Effective management of hazardous substances throughout their lifecycle is necessary to avoid adverse health effects from either direct exposure or environmental contamination.

Toi Te Ora Public Health is involved in the prevention of injuries from exposures to hazardous substances. Designated Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act Enforcement Officers enforce the Act in respect of hazardous substances in public places.

Toi Te Ora Public Health role also relates to situations where, not withstanding other agencies' responsibilities, there is a need to protect public health. Health Protection Officers provide information and advice to the public on hazardous substances including:

  • Lead and lead poisoning

  • Mercury

If you believe you have been affected, either directly or indirectly by a hazardous substance or chemical you should:

1.    For treatment

  • Ring the Poison centre hotline on 0800 POISON (0800 764 766).
  • Go and see your GP – they may report your incident to the Medical Officer of Health via a system known as the Hazardous Substances Disease and Injury Reporting Tool (HSDIRT) as a result of this notification you may receive a phone call from a Health Protection Officer seeking further information.

2.    For prevention or investigation

There are a variety of Government agencies that are involved with hazardous substances – it is best if you speak to the lead agency for your area of concern.

If appropriate the lead agency will notify the Public Health service and it will be recorded in HSDIRT.

This table gives some guidance:

Location/type of issue Lead agency
Hazardous substances in a workplace WorkSafe NZ
Ph: 0800 030 040
Hazardous substances in air, on water or land, e.g. spray drift Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Ph: 0800 884 880
Waikato Regional Council
Ph: 0800 800 401
Hazardous substances on roads NZ Police
Ph: *555
Hazardous substances in buildings that are not workplaces Local councils
Hazardous substances in food or imported items Ministry for Primary Industries
Ph: 0800 693 721
Other Toi Te Ora Public Health
Ph: 0800 221 555




Further information