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Pesticide Pollution

Summary: As with all hazardous waste products, special care should be taken when disposing of pesticides. Find out some helpful hints about how to dispose of pesticides without creating pesticide pollution.

Everyone is guilty of negatively impacting the environment in one way or another. The power used to operate your computer comes from somewhere, and regardless of the energy source, some impact is made on the environment. The environmental effects of nuclear, coal, and even hydroelectric power are unavoidable, yet everyone wishes that we could find ways of maintaining a lifestyle without damaging the environment.

To put it bluntly, pesticides can be harmful to the environment. Their very purpose is to kill. Certain toxins can have long lasting effects if introduced into the soil or water supply. On the positive side, pesticides keep our crops and our homes free of pests. We would not want to live in a world where ants had free reign to patrol our countertops for crumbs, or where termites were allowed to devour the lumber frames of our homes. To be sure, there are safety concerns regarding the use of pesticides in or around the house, but an unchecked cockroach infestation can pose serious health risks, too!

The Environmental Protection Agency says that the best way to dispose of small amounts of pesticides is to use them in accordance with label directions. This does not mean you should apply more pesticides than you need, it just means that you should use all of the pesticide in a container before throwing the container away. Do not pour pesticides down the sink, or wash out empty containers and let the water run down the drain. This can contaminate the local water supply or make it very difficult for the water treatment plant in your area to clean the water. Do not pour pesticides in the sink or toilet. You should also not pour excess pesticides on the ground because then they can seep directly into the groundwater.

The proper way to dispose of a pesticide container used to store wettable powders would be to rinse out the container and use the rinse water as a diluted pesticide spray. You need to triple rinse the container, preventing any water from running down the drain. Each rinse should be collected into the spray tank for use as the pesticide label directs. After you triple rinse the container you should check the label to see if the container is safe to throw in the garbage. Use up all the pesticides in the spray equipment. Do not pour the leftover materials down drains or into storm drains.

For pressurized containers such as pesticide aerosol sprays it is recommended to use it all up. Do not puncture the container or incinerate it. You can usually place empty aerosol containers in the trash, but check the label first.

To dispose of large amounts of unused or unwanted pesticides look up the hazardous waste disposal center near you. Many cities have hazardous waste pick up days that are listed in the local newspaper.

If you have more questions about disposing of hazardous waste, an EPA contact number is listed below. Also listed are the National Poison Control Center's telephone number and a link to a website that lists all the hazardous waste disposal centers across the country. Phone numbers are toll free.

Find the Waste Disposal Center Near You:

National Poison Center Phone Number:

Question for the Environmental Protection Agency? Call:

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