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APVMA releases final Endosulfan report

Media release 05/03

The national regulator of pesticides and veterinary medicines, the APVMA, has today released the final report of its review of endosulfan.

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

This final report follows previous regulatory action taken by the APVMA over recent years.

APVMA Principal Scientist, Dr David Loschke, said that this final stage of 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. Worker safety issues and potential risks to the environment were also reviewed.

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

The review has endorsed the continued use of endosulfan in cotton. Through the review outcomes, the APVMA is satisfied that effective safeguards have been put in place to protect against possible residues concerns.

‘It is important that the national regulatory framework for pesticides reflects good agricultural practice and industry's ability to adequately manage identified risks. During the review, the APVMA has worked closely with the Cotton Australia, Australian Cattle Council, Lot Feeders Association and Australian Ginners Association.’

‘These key organisations have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which specifies management practices and codes of conduct to be used by industry to manage endosulfan residues risks, ' Dr Loschke said.

The final review report also implements changes to the use of endosulfan in a range of other situations. These changes include removal of uses where residue and trade concerns cannot be resolved 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.

The Final Review and Regulatory Decision Report is available on the APVMA website.

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