Agricultural chemical awareness

The agricultural sector uses a variety of pesticides to protect plants, animals and agricultural products from harmful pests and diseases.

Many of these pesticides contain hazardous chemicals that can have short and long-term health effects if not managed safely.

Know your chemicals

Below is some information on hazardous chemicals you may have come into contact with.

Benzene in diesel/petrol emissions

Exposure to diesel and petrol exhaust emissions has been identified as an emerging health risk in the agriculture industry.

One of the best ways to stay safe is to use safer engines and cleaner fuels – eg low emission technology, emission control devices such as particle filters, ultra-low sulphur diesel, compressed natural gas or electricity.

Read the fact sheet below for more information.


Chlordimeform is a pesticide that was used extensively by aerial spraying on cotton crops in the north-western region of NSW between 1978 and 1986 and on other crops before 1976.

It was banned from use after serious health effects presented with overseas workers who manufactured the pesticide. Chlordimeform was commonly known as CGS500 or CGS800 in Australia.

Read the fact sheet below for more information.

Various sectors of the agricultural industry use OP pesticides and exposure can have short term and long term health issues if not used safely.

OP pesticides are easily absorbed by inhalation, through the skin, by ingestion, and through the mucous membranes and eyes, if not properly protected during use.

Read the fact sheet below for more information.

Tips to stay safe

  • substitute hazardous chemicals for safer alternatives
  • read your up-to-date safety data sheet and labels which will tell you all about the chemicals you are working with as well as how to store and handle them safely
  • stay in the loop about banned products
  • wear the right protective gear
  • consider other ground workers or family who might be exposed eg via clothing
  • alert workers and family about the risks associated with the chemicals you are using
  • talk to your employer if you are unsure of anything, or contact us
  • talk to your doctor if you notice a change in your health

You can also watch our agricultural chemicals and pesticides video safety below for steps on how avoid exposure.

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