Since decree no. 2005-989 of 10 August 2005, agropharmaceutical products with eco-toxic properties (“hazardous to the environment, highly toxic or toxic for aquatic organisms”) have come under sections 1172 and 1173 (they previously belonged to section 1155).
Any substance or preparation designed to protect or improve agricultural, vegetable or animal production is considered an agropharmaceutical product, with the exception of food and fertilising products. The biocides used as disinfectants in agricultural activities are therefore considered as agropharmaceutical products.
Like fertilising products, agropharmaceutical products, also called plant protection products or more commonly pesticides, have become and remain key products in the European and international agricultural field.
A large industrial accident on the storage site of the SANDOZ plant near Basle in 1986 dramatically highlighted the high potential risks inherent in the storage of these products, notably with regard to the risk of water pollution. This accident was the trigger for a comprehensive safety approach (resulting in regulatory measures), notably the implementation of extinguishing water retention tanks in the case of products posing risks to the aquatic environment.
Although these products have progressively become safer and numerous high-risk products have been discarded because they were considered “technically outdated” (DTT, lindane, ethyl parathion etc.) or deemed insufficiently biodegradable (atrazine), their use remains intensive. There are still a lot of significant storage areas for agropharmaceutical products (very often stored near fertilisers and other fertilising products in agricultural trade depots) all over the French territory. The types of hazardous phenomenon likely to occur in these depots are fires (leading to thermal effects, the emission of toxic fumes and the production of fire extinguishing water with high pollutant content) and the accidental discharge of products into the environment.
The analysis of experience feedback reveals numerous relatively frequent significant accidents throughout the world, with often considerable and durable ecological consequences on fauna, flora and the surface or underground hydrological network. In this case, storage is particularly prone to chemical risks (water pollution, smoke toxicity), although the aspects relating to the thermal stability of certain products (organophosphorus compounds, dithiocarbamates, sulphur etc.) and storage incompatibility issues should also be closely examined. The domino effect, by propagating the fire from one storage to the next, can also increase the seriousness of an accident.
There are two major depot categories:
Finally, the “logistics” activity can constitute a third category of depots.
Catalogue of plant protection products and their usage of fertilising materials and crop support approved in France (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries).