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Producer Industries Urged to Have Say on Future Availability of Endosulfan

Media Release 0403 24 May 2004

The National regulator of pesticides and veterinary medicines, the APVMA, is calling for producer industries comment to help determine the future use of endosulfan. The issues influencing the continued use of endosulfan in cotton and some other crops, along with a number of other recommendations, are set out in a draft report of the review of endosulfan that is now available for public comment.

APVMA Principal Scientist, Dr David Loschke, said that the review of the use of endosulfan was undertaken in response to concerns arising from possible residues of the chemical in food and potential risk to Australia's trade with other countries. 'The APVMA was also concerned about worker safety issues and potential harm to the environment' Dr Loschke said.

'A key issue from the review is the potential for by-products of cotton that has been treated with endosulfan to be fed to livestock potentially leading to residue violations in the meat. Such violations, if they occur, could significantly impact on Australia's export trade' Dr Loschke said.

According to Dr Loschke, the review proposes that the future use of endosulfan in cotton can only be continued provided the APVMA can be assured that appropriate and effective safeguards can and will be put in place to protect against possible violative residues in meat. The APVMA is therefore seeking feedback on whether such safeguards can be implemented and whether they are likely to be effective. If these safeguards are not likely to be effective, the future use of endosulfan on cotton is unlikely to continue.

'The APVMA considers it vital that it consults closely with the Australian cotton and beef industries, both affected by the review, to determine whether the risks associated with the use of endosulfan can be successfully managed' Dr Loschke said.

'It is important that the national regulatory framework for pesticides reflects good agricultural practice and industry's ability to adequately manage identified risks' Dr Loschke said.

The draft review report also recommends a number of changes to the use of endosulfan in a range of other situations. These changes include the removal of uses where residue and trade concerns cannot be rectified and the addition of new label instructions including new withholding periods, safety directions and worker re-entry periods. Following the rigorous scientific evaluation of the available data, a number of important uses of endosulfan will also be retained.

Before the APVMA makes a final decision about the availability and use of endosulfan it is seeking industry comment on the draft review report. All comments must be received by 30 July 2004 and should be sent to chemicalreview@apvma.gov.au.

Endosulfan has been used throughout Australia for over 35 years. It is a broad-spectrum chemical that is used for the control of a range of insect pests in horticultural and agricultural crops including cotton, cereals, oilseeds, fruit and vegetables.

Details of the review findings and the recommendations for future use of endosulfan are contained in the report - The reconsideration of approvals of the active constituents endosulfan, registration of products containing endosulfan and their associated labels. Draft final report - which is available on the APVMA website at www.apvma.gov.au

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