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Regulator restricts horticultural and turf uses of carbendazim

Date: 3 February 2010
Ref: 2010/01

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) today announces that, effective from 2nd February 2010 , it has restricted the number of crops and uses for which the fungicide carbendazim can be used and extended the health warnings on product labels.

The decision to restrict horticultural and turf uses was taken after considering new scientific information which identified that maximum residues limits set for some food crops and potential public exposures to treated turf may not meet new health standards.

Similarly, the APVMA has extended health warnings on carbendazim product labels on the basis of new scientific information which showed that exposure to high levels of carbendazim caused infertility in some male laboratory animals.

These regulatory actions are interim outcomes arising from the APVMA’s review of carbendazim which commenced in early 2007.

The review of carbendazim is ongoing. A preliminary review findings report will be published when all assessments have been completed. Additional regulatory actions may be proposed in this report.

An outcome of the current decision is that carbendazim will no longer be approved for grapes, cucurbits (including melons), citrus fruits, custard apples, mangoes, pome fruits, stone fruits and turf.

The regulatory mechanism through which these changes will take effect is a suspension of the labels of all carbendazim products. New stocks of these products must not be supplied without the new instructions. Manufacturers may also seek approval for new labels which incorporate these new instructions.

Amended instructions for use will also reflect a recent decision by the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee (NDPSC) (based on scientific information from the APVMA review) to reschedule carbendazim from Schedule 6 (which has a signal heading of ‘Poison’) to Schedule 7 (which has a signal heading of ‘Dangerous Poison’).

This decision is not expected to lead to any supply issues for horticulturalists who currently use the chemical. Products containing carbendazim may continue to be supplied by the manufacturer if additional instructions (approved by the APVMA) are attached to the label which include the restriction of uses, the extended health warning, and the Schedule 7 signal heading.

Significant consultation has taken place with representatives of major user organisations ahead of this decision. Consultation indicates that a six-month phase-out period for products in the supply chain is warranted.

A communication strategy alerting commodity organisations of the detail of the decision will be implemented over the next few weeks.

Fact sheets for users and product sellers, and additional information about the carbendazim review are also available.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Media Inquiries

Phone: +61 2 6210 4812
Mobile: +61 467 726 486
Email: media@apvma.gov.au

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