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What is the PIPAH Study?

The Prospective Investigation of Pesticide Applicators' Health (PIPAH) Study is the newest of the long term health studies run by the Health and Safety Executive. It was established in 2013, with the aim of investigating whether there is any evidence of a link between working with pesticides and health. The PIPAH study builds on the work of the Pesticide Users' Health Study by collecting more detailed information about the study participants. In the long term, the information from the study will help to ensure that any risks identified are properly controlled.

How do pesticide users become part of the survey?

Men and women who are certified pesticide users are eligible to join the study. The PIPAH study began in 2013, with the assistance of City & Guilds, by inviting all the members of the National Register of Sprayer Operators (NRoSO) and the National Amenity Sprayer Operators' Register (NAsOR) to take part in the study. Members of HSE's other long term health study on pesticides, the Pesticide Users' Health Study, were invited to join in 2014. The study continues to grow as new members of NRoSO and NAsOR also join.

How do we collect information about the study participants' health?

When certified pesticide users agree to take part in the study, they are asked to complete a questionnaire. This includes questions about the types of pesticides they have used, their health and other factors that can affect their health such as lifestyle, diet, smoking habit and alcohol intake. In the future, study participants will be invited to complete further questionnaires about pesticide use and particular health conditions.

In addition to this, the study team obtains data from NHS Digital (formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)). Study member name, address, sex, date of birth and NHS number (if available) are sent to NHS Digital so that they can be linked to the relevant data sets.

NHS Digital will then provide the study team with cancer data on behalf of Public Health England, and mortality data on behalf of the Office for National Statistics.

For these two sets of data, NHS Digital sends the study team information on the date of the event and the cancer type or cause of death. NHS Digital also informs the study team if a study member has emigrated. In this way, the study team can follow up the long term health status of study participants.

How do we use the study participants' data?

The data collected by the study is used for health research purposes only and is kept strictly confidential.

The data will be used to investigate whether there is any evidence of a link between working with pesticides and health. The data collected about participants may be provided to researchers running other research studies in HSE or in other organisations. These organisations may be universities or other organisations involved in health research in this country or abroad. The PIPAH study data may also be pooled with data from similar studies in other countries to study the relationships between pesticides and less common health conditions. Individuals will not be identifiable in any data shared with other approved researchers, and the data will not be combined with other information in a way that could identify an individual participant. This study does not use automated decision-making or profiling to make decisions about individuals.

The study findings will be freely available online in Health and Safety Executive Research Reports, other published articles and in the study newsletter. The findings will be used to inform future policy.

As a government agency we use personally-identifiable information to conduct research to improve workers' health. As a publicly-funded organisation, we must ensure that it is in the public interest when we use personally-identifiable information from people who have agreed to take part in research. This means that when they agree to take part in a research study, we will use their data in the ways needed to conduct and analyse the research study. Their rights to access, change or move their information are limited, as we need to manage their information in specific ways for the research to be reliable and accurate. If a participant withdraws from the study, we will keep the information about them that we have already obtained. To safeguard their rights, we will use the minimum personally-identifiable information possible.

Health information is sensitive personal data and is regarded as special category data.Your sensitive personal data will only be processed for research purposes.

If a participant wishes to raise a complaint on how we have handled their personal data, they can contact our Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter. If they are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing their personal data in a way that is not lawful they can complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). They can contact our Data Protection Officer by email at, or they can write to us at the following address:

Data Protection Officer

Health and Safety Executive

1.3 Redgrave Court

Merton Road


Liverpool L20 7HS

More information on how HSE processes data is provided in HSE's Privacy Policy Statement.

What if a study participant changes their mind?

If someone agrees to take part in the study, they can ask to withdraw from all or part of the research study at any point in the future, using the contact information given at the foot of this page. However, the study team will keep the information collected up to the time they withdraw from the study. This is because the information will already be part of earlier analyses and published statistics. These reports do not contain any identifiable data and it is not possible to remove individual data from them.

How long will the study last?

The PIPAH study is a long-term study and currently HSE has not set an end date for it. The data collected by the study will be stored securely for 15 years after the end of the study. This is HSE's standard policy for this type of information. Retaining the data for this period ensures that any findings are traceable for a reasonable time after publication.

How is the study funded?

The PIPAH study is funded by the Health and Safety Executive and by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


If you have any questions at all about the research, please contact the survey team:

The PIPAH Study

Health and Safety Executive

Harpur Hill



SK17 9JN

Telephone: 0800 093 4809


Or via the website Contact Form.

Related Material

Previous PIPAH newsletters and other resources

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