Skip to main content
English Cymraeg

2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP)

The dangers of DNP and the National Food Crime Unit's role in reducing the health risk to the public.

Last updated: 1 October 2023
See all updates
Last updated: 1 October 2023
See all updates

From 1 October 2023, 2,4 dinitrophenol (DNP) was reclassified as a poison under the Poisons Act 1972.

This means it is no longer the responsibility of the NFCU to investigate and prosecute the crime of selling DNP for human consumption. It is now the responsibility of the police. 

DNP is a highly toxic industrial chemical. It has been illegally sold as a diet pill for weight loss. DNP is poisonous to humans and can cause death, as well as other serious physical side effects.

It is a crime to sell DNP for human consumption in the UK. Those selling DNP can find themselves prosecuted under the Poisons Act 1972.  Punishment can include long prison sentences.

Health risks of DNP

The effects of DNP can be catastrophic and cause serious harm to health. Taking DNP has resulted in a significant number of deaths in the UK.

Other side effects of DNP include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • restlessness
  • flushed skin
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • rapid breathing
  • an irregular heartbeat.

Cataracts and skin lesions may also develop, as well as damage to the heart and nervous system.

Please contact a doctor or medical professional immediately if you have taken DNP.

Illegal sale of DNP as a diet pill

The sale of DNP for human consumption is illegal. 

DNP is a yellow powder, usually made into tablet or capsule form. The pills may be sold online, on social media, in a food supplement shop, or by people at the gym. 

Some people wrongly believe taking DNP will enhance their physical appearance or cause weight loss. Sellers may falsely advertise its use, despite being aware of its dangerous effects.

Reporting the selling of DNP

Report anyone selling DNP immediately to your local police force, the local authority, Crimestoppers, or through the National Food Crime Unit.