Here are immediate actions to take after a storm when floodwaters or a storage facility could potentially be contaminated with pesticides.
If flooding has occurred in close proximity of pesticide storage, use caution when investigating.
- Do not enter the flooded area until the authorities have cleared the area.
- When entering flooded areas, practice good sanitation, and be sure that everyone is up-to-date on tetanus shots.
- If you know damaged containers are in the building, get help from local authorities. Do not enter the building.
- If you see obvious signs (coloration, odor, floating containers) of pesticide contamination, do not attempt to enter the area without notifying local authorities.
- Inspect the building for water and wind damage, chemical fumes and dangerous animals (snakes, insects, alligators, etc.) before entering.
- Wear appropriate protective clothing, particularly safety boots or waders, gloves, safety glasses and, in some instances, a pesticide-approved respirator to avoid exposure.
- If containers have been washed away or blown out of the building, restrict entry to the affected area to prevent exposure to humans and animals.
- If it is possible to control the spill or restrict the contaminated water, get assistance to clean up the materials to prevent further contamination.
- If possible and feasible, take steps to prevent further release of the pesticides. For example, put smaller, leaking containers into larger containers. Wear protective clothing while performing this task.
If a release of pesticides has occurred, report it to local authorities. You also are required to report the incident to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Pesticides and Environmental Programs at the 24-hour LDAF Emergency Hotline: 1-855-452-5323.
Andrew Thostenson, North Dakota State University and Philip Nixon, University