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Pesticide user habits: public purchasing, use, storage and disposal of pesticides - PS2012

Pesticides are widely used by members of the public, with around 6-7 million people using products to protect plants in their gardens. The total quantity of plant protection products used by the public, while still small in relation to farm use, represents about 16% of the total amount used in the UK. Also, while products licensed for domestic use are much lower risk than professional products, their use by large numbers of untrained individuals raises potential health and safety and environmental concerns. For example, pesticides continue to reach rivers and streams in the UK at levels over the prescribed standards.

The European Commission has recently published proposals for a Directive for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides, including a range of measures designed to reduce the risk pesticides can pose both to the public and environment, eg ensuring that the public only have access to products specifically authorized for non-professional use; requiring distributors to give advice promoting sustainable use (hazard, risk, safe storage, handling, application and disposal); special measures to avoid dangerous handling of pesticides. It is likely that this Directive will require member states to ensure that any legislation helps to minimise use whilst enabling safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides in the amateur sector.

The Pesticide Safety Directorate is working with other stakeholders through the Amateur Use Action Plan Implementation Group to encourage best practice in use and storage, and to ensure the safe disposal of unused products and empty containers. One of the objectives of the group is to identify key research and information needs, and a need to expand the knowledge base regarding public purchasing, use, storage and disposal of pesticides has been identified.

This will be undertaken through a survey of domestic gardeners at six garden centre locations around the UK, with around 1,110 repondents. The subjects covered in the survey will include respondents’ attitudes to gardening and age brackett; different types and numbers of pesticides purchased; main location(s) of purchases; reading of instructions and other channels through which information on pesticide use is accessed; type of product used (ready-to-use or concentrated); method of application; location and duration of storage; disposal of empty pesticide containers and pesticides.

The project will identify the extent of potentially unsafe or environmentally damaging pesticide user habits and support ongoing work on the part of the Amateur Action Plan Implementation Group, particularly the development of communications resources and indicators.
1. Development of a questionnaire in consultation with members of the Amateur Action Plan Implementation Group.
2. Implementation of the survey in six garden centre locations in the UK.
3. Analysis and reporting of findings.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Pesticide user habits: public purchasing, use, storage and disposal of pesticides   (617k)
• Executive Summary : Pesticide user habits: public purchasing, use, storage and disposal of pesticides   (202k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2007

Cost: £16,888
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Resources Futures
Pest and Weed Control              
Pesticide use              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety