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National Regulator Promotes Responsible use of 2,4-D and Other Agricultural Chemicals

13 January 2006

ref: mr06/01

The national regulator of agricultural chemicals, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is reminding farmers to make sure that 2,4-D products are being used correctly and in accordance with label instructions.

‘Agricultural chemicals are a valuable tool in primary production but they must be used in a responsible manner if they are not to have unintended impacts’, acting Chief Executive Officer of the APVMA, Dr Eva Bennet-Jenkins said today.

‘Registered chemicals have been rigorously assessed and pose little threat to other crops and animals or the environment if they are used according to the label instructions’, she said.

‘Following label instructions is very important. These instructions, which are the product of extensive scientific assessment, are designed to protect people, the environment and trade’.

New label instructions for 2,4-D products were issued in October 2005 to minimise the impact of spray drift. These new instructions are:

  • This is a PHENOXY HERBICIDE that can cause severe damage to susceptible crops such as cotton, grapes, tomatoes, oilseed crops and ornamentals.
  • DO NOT use unless wind speed is more than three kilometres per hour and less than 15 kilometres per hour as measured at the application site.
  • DO NOT apply with smaller than coarse to very coarse spray droplets according to the ASAE S572 definition for standard nozzles.

The new 2,4-D label instructions resulted from a number of incidents likely to have been caused where agricultural sprays containing 2,4-D were applied under inappropriate weather conditions and/or with unsuitable spray equipment.

‘It is very important that users of all agricultural chemicals and users of 2,4-D products in particular, read labels carefully, check their spray application equipment, be aware of the weather conditions they are spraying in and make the necessary changes to ensure the safe and responsible use of these products’, Dr Bennet-Jenkins said.

The APVMA is currently reviewing registrations and approvals of products containing 2,4-D because of a number of potential concerns about its impacts.

More information about the use of 2,4-D is available on the APVMA website.

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