Hazardous substances notifications

This section provides information on hazardous substances injuries from 2014 to 2022. The data comes from the Hazardous Substances Disease and Injury Reporting Tool (HSDIRT). 

In New Zealand, any injury or disease caused by hazardous substances must be notified to the Medical Officer of Health. Examples of cases that should be reported include:

  • a fireworks injury
  • ingestion of cleaning products or cosmetics by children
  • poisoning with agrichemicals (including spraydrift incidents)
  • unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning
  • illness caused by exposure to solvents or chlorine
  • contact dermatitis due to chemicals
  • huffing of butane and other hydrocarbons. 

Many substances can be found in the kitchen, bathroom, workplace, garage or utility shed. If users do not follow label instructions, this can lead to injuries from hazardous substances (Ministry of Health 2019). Adverse health effects can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term). Typical acute health effects include headache, nausea or vomiting, and skin corrosion, while chronic health effects include asthma, dermatitis, nerve damage or cancer (Worksafe 2017).

This section reports on hazardous substance injury notifications from the Hazardous Substances Disease and Injury Reporting Tool (HSDIRT) which was developed in 2013. It includes data on substances covered by the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) 1996 and Health Act 1956.

Surveillance Reports and Metadata

Surveillance Report: Hazardous substances notifications (Oct 2023) Download report PDF
Metadata: Hazardous substances notifications (Oct 2023) Download report PDF

Key facts from 2023

  1. Regional Public Health reported 83% of hazardous substances notifications in 2022.

  2. Child, 0–14 years, exposures are most common in the home while adult, 15+ years, exposures occurred in the home and workplace equally from 2018–22.

  3. Almost half of all notifications involving females aged between 5–34 years, were intentional exposures from 2020–22.

Information about the data

This indicator reports HSDIRT hazardous substances notifications from 2014 to 2021. The data was extracted from the HSDIRT system on 6 March 2023. Updates or additions made to HSDIRT after this date are not reflected in this Surveillance report.



1. Ministry Of Health. 2019. The Investigation and Surveillance of Poisoning and Hazardous-substance Injuries: Guidelines for public health units (4th edn). Wellington: Ministry of Health.

2. Worksafe – Mahi Humaru Aotearoa. 2017. Information on Hazardous Substances. URL: https://worksafe.govt.nz/topicand-industry/hazardous-substances/about-hazardous-substances/ (Accessed 21 September 2021)

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