The use of plant protection products

In Sweden you may only use plant protection products authorised by the Swedish Chemical Agency. But even if a plant protection product has been authorised, the use of it may cause risks. In order to reduce the risks there are conditions of use included in the authorisations. As a user you must always follow the conditions of use on the label and also other rules on use and spread of plant protection products.

Conditions of use to reduce the risks

When using a plant protection product there is a risk that the product will spread beyond the area intended for treatment. The product may spread more widely, either through negligence or by unintentional dispersion via wind and water. The results from monitoring show that residues of plant protection products are sometimes found in surface water and groundwater, where they can have a negative impact on non-target plants, animals or other organisms not intended to be controlled.

In order to reduce the risks associated with plant protection products the Swedish Chemicals Agency decides on conditions of use for individual plant protection products as part of the authorisation.

Read more about conditions of use.  (In Swedish)

The labelling on the packaging must contain information on how the plant protection product shall be used, i.e. which conditions of use that apply for the particular product, and also on which hazardous properties the product may have.

Read more about the labelling of plant protection products.

In the Pesticides Register you can find the conditions of use decided for individual plant protection products authorised in Sweden.

Go to the Pesticides Register.

You are allowed to use a plant protection product for as long as the product has a valid authorisation or grace period for the phasing out of the product. If a product authorisation expires the Swedish Chemical Agency normally decides on a grace period. In the decision on grace periods dates are set for how long the products may continue to be sold, used, stored or disposed of. The grace periods are stated in the KIFS 2008:3 and they can also be found in the Pesticides Register.

Rules for the use of plant protection products 

In addition to the conditions of use for individual products, there are also rules for the use of plant protection products that apply. You can find the rules in the Swedish Ordinance on pesticides and in regulations of other Swedish agencies.

Read more in the Swedish ordinance (SFS 2014:425) on pesticides.

Safety distances

If you use plant protections products outdoors you must keep certain safety distances in order to protect the environment outside the area intended for treatment. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has a regulation on the spread of, and certain other handling of plant protection products.

Read more about the spread and handling of plant protection products. (In Swedish)

Permit for use in water protection area

If you intend to use a plant protection product in a water protection area a specific permit is required. You apply for this permit at your local municipality. In the regulation of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency you can find the rules about this permit.

Read more about the permit for use in a water protection area.  (In Swedish)

Sustainable use of pesticides

Within the EU, there is a directive for the sustainable use of pesticides. The directive is a complement to other rules on plant protection products and its purpose is to ensure there are common minimum requirements for the use of plant protection products in the EU.

Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides.

The Swedish Action Plan to reduce risks

To reduce the risks for human health and the environment associated with plant protection products, the Swedish Government has decided on an Action Plan for sustainable use in the agricultural and horticultural sectors for the period 2019-2020. The Action Plan contains for example a specific goal aiming to limit the use of plant protection products that are harmful to pollinators. The Action Plan is based on a proposal prepared by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency among others.

Read more in the Government’s decision on a national plan of action for the sustainable use of plant protection products during 2019-2020.

More information from other bodies

The Swedish Board of Agriculture issues rules on knowledge requirements and permits to use certain pesticides.

The National Food Agency issues rules on the residue levels of pesticides in crops and drinking water.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency issues regulations on the spread of plant protection products in the environment.

The Centre for Chemical Pesticides (CKB) is a partnership forum for researchers at SLU and interested parties outside the university and working within the field of chemical pesticides.

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has a pesticide database that includes results from sampling. (In Swedish.)