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
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'
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
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
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 DPO@hse.gov.uk, or they can write
to us at the following address:
Data Protection Officer,
Health and Safety Executive,
1.3 Redgrave Court,
Liverpool L20 7HS.
More information on how HSE processes data is provided
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
Telephone: 0800 093 4809
Or via the website Contact Form.
Previous PIPAH newsletters
and other resources