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Pesticides: The basics

Pesticides, also known as 'plant protection products' (PPP), are used to control pests, weeds and diseases. There are many different types of plant protection product and common examples include: insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, molluscicides, and plant growth regulators.

These products can help ensure that we:

They are also used by amateur gardeners. However, as these chemicals are designed to disrupt life processes, risks can be associated with their use.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) aims to ensure that plant protection products do not harm human health or have unacceptable effects on the environment.

We do this principally by using the law to set strict conditions on the way these products can be used. We also work with other organisations to ensure the risk and impact of using them are understood and controlled appropriately.

The controls cover all parts of the 'life-cycle' of the product:

Two independent Expert Committees and a stakeholder Forum support and advise HSE and Ministers in these areas of work.

We aim to ensure our controls are based on evidence and take account of latest scientific thinking and technical developments. The Research and Development programme which we manage is designed to help us to do this.

Further Information

See this Glossary for explanations of:

Updated 2021-02-01->->->->->