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Public Comment Sought on Findings of the Draft Review of Aldicarb

NRA 01/2 10 April 2001

Public comment is being called for on the findings and regulatory approach proposed in the draft review of the health, safety and environmental aspects of aldicarb. Aldicarb is an insecticide widely used in the cotton industry and to a lesser extent in citrus and sugarcane production. It has been in use in Australia for over 20 years.

The review is being conducted by the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (the NRA) as part of its ongoing program of review of agricultural and veterinary chemicals that have been used in Australia over many years.

Aldicarb was included in the review program because of concerns over human poisonings, agricultural worker health and potential adverse environmental effects. As a part of the draft review procedure, any potential trade risks are also examined, according to Dr Ron Eichner, Manager, Chemical Review.

‘Recently in the US, concerns were raised over the use of aldicarb, where it has been linked to human poisoning, water contamination and bird deaths. To ensure it’s ongoing registration in Australia, it is most important that these concerns are addressed.’ Dr Eichner said.

‘The NRA’s draft review concludes that concerns over the use of aldicarb are minimal and proposes its registration status be confirmed with minor label changes to strengthen environmental and occupational health and safety warnings.’ Dr Eichner said.

‘In Australia, aldicarb is applied in granular form, beneath the soil surface. It is packaged in closed containers and is dispersed without the need for hand application. The draft review identified that this virtually eliminates worker exposure to the chemical,’ Dr Eichner said.

‘The risk of chemical run off resulting in water contamination was found to be minimal and no potential risks to trade were identified from the continued use of aldicarb in cotton, sugar or citrus production,’ he said.

‘I would expect that information obtained during this public comment phase will result in further refinement and revision of the current draft review outcomes,’ Dr Eichner said.

Comments on the review findings need to be submitted to the NRA by Friday, 11 May 2001.

The NRA’s chemical review program is a long term, systematic and detailed assessment of older chemicals in use in Australian agriculture to ensure that they meet today’s efficacy, health, safety and environmental standards.

The draft Aldicarb Review Report and a summary document can be found on the NRA website A hardcopy of the draft Review Report can be purchased for $100. To obtain copies of these documents contact Chemical Review by phone on 02 6272 3213, fax 02 6272 3551 or by writing to the NRA at PO Box E240, Kingston, ACT, 2604.