It’s easy to become captivated by the skillful work--even artistry--of a landscape contractor. However, certain aspects of the job can be overlooked at times; some are dangerous and harmful. For instance, there are 1,800 to 3,000 incidents involving pesticide exposure reported every year. Many are due to the transferring of industrial chemicals; something officials believe, with new technology and standards, will be preventable in the future.
Earlier this year, the federal Worker Protection Standard was revised to place a greater emphasis on reducing pesticide exposures. It details how the use of a closed system of transferring chemicals can eliminate unnecessary exposure, by providing controlled delivery of toxic products without the fear of contamination, over-pouring, spilling or releasing vapors.
“Beyond workers’ compensation issues, there are other potential liabilities, including possible fines, as well as cleanup or remediation costs,” says Kerry Richards, Ph.D., president elect of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators.
Although a number of pump types exist for chemical transfer (rotary, siphon, lever-action, piston and electric), most are not engineered as a sealed, contained system. In addition, these pumps can have seals that leak, wear out quickly, or be difficult to operate, making precise volume control and dispensing somewhat of a chore.
But now there are smaller, more versatile, hand-operated pressure pumps that are engineered to work as a system, which can be either closed or sealed. The pumps allow for the safe transfer of chemicals, including the most aggressive pesticides.
The device is configured to provide precise control over the fluid delivery, from slow (1 ml/oz), up to 4.5 gallons per minute, depending on viscosity. The pumps are safe to use with virtually any container, from two-gallon jugs, to 55-gallon drums.
“The availability of new technology that creates a closed or sealed system is ideal for handling pesticides and other dangerous chemicals, and should become a standard management practice,” Richards said.