Chemicals – spray drift

Sprayed chemicals are extensively used in agriculture and horticulture for control of pests and weeds. This spray can drift over neighbouring properties, waterways and water tanks, this is referred to as spray drift.  Spray drift can affect human, animal and environmental health. Spray drift can affect household and farm water supplies, including tank water.

The health impacts of exposure depend on how and where the chemical is applied, the amount of drift, weather conditions and the toxicity of the chemical. If you have been exposed to chemical sprays through spray drift, and are concerned, there are a number of agencies you can contact for help.

Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

More information:

Grains Research and Development Organisation (GRDC)

Queensland Government
Minimising the impacts of spray drift

Victorian Poisons Information Centre
Prevention of poisoning

Provides Australian agricultural and veterinary chemical users with a recycling pathway for eligible empty agvet chemical containers

Research & reviews:

Australian Agricultural Health Unit
Health impacts of pesticides on affected persons in the Gunnedah community [PDF 793kb]

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Authority
Spray drift

Fast facts:

Spray drift

  • Spray drift can affect the environment, your health and the health of your family and neighbours.
  • Spray only if the weather is suitable (a steady 3-15km wind is ideal).
  • If you use tank water and spray lands on your roof, disconnect the collection pipe until it has rained or until the roof has been cleaned.

Last updated: 4th May, 2020