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Why are some pesticides registered for use in some countries but not in others?

23 July 2010

It is quite common for regulators in different countries to register some pesticides that other regulators may not. This is due to differences in legislative frameworks, regulatory powers, climatic conditions, crops, use patterns and cultural practices.

Each regulator assesses the hazards that a pesticide presents and determines if risks to human health and the environment from use of a chemical can be successfully managed based on a range of national considerations.

More detail

The APVMA’s role is to assess pesticides proposed for use in Australia and make a decision as to whether they can be used safely subject to any conditions it may choose to impose. Other national regulators have a similar brief.

Regulators, however, can only consider applications for registration made to them. It is almost always the case that manufacturers choose not to propose particular pesticides for some national jurisdictions for a variety of commercial reasons. This is one of the key reasons why a pesticide may be available in one country but not another.

When an application for registration is made, the chemical properties of the pesticide are well characterised and become the starting point for a detailed regulatory consideration of the hazards it may pose to human health, the environment, and international trade in crops which may be treated with that chemical.

Applications for registration made in different countries often vary because of climatic differences, the crops that are grown and the nature of the pests and diseases that affect those crops. Insecticides used to control pests on tropical fruit are not needed, for example, in colder areas used for wheat production. This is a second reason why a pesticide may be available in one country but not another.

When assessing applications for registration regulators apply the legislative framework they have been given and the risk management tools at their disposal. These vary in different national jurisdictions. Some regulators are able to more easily manage some risks than others. Similarly, some may elect not to manage specific risks because of national policy decisions or international treaty obligations. This is a third reason why a pesticide may be available in one country but not another.

There are many other reasons including cultural practices and unique flora and fauna.

Taking them all into account, it is relatively common to find differences in the pesticides registered in different countries.

An example

There are a number of pesticides registered in Australia that are not registered in the European Union. By the same token, there are pesticides registered in the European Union that are not registered in Australia. Examples include the herbicides isoproturon, metazachlor, aclonifen, amidosulfuron and benfluralin; the fungicides benthiavalicarb, cyazofamid and cyflufenamid; and the insecticides ethoprophos and flonicamid.

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