The World Bank

Pesticides Manufacturing Industry - Pollution Prevention Guidelines


Courtesy of Courtesy of The World Bank


Pollution Prevention Guidelines to provide technical advice and guidance to staff and consultants involved in pollution-related projects. The guidelines represent state-of-the-art thinking on how to reduce pollution emissions from the production process. In many cases, the guidelines provide numerical targets for reducing pollution, as well as maximum emissions levels that are normally achievable through a combination of cleaner production and end-of-pipe treatment. The guidelines are designed to protect human health; reduce mass loadings to the environment; draw on commercially proven technologies; be cost-effective; follow current regulatory trends; and promote good industrial practices, which offer greater productivity and increased energy efficiency.

Table of Contents

  • Industry Description and Practices
  • Waste Characteristics
  • Pollution Prevention and Control
  • Target Pollution Loads
  • Treatment Technologies
  • Emissions Guidelines
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Key Issues
  • Sources

Industry Description and Practices

This document deals with the synthesis of the active ingredients used in pesticide formulations. The formulation of pesticides from the active ingredients is covered in a separate document.
The major chemical groups manufactured include:

  • Carbamates and dithiocarbamates (carbofuran, carbaryl, ziram, and benthiocarb)
  • Chlorophenoxy compounds (2,4-D, 2,4,5-T, and silvex)
  • Organochlorines (dicofol and endosulfan)
  • Organophosphorus compounds (malathion, dimethoate, phorate, and parathion methyl)
  • Nitro compounds (trifluralin)
  • Miscellaneous compounds such as biopesticides (for example, Bacillus thuringiensis and pherhormones), heterocycles (for example, atrazine), pyrethroids (for example, cypermethrin), and urea derivatives (for example, diuron).

Special attention must be given to restricted substances. Production proposals for the following pesticides should be carefully evaluated: hexachlorobenzene, toxaphene, chlordane, aldrin, DDT, mirex, dieldrin, endrin, and heptachlor. (See the UN-ECE list of restricted substances and the international agreements on pesticides considered acceptable for manufacturing and use, for example, WHO 1996.)
The principal manufacturing steps are (a) preparation of process intermediates; (b) introduction of functional groups; (c) coupling and esterification; (d) separation processes, such as washing and stripping; and (e) purification of the final product. Each of these steps may generate air emissions, liquid effluents, and solid wastes.

Waste Characteristics

The principal air pollutants are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM). Liquid effluents resulting from equipment cleaning after batch operation contain toxic organics and pesticide residues. Cooling waters are normally recirculated. Wastewater concentrations are: chemical oxygen demand (COD), 13,000 milligrams per liter (mg/l), with a range of 0.4–73, 000 mg/l; oil and grease, 800 mg/l, (with a range of 1–13,000 mg/l; total suspended solids, 2,800 mg/l, with a range of 4–43,000 mg/l. Major solid wastes of concern include process and effluent treatment sludges, spent catalysts, and container residues. Approximately 200 kilograms (kg) of waste is generated per metric ton of active ingredient manufactured.

Pollution Prevention and Control

Every effort should be made to replace highly toxic and persistent ingredients with degradable and less toxic ones. Recommended pollution prevention measures are as follows:

  • Meter and control the quantities of active ingredients to minimize wastage.
  • Reuse by-products from the process as raw materials or as raw material substitutes in other processes.
  • Use automated filling to minimize spillage.
  • Use “closed” feed systems for batch reactors.
  • Use nitrogen blanketing where appropriate on pumps, storage tanks, and other equipment to minimize the release of toxic organics.
  • Give preference to nonhalogenated and nonaromatic solvents where feasible.
  • Use high-pressure hoses for equipment cleaning to reduce wastewater.
  • Use equipment washdown waters and other process waters (such as leakages from pump seals) as makeup solutions for subsequent batches.
  • Use dedicated dust collectors to recycle recovered materials.
  • Vent equipment through a recovery system.
  • Maintain losses from vacuum pumps (such as water ring and dry) at low levels.
  • Return toxic materials packaging to the supplier for reuse or incinerate/destroy in an environmentally acceptable manner.
  • Minimize storage time of off-specification products through regular reprocessing.
  • Find productive uses for off-specification products to avoid disposal problems.
  • Minimize raw material and product inventory to avoid degradation and wastage that could lead to the formation of inactive but toxic isomers or by-products.
  • Label and store toxic and hazardous materials in secure, bunded areas.

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