By Christina Curell
It is inevitable that accidents will happen. The key is to minimize effects when they do. An important tool that every farm should have is at least one spill kit. A spill kit is a requirement under the Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices for pesticide utilization.
Spill kits need to be on hand when pesticides are being transported, stored, or applied to fields. Spill kits should remain intact and never disassembled to be used for other purposes. They can be purchased preassembled through various retailers or you can assemble a kit yourself. Remember that every part of the kit should be chemical resistant to the most dangerous pesticide that you may use.
- Plastic storage tote - Conveniently holds and stores spill kit materials in one spot.
- Safety goggles - Protects eyes, one of the most sensitive areas of the human body, from chemical exposure.
- Unlined, chemical-resistant gloves - Be sure these gloves are made out of nitrile to ensure maximum protection against chemicals. Kitchen gloves often used when washing dishes are not chemical-resistant, nor are work gloves made out of leather. Gloves should not be lined to prevent chemicals getting inside the glove and getting trapped in the lining, potentially causing serious injury.
- Broom and dustpan - Can be used to easily sweep up dry spills.
- Garbage bags - For easily handling of leaky or spilled material.
- Absorbent material such as cat litter, oil absorbent, activated charcoal or sawdust - These materials help soak up liquid spills so they can be swept up and properly disposed.
- Emergency telephone numbers - Depending on the type and extent of the spill, you may not be able to deal with the spill safely. Have emergency numbers readily available if needed.
Disposal of the pesticide can be done either at a clean sweep site or it can be spread on labeled fields at agronomic rates. For a list of the clean sweep sites in Michigan visit the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website.
Curell writes from Michigan State University Extension