Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals

Much of FoE's current work on toxics is currently looking at drinking water issues, particularly chlorine disinfection by-products.

Friends of the Earth networks information to a variety of groups and individuals concerning pesticides and toxic chemicals.

Since March 2012 this work has been unfunded, except for small donations. Donations are always gratefully accepted and go a very long way. Contact [email protected] for further information.

If you have downloaded any of the following reports consider donating now, because the "Well May Soon Run Dry" and this resource will be lost.

October 2015: Think Before You Spray. Garden Pesticides and Water Pollution

ThinkBeforeYouSpray.pdf (2.16 MB)

April 2015: Australian Pesticide Map Takes Shape.

Thanks to a kind anonymous donation in late 2014, Friends of the Earth has been busy compiling a pesticide map for Australia, highlighting key issues including spray drift and water pollution. The map also provides useful historical information. We would like to hear from you if you have information concerning pesticide related events, including spray drift

The map can be found here

June 2014: We have been recently contacted by a Canberra based group "ACT for Bees" who are concerned about the sale of neonicotinoid insecticides over the counter in the Canberra region. They have recently compiled this information information sheet concerning the role of neonicotinoid pesticides on bee populations. The information also includes details about brand names and which products consumers should avoid. PROTECTING BEES flyer.pdf (161.66 KB)

Some of our recent work can be located below (you may also be interested in looking at FoE's Water Campaign as well for more information concerning drinking water):

2): REFUSE TO USE SIMAZINE: Simazine Pollution of Melbourne Waterways and Stormwater. (Uploaded November 17 2014). simazinemelbourne.pdf (2.84 MB)

3): Local Government Pesticide Use. A "Survey" done by Friends of the Earth Melbourne in regards to pesticides used by local Government in 10 urban areas of Melbourne in 2009 -2010. This report has remained unpublished for some time. Uploaded June 1 2014. Local Councils Pesticides FOI (2009-10).pdf (1014.06 KB)

4): Scarred For Life - Tattoo Inks And Your Health (Updated October 28 201 3).  TattooInksScarredForLife2.pdf (665.61 KB)

5): Submission: Inquiry into Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Bill (December 2012). [For some reason this submission and many others have been deleted from the Federal Governments' website] SenateCommitteeAgriculturalAmendmentBill2012.pdf (377.54 KB)

6): SA Water Project Assessing Health Criteria from 9100 page FoI Application (October 21 2012)  SAWater2012a.pdf (1.91 MB)

7): Melbourne Water Supply And Pesticides (June 5 2012)  Melbourne Water Supply Pesticides June 2012.pdf (1.4 MB)

8): An Organic Food and Pesticides Booklet (Release Date February 21 2012).

Networking with communities impacted by pesticides used in agriculture and plantation forestry, particularly in Victoria.

Tracking agricultural pesticides use across Australia.

April 2 2012 Press Release: Regulators Fail To Implement Toxic Timber Bans

Some Other Examples Our Past Work

Why do we need safer chemicals?
Anything you buy - whether it's soap or a computer, perfume or paints - will contain a mixture of substances produced in a chemical factory. Chemicals are used for all kinds of reasons such as for fragrance, to kill germs, to make things last longer, make things stronger etc. etc.

But the uncomfortable truth is, more and more research is suggesting that many chemicals are threatening our health with a new kind of pollution that contaminates the bodies of us and our families, our environment, animals, plants, the planet.
Chemicals have been linked to everything from many forms of cancer, to obesity and behaviour problems.  The effects of hundreds of chemicals is not yet fully understood.

Our bodies are now contaminated with more than 300 human-made chemicals.

We think that as a minimum first step, chemicals that build up in our bodies should be phased out. The precautionary principle should always be applied in the assessment and regulation of chemicals. Producers of chemicals must be able to proof that the chemical are safe, whether they are new or old chemicals. Producers must be held accountable.

A game of Double Jeopardy
The most worrying types of chemicals are those which are hormone disrupters  and/or which can build up inside in the human body. Friends of the Earth thinks these chemicals should be phased out completely and replaced with safer alternatives. 

Hormone disrupters

Hormone disrupters interfere with our body's hormones. Our hormones regulate our day-to-day bodily functions and are vital for making sure we grow up healthy.


Some chemicals that our bodies can't fully break down will accumulate in our tissues. This is known as bio-accumulation.

The risk with these chemicals is that it's not known what the long term effects of some of them might be and we would be unable to remove them from our bodies and environment if they were found to be harmful.

So what can you do now to reduce the risk?

Try to avoid coming into contact with risky chemicals - ultimately, though, we will only be protected by tighter laws.

FoE-Europe: Safer Chemicals


Bisphenol A (BPA)

Check here for details on this project.

News on BPA, October 2008 - Canada bans BPA in baby bottles

Other work:

swimming pool chemicals