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Members of the General Public

Issues on This Page

This page provides information on pesticide issues which may be of interest to the General Public.

The subjects covered are (with links to the relevant part of this page):

What are Pesticides ?

'Pesticide' is a broad term, covering a range of products that are used to control pests. The slug pellets, insecticides and weed killers that you may use in your everyday life are all pesticides. Pesticides which are used to protect plants are called Plant Protection Products. Pesticides you may have heard of include:

Approval of Pesticides

Strict regulations govern the sale and use of pesticides in the UK.

All pesticides must undergo a rigorous approval and authorisation process which results in an authorisation that:

Organisations applying for an approval and authorisation have to demonstrate, with scientific data, to the satisfaction of independent experts, that the product poses no unacceptable risks to human health, wildlife or the environment. This includes pesticides that are used on organic food.

Use of Pesticides

If used correctly, authorised pesticides should not pose a risk to the health of people.

By law, all users of professional pesticides must be adequately trained  and must follow the product label. The product label provides appropriate guidance for use of amateur (non-professional) pesticides in the home and garden (See Further information on using pesticides in the home and garden).

Users must keep the pesticide to the area they are treating. For example, they must not let pesticide spray drift on to property belonging to other people.

When using pesticides, users must know how to reduce spray drift and take all reasonable precautions to do so. These include:

The Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products, also known as the PPP Code, gives advice to farmers and other growers on using pesticides:

Reporting an incident involving pesticides

If you, your family, wildlife, or the environment have been affected by exposure to pesticides, you are strongly advised to report it. Such incidents are taken very seriously but they need to be reported as soon as possible after the incident for an effective investigation to be undertaken.

The information obtained from these schemes alerts the Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD ) to any issues as they arise and could result in a reassessment of pesticide product authorisation. Evidence obtained is also used to enforce legislation on the responsible use of these chemicals.

Link to detailed information on how to report an incident

An Introduction to Pesticides and Food Safety

When approving and authorising pesticides our purpose is to protect the health of consumers, users and the environment.

Updated 2016-12-01