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Applying chlorpyrifos

Approved handler

You must be an approved handler or be under the direct supervision of an approved handler to handle liquid or granular chlorpyrifos.

Granular chlorpyrifos

Application amount and frequency

From 1 July 2015, chlorpyrifos in granular form may be applied at a maximum rate of 1500 g of chlorpyrifos per hectare and once per crop cycle.

Cover granules

Granules must be completely covered by soil immediately after application so they are no longer visible. This is to protect birdlife.

Liquid chlorpyrifos

Application amount and frequency

From 1 July 2015, liquid chlorpyrifos products may only be applied at a maximum rate of 1500 g of chlorpyrifos per hectare.

Notification requirements

Before using aerial application to apply chlorpyrifos, you must notify anyone that could potentially be affected. People affected could include occupiers and owners of land, homes or property that share a boundary with the property where you are applying the product.

You must notify people in writing at least two working days before each application but no earlier than four weeks prior to applying chlorpyrifos.

The notification must include the following information:

  • where the substance will be applied
  • the date and approximate duration of each application
  • how to avoid exposure (for example, closing windows and doors, staying indoors during application and bringing laundry indoors)
  • the name of the organisation(s) undertaking the application
  • contact details for the person in charge of the application (phone, email or postal address, including a contact number for immediate contact during application)

Avoiding spray drift

When applying liquid chlorpyrifos outdoors you must take all practical steps to prevent spray drifting onto neighbouring properties and sensitive areas. Sensitive areas might be places where people are present or where native animals and plants are found.

Taking practical steps to avoid spray drift is particularly important when you apply chlorpyrifos using wide-dispersive methods such as by aerial application or boom sprayer.

Record how you reduce spray drift

You also need to record the measures you have taken to reduce spray drift when applying chlorpyrifos containing products. You can include this information in your spray diary.

Your record must include:

  • The name of the substance
  • The date and time of each application
  • The classification(s) of the substance
  • The amount of the substance applied
  • The location the substance was applied If the substance is applied to or discharged into the air, a description of the wind speed and direction when the application took place
  • The name of the user of the substance and the user's address
  • Details of measures taken to ensure that there is no harm caused on neighbouring properties or sensitive areas.

These records must be kept for at least three years after applying chlorpyrifos.

Don't enter the treated area for 24 hours

The new rules prohibit people entering the area where liquid chlorpyrifos has been applied for 24 hours unless they are wearing full personal protective and respiratory protective equipment. This period of time is sometimes called a restricted entry interval (REI) and is to protect peoples' health from any chlorpyrifos still present on plants or in the air.

The 24 hour time period starts when the application is complete and, if applied indoors, the ventilation system is switched on.

If chlorpyrifos was applied indoors you can only enter the building within that 24 hour period to carry out tasks associated with ventilation.


Source: EPA, 2013. Safely using insecticides containing chlorpyrifos on plants EPA0301


Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate that is an active ingredient in some insecticides to control a range of pests such as springtails, thrips, scale and leaf miners. However, chlorpyrifos is toxic to both people and the environment. You should only use chlorpyrifos if there are no safer alternatives and as part of an integrated pest management system (IPM).

The product label of insecticides will list the active ingredients. Check the label to see if chlorpyrifos is one of the actives. If it is, you need to follow the practices outlined in this document.

Insecticides known to contain chlorpyrifos include Pychlorex 48EC, Super Spectrum, Chlorfos 480, Toppel, Toppel 500, Donaghys Insec 480, Chlorpyrifos 500EC, Suscon Green, Pyrinex Insecticide, Chlor-P 480EC, Hortcare Chlorpyrifos 50 EC, Rampage, Lorsban 50 EC Insecticide and Lorsban 750 WG Insecticide.

Protect your health

You need to take extra care when using chlorpyrifos so that you are exposed to as little of the product as possible.

  • While using the product you must wear the right safety gear
  • After using chlorpyrifos you must wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating, drinking, chewing gum, smoking or using the toilet. If you don't, you will end up consuming some of the insecticide, which can cause long-term health problems.
  • Once you have finished using chlorpyrifos for the day remove the clothes you were working in, have a shower or bath with soap and water, shampoo your hair, and put on clean clothes.
  • Wash your work clothes separately from other clothes before wearing them again.

Wear the right safety gear

Because of the toxicity of chlorpyrifos you must wear the right safety gear to protect your health. If you are an employer, you must provide your staff with this gear and train them to wear it properly.

The new rules specify that full personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn when mixing, loading or applying liquid chlorpyrifos. When applying granular chlorpyrifos you must also wear full respiratory protective equipment (RPE) (see box below).

The product label and safety data sheet will give you information about what PPE and RPE you must wear when handling the product. If you can't find this information, call the supplier of the product or contact the Health and Safety Group at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment during business hours on 0800 20 90 20.

Protect yourself – with full PPE

When using chlorpyrifos-containing products you must wear:

  • chemical resistant coveralls
  • chemical resistant gloves
  • chemical resistant footwear plus socks
  • protective eyewear
  • chemical resistant headgear.

and RPE – for granular application only

  • You must also wear appropriate respiratory protective equipment to protect against breathing in the dust of the substance when applying granular chlorpyrifos.

After wearing PPE make sure you clean it according to the manufacturer's instructions before you, or anyone else, wears it again.

If the insecticide label offers specific instructions on how to clean the PPE, follow those instructions.

If there are no instructions available you should wash the PPE in detergent and hot water. The person washing the PPE should wear gloves when handling it.

Always have a safety data sheet (SDS) available for your products. Information about what to do in the event of a poisoning is usually given in Section 4 of the SDS.

Monitor your health

Wearing personal protective equipment does not eliminate exposure to a hazardous substance. If you are an employer and your staff are using organophosphates, such as chlorpyrifos, you
are required under the Health and Safety in Employment (HSE) Act to monitor your staffs' exposure to organophosphates and,
with their informed consent, monitor their health.

This monitoring is usually done by a health service provider such as an occupational health nurse or general practitioner with a qualification in occupational health.

For further information on how to set up a monitoring regime see the information sheet Organophosphates: health effects, monitoring and first aid on the website.

Chlorpyrifos is toxic to the environment

Chlorpyrifos is highly toxic to the environment, insects, birds, fish and other aquatic creatures.

You must not apply chlorpyrifos into or onto water.

Protect bees

Chlorpyrifos is very toxic to bees. You must not spray chlorpyrifos where bees are foraging or onto any flowering plants, including weeds.

Bees are generally not active in the early morning or late evening. Spraying at these times will reduce the chance that bees come into contact with chlorpyrifos.

If you choose to spray early in the morning, make sure there is time for the spray to dry before bees become active