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29 Sep 2019 < Back

Illegal internet sales of pesticides

Earlier this year the BPCA (British Pest Control Association) and the CPA (Crop Protection Association) announced that they had been in collaboration with eBay to prevent the illegal internet sales of Pesticides. The collaboration was the result of two years work and they have now set up a route to reporting illegal sales directly with eBay.

PCA members can now get involved

Following some good initial success with their BPCA and CPA members, they have agreed to allow PCA members to use their reporting procedure. This includes illegal products, counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers.

How to determine if it is an illegal sale

If you suspect that a pesticide is being sold illegally, firstly determine whether the pesticide is for professional or amateur use only.

Amateur home use – illegal pesticides

If a pesticide is a home garden (amateur) product it will usually say so on somewhere on the label. The following information should be displayed on the pesticide label:

  • Product name
  • MAPP number (herbicides) or HSE number (insecticides)

If these product details are not on the label then we would suggest you avoid the product and report the product using the details further below.

Professional pesticide sprayer use – illegal pesticides

There are a few ways to see if a product is professional. Start with the label stating “operator protection” or “biological use” will indicated that it’s professional use

The best way to check whether a product is professional use or not is to check the product in CRD’s pesticides database using the products name or MAPP number at

It will state if the product is amateur of professional. If the product is being incorrectly listed as amateur use then you should report it.”

Illegal sale of Pesticides on eBay

eBay states the following restrictions:

  • Private sellers are not allowed to sell pesticides (Private sellers are any individuals who sell on eBay who are not registered as a business).
  • Business sellers are not allowed to sell prohibited pesticides.

Examples of prohibited pesticides include;

  • Pesticides that are not authorised by the authorities for sale in the UK
  • Pesticides that are not sold in their original packaging with the original label
  • Poisonous or toxic substances that Royal Mail (or An Post) has prohibited for posting.

To see a full list of what eBay restricts, visit their Hazardous, restricted, or regulated materials policy web page.

Other online shops selling possible illegal pesticides

It should be the case all online shops should still ensure the chemical is being sold for professional use only and should include a statement such as this:

Using professional pesticides safely

When you buy a professional use pesticide you and/or the end-user must ensure that the product is legally used in line with the industries Approved Code of Practice set out by The Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) and Control of Pesticide Regulations 1986 (COPR).

When placing an order for a professional use pesticide you must confirm that you have read, understood and will comply with these regulations. Use plant protection products safely and always read the label and product information before use.”

Why pesticide safety is this so important?

The inappropriate use of pesticides can have a massively damaging impact on our natural environment. Furthermore, the list of active ingredients used to control wood-boring insects is already extremely limited.

The PCA are keen to ensure the long term availability of these pesticide products by making sure that those that use these products are doing so responsibly. That is why we have introduced the register of professional users and offer huge support to this initiative.

Reporting the illegal internet sale of pesticides

Should you want to report what you believe to be an illegal sale then please take a picture of the product and any details of the seller to [email protected] include the reason as to why you believe the sale is illegal.

What is the next step?

As a next step the three organisations are meeting later this month to try and tackling the illegal pesticides sales on Amazon. I suppose it’s a case of “watch this space” for an update folks!

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