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Changed Rules for the Insecticide, Chlorfenvinphos

NRA 00/17 22 December 2000

Agricultural use of the organophosphate insecticide, chlorfenvinphos, has been cancelled and restrictions placed on its veterinary applications, in an interim report released today by the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals as part of its Chemical Review Program.

Chlorfenvinphos is an insecticide, widely used in Australia for over three decades to control ticks and buffalo fly on cattle and blowflies on sheep. It is also used to a lesser extent in agriculture to control various insect pests, in mushroom, potato, lucerne and pasture crops, according to the NRA's Chemical Review Manager, Dr Ron Eichner.

'Concerns have previously been raised about the safety of chemicals that belong to the organophosphate (OP) family. In this particular case, environmental, health and trade issues needed to be addressed in the review. To be able to conduct an effective review into the registration of chlorfenvinphos, it was vital that the NRA have access to particular scientific data that truly demonstrates its safety or otherwise,' Dr Eichner said.

'The manufacturers of agricultural products containing chlorfenvinphos were not in a position to produce the scientific data required which addressed environmental and worker safety issues. Therefore, the NRA had little choice, other than to cancel the registration of these products.'

'Manufacturers of veterinary products containing chlorfenvinphos were also asked, and have undertaken to provide the NRA with scientific data over the next three years on worker safety implications of chlorfenvinphos use. In the interim, chlorfenvinphos can continue to be used for veterinary applications under current registration conditions. Once all the data is collected, the registration of chlorfenvinphos will be reassessed.' Dr Eichner said.

'No risks to trade have been identified from use of the chemical. However, to further protect Australia's reputation as a clean trader, lengthy time delays between the application of chlorfenvinphos and the slaughter of stock marked for export have been established.'

'To date, the review has highlighted that when used according to the label in veterinary applications, chlorfenvinphos is an effective and safe insecticide. The NRA looks forward to receiving the requested scientific data, which will allow for the completion of the review,' Dr Eichner said.

Note: The regulation of the quality and supply of agvet chemical products in Australia occurs through the National Registration Scheme. The NRA administers the Scheme in consultation with the States and Territories. Within the Scheme, the NRA monitors agvet chemical products and active constituents in the marketplace to ensure that they are registered and only supplied according to the provisions of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Codes.