Pesticide Complaint Investigations

Agricultural Biologists investigate pesticide episodes and complaints ( click here for Form) that may involve potential or actual human illness or injury, property damage, loss or contamination, and environmental effects. Information gathered during these investigations is used to determine possible violations of pesticide laws and regulations and subsequent enforcement actions. Investigative reports are also used by state and federal agencies to evaluate pesticide use patterns and in identifying broader statewide or national issues. Our investigative reports receive close review and scrutiny from the Legislature, US EPA, other government agencies, the agricultural industry and special interest groups.

Whenever pesticide problems occur, they should be reported to our office without delay so we can investigate the complaint. Prompt reporting is the best way to ensure investigators can get the facts of the case and collect useful evidence.

It is very helpful if you write down what happened and provide that information to our office when you talk with an inspector. Information you should include is:

  • When and where the incident happened
  • Who was involved (if you know)
  • What you saw
  • What you smelled, if anything
  • Names and symptoms of anyone who was sick

Completing an investigation may take days, weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the investigation. You can ask our office if you want us to send you written information on the outcome of the investigation.

DPR Community Guide to Recognizing and Reporting Pesticide Problems

En Español: Una Guía Comunitaria Para Reconocer y Reportar Problemas con Pesticidas

 Pesticide Illness Complaints - If you or anyone else is seriously ill, call 911 for help. In less serious cases, call your doctor or the Poison Control Center, 1-800-222-1222. At no charge, the Poison Control Center will give you first-aid information and advise you on what to do next. Be sure to tell emergency responders, Poison Control, or your doctor that you may have been exposed to a pesticide. Have as much information as possible about what happened and, if you know, the pesticide involved.

 Pesticide Worker Safety Complaint - To report possible pesticide worker safety violations, call the Santa Barbara or Santa Maria office immediately. You can file your complaint anonymously, but it helps our investigation if you provide your contact information. If you don't want your employer or anyone to know you filed a complaint, let our office know and we will not to reveal your name to anyone.

 Pesticide Misuse/Illegal Application Complaints - To report possible pesticide misuse, illegal applications or other pesticide related issues call our Santa Barbara or Santa Maria office.

 Environmental Complaints - To file an environmental complaint with the California Environmental Protection Agency, you can fill out this online form .

 Licensee Complaints - DPR licenses professional applicators and companies that apply pesticides in most agricultural and non-agricultural settings. However, businesses and professionals that apply pesticides to structures are licensed by the Structural Pest Control Board.

If you have a question or complaint about a person or business that applied a pesticide, you can call our office to ask questions or file a complaint. If the applicator is a DPR licensee, you can also call DPR's Licensing and Certification Unit, at (916) 445-4038. You can find out if a person or company has a valid DPR license by downloading these lists . If the applicator is a Structural Pest Control Board licensee, you can contact the Structural Pest Control Board at (916) 561-8708, or E-mail