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RR957 - The Pesticide Users' Health Study - Survey of pesticide usage

The Pesticide Users Health Study is a cohort of nearly 66,000 commercial pesticide users, certified under the 1986 Control of Pesticide Regulations, who had agreed to participate in HSE’s programme of research into their health. A survey to assess the history of pesticide usage among members of this cohort, and to assess the level of self-reported ill health associated with pesticide exposure, was undertaken in two waves during 2004 and 2006.

The response rate (14%) to the questionnaire was very low; this may be partly attributable to a general decrease in survey response rates and to the fact that the main wave of the survey was undertaken at a particularly busy time of year. Respondents listed nearly 2,500 unique trade names and 677 active ingredients. The most common areas of pesticide usage were amenity weed control and the treatment of cereals. Individuals who were often exposed to pesticide concentrate were four times more likely to report 'ill health' associated with pesticide use than those exposed to diluted products; additionally individuals who had used pesticides in jobs lasting more than 15 years were more likely to report 'ill health' than those working in jobs lasting less than 5 years.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2013-03-08