Pesticide Stores

Choice of site

   The site for a new pesticide store should not be close to dwellings or to hospitals, schools, shops, food markets, animal feed depots and general stores (Figure 1).

FIGURE 1 - The pesticide store should be located far from human dwellings

 It should be faraway from water courses, wells and other supplies of water for domestic and stock animal use because these could be contaminated by spillage and leaks from the store (Figure 2).

FIGURE 2 - The pesticide store should be sited far from rivers and bodies of water, to prevent chemical contamination
from entering and poisoning the water

   The site should not be in an area with high groundwater levels, which may be subject to seasonal flooding (Figure 3), nor should it be adjacent to a seasonal flood course.

FIGURE 3 - The pesticide store should not be sited in an area subject to flooding,
especially during seasonal rains

   There should be easy access for pesticide delivery vehicles. Ideally, there should be access on at least three sides of the building for fire-fighting vehicles and equipment in case of emergency (Figure 4).

FIGURE 4 - The pesticide store should have three sides free to allow access to
fire-fighting equipment in an emergency

Design and structure of buildings

General principles

   The store should be large enough to accommodate the quantities of pesticides planned for storage. A further 15 percent capacity should be included to allow for stock movement and possible future needs, in addition to space for dispensing and repacking insecticides and for empty containers. It should also be well ventilated, to prevent the buildup of pesticide vapour and to stop temperatures getting too high, especially in tropical and subtropical countries with a normally high daytime air temperature. The floors should be of smooth, impermeable concrete to avoid absorption of spillages and to allow easy cleaning (Figure 5).

FIGURE 5 - Diagram of a pesticide store showing building features,
with storekeeper's office separate from the store (not to scale)


   The layout (Figure 6) should allow for:

FIGURE 6 - Store layout to show arrangement of facilities (not to scale)

The storekeeper's office should be separate from the storage area. Washing facilities should be provided, with alternative arrangements if there is no piped water supply. Protective clothing should be stored separately from pesticides.
   Herbicides should not be stored together with insecticides or other pesticides such as rodenticides and fungicides (Figure 7) so that those that are not poisonous to humans are not contaminated by hazardous chemicals.

FIGURE 7 - Store dividing wall separating different types of pesticides
and acting as an internal fire-break


   Ideally, the roof should be of light material, such as asbestos substitute or glass fibre, which collapses in the event of fire to allow smoke and fumes to get out and to avoid explosions. The material should not be so flimsy, however, that it is blown away during severe seasonal storms or cyclones.
   The store walls should have outside sills that direct spilled chemicals into a sump.
   Internal walls should be smooth and free from cracks and ledges to allow easy cleaning.
   Windows should not be built if there are alternative means of ventilation and lighting; otherwise they should be shaded (to prevent sunlight from heating the chemicals and causing them to degrade) and barred against unauthorized entry.
   The store should be well lit with natural or electric lighting (200 lux) to permit container labels to be read easily.
   As sparks can cause fires, electrical fittings should be mineral insulated or armoured cable should be used with flame/dust-proof fittings.
   The floor should be made of impervious material or of slats over a concrete-lined sump into which chemical spills can drain to be neutralized. The floor area should be slightly raised at the edges to prevent spills from leaking out of the building and floodwater from getting in. Store walls should be set on bunds, lined to a height of 14 cm with impervious material. A bund around the whole area to contain the store contents is desirable as a further precaution to reduce the risk of gross environmental contamination. Store and perimeter fence bunds should be fitted with concrete ramps to allow vehicle access (Figure 8).

FIGURE 8 - Pesticide store with bunding of walls and perimeter fence including ramps

   A static or piped water supply, with soap, should be available for hand and face washing and for decontamination of personnel accidentally splashed by chemicals.
   There should be a concrete-lined exterior sump into which spills and leaks can be directed for neutralization and removal. Contaminated water should not be allowed to enter the main drainage system or water courses, but should be directed by sills into sumps.
   There should be walls between sections to act as fire-breaks (Figure 9).

FIGURE 9 - Fire-break in a pesticide store

   There should be an emergency exit in addition to the entrance doors, preferably at the other end of the store.
   Ventilation is one of the most important requirements within the store as it prevents the buildup of vapours. Toxic vapours may affect the health of store-workers and inflammable vapours are a fire risk. Ventilation also keeps the store as cool as possible. This is important as pesticides deteriorate more slowly and therefore last longer in a cooler environment. Many pesticides are destabilized by high temperatures, which in exceptional cases may even cause explosions.
   The ventilation area should be equivalent to 1/150 of the floor area, or outside doors should be open for at least six hours per week. Exhaust fans should be fitted to large stores, preferably on a time switch. Roof- and floor-level ventilation (gridded to prevent the entry of birds and rats) is required to extract light fumes, hot air and heavy vapours.

Temporary storage

   Temporary storage of pesticides away from a main store may be required during certain operations such as locust control. The basic principles still apply: keep the pesticides secure (fenced-in or locked inside a vehicle); store them indoors or under a roof to avoid direct sunlight exposure; keep them dry, cool and well-ventilated, especially when they are stored in a vehicle which may become hot if left in the sun.


   A notice should be displayed on the outside of the store in the local language(s) with a skull and crossbones sign. The notice should read: "Danger pesticides. Authorized entry only".
Strategically placed signs should be visually obvious and placed on the inside and outside of pesticide stores. These should read: "No smoking: no naked or half-dressed flame".
   There should also be a list of colour codes on display in the store and on containers. Sticky labels for placing on metal and plastic containers are available. The lists in Figure 10 are included with GIFAP (1988a).

Hazard Label

Hazard Class

Method of storage

2 (In)flammable gas (red backgroud)

Segregate; explosion-proof equipment or open-air storage needed

3 (In)flammable liquids; flashpoint 55°C or lower (red background)

(3 Combustible liquids; flashpoint over 55°C)

Not exceed 250 tonnes unless fire-protected

Recommended not to exceed 250 tonnes

4.1 (In)flammable solids (vertical red and white background)

Recommended not to exceed 250 tonnes

4.2 Spontaneously combustible (lower half red, upper half white)

Segregate, open-air storage recommended

4.3 Dangerous when wet (blue background)

Segregate; no sprinkler! protect from rain

5 Oxidizing substances (yellow background)

Separate from flammables or combustibles

6.1 Poisonous substances (white background)

Legal requirements may demand segregation if highly toxic (LD50 oral < 25 mg/kg)

8 Corrosives (white and black background)

Separate from pesticides packed in metal

(white background)

Various dangerous substances


(white and black background)

No limit; if non-combustible, use as a barrier for separation

FIGURE 10 - Warning signs for display in stores and on containers

Inflammable ans flammable have the same meaning (British and American usage).
Segregation means storing apart in different rooms with a fire-wall as barrier. Separation means storing apart in different parts of the same room.
After GIFAP, 1988