Changes to the law on the sale of poisons and explosives precursors

Certain chemicals can be used in the illicit manufacture of explosives and/or to cause harm. To reduce the risk of harm from these substances, the Poisons Act 1972 sets out the obligations that suppliers have in relation to regulated and reportable substances.

The law on the sale of these products is changing on 1 October 2023 via the Control of Explosives Precursors and Poisons Regulations 2023. The Home Office has published guidance on these changes, which is available on the GOV.UK website.

The Home Office has also published new material on the Protect UK website - including a leaflet and posters - that is designed to help businesses fulfil their legal obligations.

The site also has general Home Office guidance on selling chemicals responsibly, which includes a short video.

Retailers must report suspicious chemical activity to the Explosive Precursor Engagement Team if they believe that a person has bought or tried to buy chemicals in order to cause harm (by building explosives, for example), or if any chemicals have been lost or stolen.

If you have any questions or need further support, please contact the Explosive Precursor Engagement Team via