Regulatory controls over the use of pesticides

Each country or region has their own controls dictating which chemicals can be used within the garden and what they can be used for. Generally speaking, these regulations apply both to companies selling the chemicals and to purchasers – so it might not be legal now to use that can of fungicide you’ve had at the back of the shed for ten years.

Below are listed the regulatory controls for some regions where information is available online. If your local area is not listed here, please contact your local authorities if you have any queries.

European Union

91/414/EEC Plant Protection Products Directive

View a copy of this directive – this includes a full list of approved chemicals

United Kingdom

Chemical Regulations Directive (CRD)

Formerly the Pesticides and Safety Directorate, this organisation controls the use of chemicals, reporting into the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They provide a series of databases which include chemicals approved for garden use and banned chemicals: access the CRD list of databases. Visit the CRD website.

Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR) 1986

Regulations under which pesticides must be approved for use in the UK. COPR forms the process by which new pesticides are approved and existing ones can be prohibitted. Visit the COPR website.

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals (REACH)

Aligned to EU directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC relating to the use of chemicals. Among other things, REACH controls the safety data which must be supplied with each chemical. Visit the REACH website.

United States of America

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The government body which registers or licences pesticides for use in the USA. Individual States retain the ability to add uses to approved chemicals based on special local requirements, but cannot approve new chemicals.

The EPA also controls the labelling and public information provision concerning pesticides. Visit the EPA website.

Visit the EPA website information specifically about pesticides.

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Legislation controlling the use of pesticides. Visit the FIFRA website.


Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)

This government authority manages the registration and regulation of chemicals for agricultural and vetinerary use (which incorporates garden use) throughout Australia. Visit the APVMA website. Information on specific chemicals can be sought through the Public Chemical Registration Information System (PUBCRIS) online.