Nevada’s farmers, ranchers, other pesticide applicators and pesticide distributors use and transport a variety of pesticides. Many have received applicator training and are aware of the general hazards of these agricultural chemicals. Potential hazards exist when pesticides and other chemicals are transported, even in small amounts. Consider these associated risks:
The active ingredients of pesticides are toxic, especially in their concentrated form. Most are not flammable, but the solvents used in their formulation are. Liquid pesticide emulsions or oil solutions (xylene, kerosene, or other organic solvents) present a great fire hazard and should be transported as toxic, flammable liquids. Many liquid pesticides are stored in glass containers or metal cans or drums. These, and aerosols, present a hazard; they may explode, especially during the sparks and impacts of an accident. Plastic, paper, and cardboard containers may burst upon impact, melt or burn. Their contents may poison occupants of a vehicle or fuel a fire.
The smoke, fumes, vapors, dusts, and liquids produced by pesticides during an accident or fire are toxic; some are extremely toxic. Those who offer first aid or emergency response should be aware when an accident involves pesticides and use caution to avoid the pesticides or they may become a victim. No one should try to extinguish such a fire without proper protective clothing and a self-contained breathing apparatus. All persons in the area of an accident and/or fire should be kept clear and upwind from the site. Any inhabited buildings downwind from a fire should be evacuated. Livestock, pets and other animals should be removed as well. Chemically contaminated runoff water from a fire site can be toxic to plants, animals and microorganisms. It can also be destructive to wastewater treatment operations, contaminate surface waters and pollute groundwater, drinking and irrigation supplies. Such runoff can leave toxic residues in soils and sediments that can persist for years. If there is runoff from an accident or fire, it must be contained and recovered when possible.
Uncontaminated ammonium nitrate fertilizer (NH4 NO3) is not a fire hazard when properly shipped. However, when contaminated by some pesticides or other products containing fats, oils, acids, finely divided metals, or sulfur, it becomes highly flammable and explosive. Large amounts of oxygen are given off when this fertilizer burns thus increasing the fire’s intensity. Ammonium nitrate fertilizer should not be shipped with pesticides; however, emergency personnel and firefighters should anticipate its presence.
The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (CHEMTREC) provides emergency information on chemicals and procedures for spills, fires, leaks, or exposures involving chemicals. CHEMTREC is a voluntary program operated by member companies. Assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their nationwide emergency telephone number is (800) 424-9300. This number should be posted or available in all vehicles transporting chemicals and the driver of a pesticide carrier should keep it in his wallet.
If an accident occurs or a fire starts and cannot be safely extinguished within a few seconds:
To protect yourself follow these personal precautions. Encourage others to do the same:
Properly clean up after a pesticide-related accident. Dispose of all debris and damaged pesticides following these procedures:
In the case of an accident, the carrier is responsible for completing an incident/accident report. This report should include the following information:
Damaged pesticides are considered hazardous wastes. The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Protection regulates the disposal of hazardous wastes in Nevada. The owner of damaged pesticides, debris and contaminated waste waters is responsible for their proper disposal and must comply with state laws regarding disposal of hazardous wastes. State law requires that a third party, an environmental manager certified by the state of Nevada, conduct the clean up and waste disposal. The Division can also provide guidance in the proper removal and cleanup of contaminated debris, equipment and soils. Accordingly, the owner should secure approval from the Division of Environmental Protection (775) 687-4670) prior to clean up and disposal.
The Transportation Safety Act of 1974 authorized the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to declare, issue and enforce hazardous materials regulations for all modes of transportation. These regulations, contained in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), cover safety aspects of transporting hazardous materials including the packing, repacking, handling, describing, labeling, marking, placarding and routing of such materials.
Certain hazardous materials transported in small quantities as part of business are known as “materials of trade” (MOT) and are subject to less regulation because of their lesser hazard. MOT’s are hazardous materials that are carried by motor vehicles to directly support a principal business such as lawn care and pest control. The rules that apply to MOT’s are found in the 49 CFR part 173.6 and require operators to have a general knowledge of MOT regulations, the quantity limitations that apply, and packaging, marking and labeling requirements.
In addition to this, registration is required by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles if you transport: a. any hazardous materials (or hazardous waste) that requires placarding or, b. more than one liter of a “material extremely toxic by inhalation.” Hazardous material training is required as well. If you are a farmer or rancher who transports hazardous materials in direct support of your farming activities, you are exempt from the registration and training requirements.
When engaged in commerce and transportation of hazardous materials, all “for hire” carriers and all “private” carriers are subject to DOT hazardous material regulations. The following checklist is only a guide to aid carriers of hazardous materials in complying with DOT regulations. It does not contain or refer to all DOT requirements for transporting hazardous materials; it is your responsibility to become familiar with these rules.
Some exceptions to these regulations are provided for agricultural and licensed applicator operations. For example, a commercial pest control operator can transport a diluted mixture of chlorpyrifos not exceeding 2% concentration in a tank having a capacity of up to 400 gallons and be exempt from the hazardous materials regulation (HMR). Check with your supplier, DOT or NDOT for exact procedures and regulations with regard to handling and shipping specific pesticides. Also, the state of Nevada adapted the Universal Waste Rule relaxing EPA regulations for the disposal of waste pesticides. Universal waste rules allow pesticide users to store and transport most waste products (except those that are poisonous by inhalation) to a collection event that is sponsored by Nevada Department of Agriculture. Universal waste does not require a hazardous waste manifest; therefore, it is not considered hazardous waste under DOT regulations (40 CFR Ch. 1 part 273.52).
In general, certified and licensed applicators, their workers and others transporting small quantities of pesticides should follow the precautions outlined for commercial carriers. Pesticides are toxic, may be flammable and in an accident—even a simple spill or rupture—they pose a threat to those using the vehicle carrying the pesticide. This includes risks to the environment and to those who may use the vehicle in the future unless it is properly washed. Do the following to reduce the risks associated with transporting pesticides:
Extension's Communication Team
Johnson, W., 2001, Safe and Legal Transportation of Pesticides, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, SP-01-09
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