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Missoula Valley Water Quality District
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Missoula Valley Water Quality District

Department: Water Quality District
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Water Quality District - Hazardous Waste

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What are they?

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. Pests can be insects, mice and other animals, unwanted plants (weeds) or fungi. Though often considered only insecticides, the term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests. There are more than 1,400 different active pesticide ingredients used in over 45,000 pesticide formulations.

Many household products contain pesticides. Here is a list of common products considered to be pesticides.

What Makes it Hazardous?

By their very nature, most pesticides create some risk of harm to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms. At the same time, pesticides are useful to society because of their ability to control insects, weeds, and other pests.

The environmental and health danger present when a pesticide is used depends upon the length of time the pesticide takes to break down, the substances it breaks down into, its ability to be stored in tissues, and its toxicity to different organisms in the environment. Poisonings from pesticides may be immediate (acute) or long-term from repeated exposure (chronic), causing mild burns or eventual cancer. Exposure can occur through skin absorption, inhalation, or ingestion. Pesticides may be unknowingly ingested by eating food which had pesticides applied or by eating food with hands contaminated with pesticides.

Safety Tips

Some of the more toxic pesticides have been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA governs labeling and registration of pesticides. For more detailed information the dangers or types of pesticides, the list of banned pesticides, how to use, transport and much more, contact the Environmental Protection Agency or the Montana Department of Agriculture.

Disposal Options



The Residential Disposal Guide is provided by the Missoula Valley Water Quality District as a public service and is not an endorsement of specific businesses, services or products. Any omissions or inaccuracies are unintentional. Please contact us with corrections or additions. Call businesses or agencies to confirm hours, locations and charges for services, if any. For information on disposal of items not listed, email or call the Water Quality District at 406-258-4890, M - F, 8 am to 5 pm.

Much of the information provided is from the Washington County, MN, Dept. of Public Health and Environment website.

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