Maggie Scarbrough

Before you begin, always choose a well-lit and well-ventilated area. Your mixing location should also be far from any people, animals, food or other pesticides that could be contaminated.


Also before mixing, ensure that you have set up your mixing area to prevent contaminating water sources. Keep any pipe or hose you may use above the level of the pesticide mixture to keep them from contamination if there is any back siphoning. When you have to pump water into a tank for mixing, use an anti-siphoning device, backflow preventer, or a check valve. Law may sometimes require this.


Do not mix or load where spills or leaks could overflow into a water source. If you have to use water from any water system, including ponds, streams, wells or faucets, extra safety measures are essential. Mixing equipment has to be kept where spills and leaks will not reach the water supply. If you know you will be mixing at the site often, install a collection tray, grade the soil, or install dikes.


Before you even open a pesticide container, be sure you have on the appropriate amount of protective equipment. It is required by law that you wear what a pesticide label instructs you to wear. Many times you will want to wear more protective gear than what is recommended.


Aprons are excellent protective gear if you may be splashed during handling activities. They are effective if you will be leaning on or against any mixing containers. Choose aprons made of nitrile, butyl, or foil-laminated materials. Aprons can keep pesticides off the front of your clothing, are cooler than chemical-resistant suits, and are easily removed.


Face shields are appropriate when splashing of liquid pesticides is possible or when dry formulations could send dust into your face and mouth. When you choose a respirator, safety goggles are more appropriate.


A dust/mist filtering respirator is necessary when working for long periods with dusts that can waft easily. Be sure to use those approved by NIOSH/MSHA and use them with goggles to protect your eyes.


A vapor-removing respirator (approved by NIOSH/MSHA) is needed with any chemicals that produce vapors harmful to your nose, throat, and mouth.


Always open cardboard containers with a sharp knife that you only use for this purpose. Clean it each time. Open containers only on a level, stable surface and prevent the container from tipping or leaning to avoid spills.


If you have to pour a pesticide, keep the containers below face level to avoid splashes into your eyes or mouth. When working outside, particularly with dusts, stay out of strong currents. For siphoning, never start the siphon with your mouth.


Avoid spills by always closing pesticide containers tightly after each use, even if you will use it again soon. While filling, never leave a tank unattended. If you do spill pesticide, stop what you are doing and remove contaminated clothing and protective equipment. Wash yourself with mild detergent and water quickly. Only clean the spill after you are clean and have on clean protective equipment.

Once containers have been thoroughly rinsed, they can be disposed of as nonhazardous waste. Be sure to mark them as such. All containers that can be rinsed should be pressure rinsed or triple rinsed. The best liquid for this is the diluent used according to the label.

Some pesticide equipment allows you to pressure rinse the container by inserting high-pressure nozzles into the container and rotating it to rinse for 30 seconds or more. It will also allow you to drain any remaining mix into the mix tank. Some systems work by puncturing the container to insert the hose while others just use the container’s opening.