You are here > Residents


We have successfully recruited a number of residents in the East Lothian, Kent and Norfolk areas who live within 100 metres of the edge of agricultural (arable and orchard) fields that may be sprayed with pesticides and recruitment has now stopped.


Further information on what participation in the study involves and how the information collected will be used is provided in the participant information leaflet below.


Background - who is organising and funding the research

In Great Britain the use of pesticides in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food storage and the home or garden is regulated to protect human health and the environment. The regulatory system is administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). DEFRA have asked the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) to investigate pesticide exposure during the spraying season amongst residents (adults and children) living next to agricultural fields and to assess if the current pesticide regulatory system provides suitable protection for those people exposed.

What is the purpose of the study?

This study will investigate pesticide exposure during the spraying season amongst residents (adults, aged 18 years and over, and children, aged 4-12 years) living next to agricultural fields and will assess whether the current system used to regulate pesticide exposure provides suitable protection for those people exposed. We will do this by collecting urine samples from residents and will compare the levels of pesticide metabolites in the urine of people that have been exposed to pesticides due to spraying with the level of residue predicted from data obtained from a variety of sources, including mathematical models. The end result will determine if the current system used to regulate pesticide exposure provides suitable protection for those people exposed

Who would we like to participate in the study?

We would like to recruit people who live within 100 m from the edge of fields or orchards that may be sprayed with pesticides. We are particularly keen to recruit people who are usually in or around the home during significant parts of the day, although adults who are away from the home for large parts of the day will also be eligible for inclusion in the study.

Do I have to take part?

It is up to you to decide. If you do decide to help we will ask you to sign a consent form that confirms you are happy to participate and for the information you provide to be used in the study. If you have children aged 4 - 12 years and you are happy for them to participate in the study we will also ask you to complete a consent form on their behalf. You, and your children, are also free to withdraw from the study at any time and without giving reason.

What will happen if I take part?

First, we would like to obtain some background information on you and we will ask you to complete a general lifestyle questionnaire. Once a week we will ask you to provide a urine sample and to complete a short diary giving details of the time you spent at home/ outdoors, any use of pesticides in the home, garden or elsewhere, and the food you have eaten in the 24 hour time period before the urine sample collection. We would like you to repeat this exercise once a week for a period of 15-23 weeks. If you have consented to your child participating in the study, we would like you to help complete the questionnaires on their behalf as well as remind your child to provide the urine samples. We will provide you with the study materials and the researcher will arrange to collect these from you and provide new materials as required. We will also provide full instructions on how to provide the samples and complete the diary.

Each individual participant will receive a £5 gift voucher of your choice for each week you provide a urine sample and completed questionnaire. This will be given near to the completion of each study period.

What will the urine samples be tested for?

Not all collected urine samples will be analysed; we will select urine samples for analysis which coincide with pesticide spray events as well as those collected out with the spray season to obtain information on background exposures. Urine samples selected for analysis will only be tested for the urinary outputs of selected pesticides.  

We would also like to store urine samples not analysed during this research project, in an anonymised form, for any future ethically approved studies for pesticide traces.

When will the study take place?

The research will take place over two study periods, taking place over a 15-23 week period during March to November in both 2011 and 2012. 

Will my taking part in the study be confidential?

Yes. All information we collect from you during the course of the research will be treated in the strictest of confidence and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1984. All participants’ data will be stored securely and confidentially and any identifiable information collected about an individual will only be available to authorised IOM employees. We will not identify you in any documents we produce. You have the right to withdraw from the project at any time and all urine samples collected will be destroyed upon request.

Benefits and risks of taking part

There are no individual benefits to you for taking part in this research study. However the project will increase our understanding of whether the risks arising from exposure to pesticides, are adequately controlled by the present regulatory system. There are no risks to you involved in taking part in the research.

What will happen to the information collected?

Participants will be given regular updates on the progress of the project, for example, through individual letters and feedback from the community researchers. We also have a project website where information on the progress of the project can be obtained ( We will prepare a report summarising the results from the project, which will be publicly available, and will also aim to publish in relevant scientific journals.

It will not be possible to provide participants with details of their individual urinary results Participants will however, upon request, be forwarded a summary of the urinary trace results for all the samples analysed and a copy of the study report. No details of any individuals will be disclosed in any reports arising from this work.

Who has reviewed and approved the study?

The study has been approved by the South East Scotland Research Ethics Committee 03Research Ethics Committee. 

Interested in participating in the study?

If you are interested in participating in the study and are happy for a member of the research team to contact you, please complete the fields in the Study Recruitment Form.