Pesticide Registration Toolkit
Decision Support System for Pesticide Registrars in Developing Countries

Introduction to Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHP)


The International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management defines Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) as:

pesticides that are acknowledged to present particularly high levels of acute or chronic hazards to health or environment according to internationally accepted classification systems such as WHO or GHS or their listing in relevant binding international agreements or conventions. In addition, pesticides that appear to cause severe or irreversible harm to health or the environment under conditions of use in a country may be considered to be and treated as highly hazardous


Why do HHPs need special attention?

female farmer spraying vegetable cropHHPs can present:

  • High acute human toxicity
  • Chronic human toxicity
  • Severe environmental hazards

Special attention is also needed because:

  • Over 95% of pesticide poisonings occur in Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs)
  • A small group of HHPs is responsible for a high proportion of poisoning incidences
  • Most farmers are not able to meet safety requirements for HHPs
  • Less hazardous alternatives are available in many cases


International policy context

The reduction of risks posed by HHPs has become a priority issue within international chemicals management policies:


FAO/WHO Guidelines on HHPs

FAO and WHO issued specific Guidelines on HHPs (2016) to help countries address HHPs. This document contains:

  • Criteria for identification of HHPs
  • Steps of the risk reduction process for HHPs
  • Elements of an action plan to reduce the risks posed by HHPs

Download the Guidelines on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (2016) 


HHP risk reduction process

The HHP risk reduction process consists of three main consecutive steps:

  1. Identification of HHPs
    Check registered pesticides against the eight FAO/WHO HHP criteria
  2. Assessment of HHPs
    Assess each product for risks and needs to determine whether action is desirable
  3. Mitigation of HHP risks
    Determine for each product whether risk mitigation measures are required, and if so, which risk mitigation options would be most appropriate


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