the one we have in our garage. It is best that the cabinet is four feet off the ground to keep little ones away, but we don't have any pitter patter of little feet around our house, so ours is on the floor. Choose what is best for you and your family, and remember that your pets are also an important part of your family.
- NEVER put pesticides in any other containers other than the ones in which they came that list ingredients, directions and treatment options in the case of accidental poisoning. Think for a second what could happen if you were to store pesticides in a soft-drink container.
- When you get home with pesticides, grab some transparent tape and tape it over the label so that the label remains readable. Items stored over time tend to have faded, torn labels that might not help when you need the information. Protect the labels.
- NEVER store your pesticides with food or medical supplies.
- Make sure that your pesticide storage area is dry and well-ventilated.
- Don't put away the pesticides and forget them. Check them periodically for leaks, breaks, rust, tears or corrosion. There are suitable places in almost every town to which you would take the damaged pesticide containers (local hazardous waste collection). Don't simply throw them away; they are HAZARDOUS!
How to Apply Pesticides Safely
- If you are not sure what the pest is that is causing the problem, talk to someone who would know (local cooperative extension agency), then double-check the label to verify that the product you have purchased will control the pests that are causing you headaches.
- ALWAYS follow the label and take the proper precautions which are spelled out by the manufacturer. The label on pesticides will always list the sites where you can legally apply the pesticide and what protective clothing must be worn. It will also explain in detail how to mix the pesticide. Follow the directions...ALWAYS!
- It is important to minimize a person's exposure (skin, mouth, eye) so make sure to wear clothing that will minimize that exposure. Some examples are long-sleeve shirts, long pants, goggles and gloves. DON'T WEAR CONTACT LENSES, as they can trap the pesticides and cause eye injury.
- Don't mix any more of the pesticide than you need for the job at hand and mix it outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
- Don't let your children or your pets come into the area where you are mixing pesticides, and keep them out of the area where it has been applied until the spray is dry or the dust has settled.
- Sprayers need to be calibrated so that you are certain to apply the correct amount.
- Don't spray or apply dust pesticides outside on a windy day.
- Pesticides can be transferred from hand to mouth, so do not eat, drink or smoke when using them.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after handling pesticides so that you don't accidentally transfer them to your family, pets, or food.
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