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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 and date of birth are sent to NHS Digital so that they can be linked to the relevant data sets.
NHS Digital will then send the study team hospital episode statistics (HES) data relating to study members. The HES data includes the date of hospital admission, the length of the stay and the condition being treated. NHS Digital will also 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 medical 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 PIPAH study data may also be pooled with data from similar studies in other countries, in order to study the relationships between pesticides and health for less common health conditions. Individuals would not be identifiable in any data shared in this way with other approved researchers.

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.


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 Laboratory
Harpur Hill
SK17 9JN

T: 0800 093 4809

Or via the website Contact Form.


Related Material





  • PIPAH Study Newsletter, Jan 2017 (PDF, 4.9 MB)
    In its fourth year, the study has reached an important milestone.



  • PIPAH Study Newsletter, Jan 2015 (PDF, 7.0 MB)
    An update of the study's progress in 2014 and our planned activities in 2015.


  • PIPAH Study Newsletter, Jan 2014 (PDF, 7.0 MB)
    Contains some preliminary facts about the study participants and the work they do.


< Pesticide Users' Health Study

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