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 Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) to any issues as they arise and could result in a reassessment of pesticide product authorisations. Evidence obtained is also used to enforce legislation on the responsible use of these chemicals.
Which is the correct enforcing authority for you?
HSE inspectors will normally investigate all pesticide incidents involving ill health where these occur in places such as factories and farms (the first list of premises in the table below). Local Authority (LA) inspectors are responsible for investigating incidents at other places (leisure premises etc, see the second list in the table). The department to contact depends on the type of incident that you wish to report. For incidents involving the Environment you should contact the relevant Environment Agency and for those involving wildlife, livestock or pets you should contact the Wildlife Incidents Investigation Scheme. Contact Details are given along with further information in the table below:
Who should I report the incident to?
|If the incident involves...||and the incident is at...||it should be reported to...||who can be contacted at...|
Central and local government premises
Home Gardens (professional users)
Hospitals and nursing homes
Public Amenities (eg pavements and paths)
Schools & Colleges
|Health & Safety Executive||Report your concern by calling 0300 003 1647 during office hours – 8:30 am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, Thursday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and a call handler will complete the form for you.
Further guidance on reporting a concern is available on the HSE website.
|People||Home Gardens (amateur users)
Museums (privately owned)
Nurseries and playgroups
|Local Authority (details in your local telephone directory or on-line)||Details can be found in your Local Telephone Directory under 'Environmental Health' or on your Council's website, or you can consult the Gov.uk website.|
|Environment||All Locations||Environment Agency (England and Wales)
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
|Wildlife, livestock or pets||All Locations||Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)||0800 321600|
If the Incident involves People
If you feel unwell or are worried about your health, you should seek medical advice. If possible obtain as much information about the incident that took place as this will help your GP or doctor. All health professionals have access to specialised advice and information through the National Poisons Information Service ( NPIS). Once you have decided which enforcing authority is applicable, you can report the incident to the relevant place - see contact details in the table above.
What Information do I need to give to the HSE Helpline ?
Get as much information as you possibly can about the product involved from the product label, the person using the product or the manufacturer.
It is especially important to get the name of the manufacturer, the product name and active ingredient(s), and the registration number (if the product has one). This information can be found on the label and the registration number should have a prefix of 'MAFF or MAPP'. If possible have the actual product label or the product safety data sheet available. It is also important to give details of:
- When, where and how the exposure happened
- How long the exposure lasted
- Whether there were any extreme weather conditions at the time (for example high winds or a very hot or cold day).
If the Incident involves the Environment
If you think that the environment has been polluted then the incident should be reported to the Environment Agency (EA) as they are responsible for preventing the pollution of watercourses. EA inspectors will investigate reported cases of water pollution caused by pesticides and will take the necessary enforcement action. The Environment Agency is also responsible for preventing the contamination of land, and has powers to prosecute anyone deliberately or negligently contaminating land. You can contact the EA on 0800 807060; if contamination happens in Scotland please contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on the same number.
If the Incident involves Wildlife, Livestock or Pets
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) runs the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) which investigates the deaths, not just of wildlife, but also of livestock and some pets, where there is evidence that pesticide poisoning may be involved. If you believe that livestock or pets have been affected or you find the remains of any wildlife that has died in suspicious circumstances please report this to WIIS on Freephone number 0800 321600.
Enforcing Pesticide Use
We have also produced some guidance about the enforcement of pesticides. This includes further information on the areas the different Government Departments are responsible for enforcing.
Once we approve a pesticide there are pesticide monitoring programmes that ensure that pesticides are being used correctly and that pesticide use does not compromise the safety of food, water or affect people's health.