Summary: Pesticide chemical storage requires a cool, dry area out of the reach of children and pets. The following chemical storage guidelines provide good, sound safety precautions to abide by.
Somehow chemicals seem to pile up in the storage areas in a home. You use a product once and then forget about it, so it sits there for years, gathering dust. Don't worry it happens to everyone. Sometimes you buy a product that you don't even need, but keep it around anyway, just in case. At the top of my list for good chemical storage practices I would recommend buying only the amount of pesticide that you would use for that season. Do not stockpile pesticides or buy more than you will use in one year. If you have left over pesticides take precautions to store them safely.
Most information you need to know about chemical storage is written clearly on the pesticide label. The Environmental Protection Agency approves all pesticides for consumer use and there are specific guidelines that ensure that pesticide labels clearly state the hazard level of the pesticide, how the pesticide should be applied, how the pesticide should be safely disposed of and how the material should be stored.
Pesticides should be stored in a cool, dry place, avoiding exposure to sources of heat. The heat can degrade the pesticide causing it to become less effective, whereas heat can ignite flammable pesticides. Do not store pesticides near a furnace, car, outdoor grill, or power lawn mower. Seems obvious, but read a batch of fire reports and you will be amazed how often fires are started by poor storage practices in home garages.
Pesticides should be kept out of the reach of children. This means storing them out of reach, or preferably, in a locked metal cabinet. A cabinet constructed of metal is better than one of wood because spilled pesticides can be absorbed into wood. A locked metal cabinet will diminish health concerns.
Never store pesticides in any other container than the one it came in. A mislabeled container could lead to confusion about the contents. You should take special care never to store pesticides in empty food containers such as coffee cans or soda bottles. This practice is at the top of the list of the causes of accidental poisoning.
Do not store pesticides in an area that is at risk for flooding. If pesticides are exposed to floodwater they can create contaminated water. Floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina created a highly toxic mixture. Poor pesticide storage practices added greatly to the dilemma.
It is a good idea to periodically inspect pesticides stored in the house or garden shed. Pesticide storage stability can be affected if it is exposed to moisture, causing it to degrade, or the labels can degrade, becoming illegible. Very old containers with pesticides can corrode and cause leaking, so do not store pesticides in areas with high humidity. Very old containers of pesticides may have to go to the hazardous waste disposal center in your area.