Pesticides contain active ingredients, which target the pest, and inert ingredients, such as solvents, surfactants, and carriers. Both active and inert ingredients are regulated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as well as by state and local laws, due to environmental and health concerns. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Pesticide Regulation Section is designated as the lead agency for enforcement of the Maryland Pesticide Applicators Law (COMAR 15.05.01). As such, MDA is responsible for:
- Regulating the use, sale, storage, and disposal of pesticides.
- Certifying pesticide applicators.
- Ensuring that pesticides are applied by competent individuals.
- Establishing guidelines for the application of pesticides.
In addition to federal registration as required under FIFRA, all pesticide products distributed, sold, or transported in Maryland must be registered with the MDA’s State Chemist Section. The Maryland Pesticide Registration and Labeling Law requires a distributor of a pesticide product to register every pesticide product each year with the State Chemist Section before that product can be sold or distributed in the state. The Maryland Pesticide Database is a searchable database of all registered pesticides.
In Maryland, pesticide storage areas must meet the following minimum requirements (COMAR15.05.01):
- The storage area must be secured or locked to prevent unauthorized access.
- Pesticides must be stored in a separate building or, at a minimum, must be separated by a physical barrier from living and working areas and from food, feed, fertilizer, seed, and safety equipment.
- A warning sign approved by MDA must be placed on the exterior of the storage area.
- Pesticides must be stored in a dry, ventilated area.
- The pesticide storage area must be kept clean.
- A supply of absorbent material sufficient enough to absorb a spill equivalent to the capacity of the largest container in storage must be kept in the storage area.
- The storage area must contain only pesticide containers that are properly labeled and are free of leaks.
- The storage area must have an appropriate fire extinguisher available.
- Pesticides must be stored in an area located at least 50 feet from any water well or stored in secondary containment approved by MDA.
Detailed descriptions of general regulatory requirements, as well as requirements for storage, transportation, licensing, and record keeping, are provided in:
- Maryland Pesticide Applicator Core Manual. National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation.
- Pesticide Information Leaflet No. 35: Synopsis of the Maryland Pesticide Applicators Law and Regulations. 2012. University of Maryland Extension.
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