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Review Recommends Stricter Controls and User Certification on Locust Insecticide - Monocrotophos

8 July 1999 

Ref: NRA 99/7

The National Registration Authority (NRA) will place restrictions on the use of the agricultural insecticide Monocrotophos and could require farmers to be appropriately trained as a condition of use, if recommendations in the draft review of the chemical are approved.

Monocrotophos - an insecticide used on a range of crops - has been the subject of an internal scientific review under the NRA's Existing Chemical Review Program. It is an organophosphate (OP), developed in 1965 and first registered for use in Australia in 1968.

NRA Chemical Review Manager, Dr Ron Eichner, said that Monocrotophos played a useful role in agriculture as a broad spectrum systemic insecticide and acaricide and was mostly used in Australia on sorghum and sunflowers, particularly for locust control, followed by tomatoes and corn.

The key concern about the continued use of Monocrotophos is its environmental toxicity. "The report raises questions about the chemical's hazard to workers and to both bird and aquatic species, particularly from aerial application," Dr Eichner said.

The chemical's future depended on industry addressing these concerns.

"The review proposes a number of changes, which, if approved, may result in new registration conditions for the chemical. We will require the necessary new data to be generated by the manufacturers or other groups," Dr Eichner said.

The changes being proposed by the NRA include:

Limit application rates

Changes to the MRL standard

Immediate action to update labels to the current Code of Practice and provide environmental warnings

Restricting use to those who have obtained training in relation to specified competencies

Requiring that records of spraying operations be kept to at least the standard required by the Farmcare Chemical User Course

Maintaining records of supply

The review also notes that demand for Monocrotophos is declining and is likely to continue.

"This is because there are effective and less hazardous alternatives available," Dr Eichner said. "Also, because of its broad spectrum activity, Monocrotophos is unsuitable for use in Integrated Crop Management, particularly because of its toxicity to predatory mites.

The draft review is now available and the NRA is inviting public submissions that focus on the issues identified in the report.

"The NRA also will be seeking more information from manufacturers and users of Monocrotophos products to fully assess its impact," Dr Eichner said.

Comments on the draft report need to reach the NRA by 31 August 1999.

A draft Review Summary is available free of charge. A full technical report also is available for a fee or can be accessed via the NRA's web site.

Consultation will take place over an eight (8) week period and advice on the process will be forwarded to interested groups.