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NRA Gets Tough on Endosulfan to Protect Australian Beef

NRA 00/7 30 June 2000

The registration of ultra low volume (ULV) formulations of endosulfan is to be suspended and strict conditions imposed on the use of remaining stocks following a review by the Board of the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals at its 28 June meeting.

Dr John Keniry, the Board chairman, said that there was clear evidence from last season's use of the chemical that unpredictable instances of long distance drift deposits from ULV applications could cause residues in cattle.

'At issue here is the viability of Australia's international beef trade', Dr Keniry said.

'The NRA Board is not presently satisfied that the possible risk from continued use of ULV endosulfan is acceptable and has decided to act' he said.

Tougher rules for ULV endosulfan use were introduced for the 1999/2000 season in response to residues in beef caused by spray drift from endosulfan applied mainly to cotton.

Dr Keniry was full of praise for the cotton and aerial agriculture industries in complying with last year's conditions of use.

'We could not have asked for more from the people in these industries. They were extremely responsible and professional in a tough situation. Nonetheless the risk remains for one of our major export industries and the NRA Board believes that it just can't allow that risk.' he said.

Under the tough new rules, effective immediately, the registration of ULV formulations of endosulfan is to be suspended and current stocks will be phased out during next season. These existing stocks can only be used with the additional restrictions that:

  • the protective downwind buffer zone is doubled from the current 1,500 metres to 3,000 metres and

  • the maximum allowed rotational speed of atomisers, which generate and dispense ULV endosulfan, is reduced from the current 4,000 rpm to 2,000 rpm.

These new rules apply to ULV endosulfan used on all crops, not just cotton.

The NRA will be working with industry to obtain data to show whether or not ULV endosulfan spray drift risk management strategies can be developed in the future.

The registration of ULV endosulfan products will not be resumed unless the NRA can be satisfied that they do not pose an unacceptable risk.

(Note for Media: - Ultra low volume (ULV) formulations of endosulfan are delivered as a super-fine spray and are susceptible to drift in even light weather conditions.)