Concerns about chemicals

Are chemicals safe?

As the regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority's (APVMA) role is to ensure that all agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals registered for use in Australia, are effective and can be used safely.

The full range of risks are considered during the registration process. This includes determining how human exposure can be minimised through instructions for use and safety directions on the label.

The simple rule for people using agvet chemicals is always to follow the label safety and use instructions. If the product says to wear specific protective clothing, such as eye protection, or not for use in food-producing animals, then that is what people must do when using that chemical.

Not all chemicals are the same, the safety and use instructions on every product are designed to protect people from the risk associated with that particular chemical product. This includes the active constituent (ingredient), other substances in the product formulation and the type of product ie spray, powder or liquid.

Chemical reviews

The APVMA can also undertake a review of a chemical if new information raises concerns about the use of a chemical.

If at any time we become aware of new information that demonstrates an imminent and serious risk to human health, the APVMA can suspend or cancel a product registration or permit. We have taken this kind of action in the past.

Reporting an adverse reaction to chemical exposure

If something goes wrong when using an agvet chemical, we encourage you to report it to the APVMA so that we can continue to assure the safety, quality and effectiveness of registered products.

Call 13 11 26 for the Australian Poisons Information Hotline if you think someone has been exposed to any chemical product. Always call 000 for medical emergencies.

Reporting unregistered products or non-compliance

The APVMA recognises the value of information provided by industry and the community and facilitates online and free-call reporting of suspected breaches of the agvet legislation. 

If you come across agvet chemicals you suspect are unregistered or don’t have an APVMA or NRA registration number on the product label, they must not be used in Australia. We encourage people to report unregistered products to the APVMA. We also encourage you to report any suspected non-compliance with the Agvet Code, including but not limited to illegal manufacture, import, supply or sales. The APVMA can take action – and has done so in the past.


If you suspect non-compliance report it immediately to the APVMA.

Reporting illegal use or unsafe use

If you suspect a chemical is being used, handled, transported or stored in a different way to the safety and use directions on the label, we encourage you to report it immediately to your supervisor, the police, Worksafe Australia or your relevant state or territory government agency. This will help keep workplaces and homes safe.

The APVMA regulates agvet products up to and including the point of sale, it does not regulate end-users. The compliance and enforcement policy outlines the APVMA’s responsibilities and powers to manage non-compliance.

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