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Chemical regulator suspends agricultural chemical because of dioxin contamination

Date: 12 April 2010
Ref: 2010/06

‘The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has suspended all approvals and registrations for the agricultural chemical quintozene and its products’, Dr Simon Cubit, spokesperson for the APVMA said today.

‘This decision has been made after undeclared dioxin impurities were found in quintozene products at levels that may present health risks to workers who frequently apply them.’

Dioxins are chemical compounds that have been linked with a number of cancer and non-cancer health effects including reproductive effects and suppression of the immune system.

‘Members of the general public are not likely to be at risk from these dioxin contaminants.  The APVMA’s concern is focussed on workers who directly handle quintozene products.’

‘The impact of the decision is that quintozene products cannot be supplied or used in Australia until further notice. The period of suspension is 12 months, but it may be modified depending upon receipt of new scientific information’, Dr Cubit said.

Quintozene is a fungicide registered for use in Australia as a seed dressing, as a seedling drench, a pre-plant soil-applied fungicide for vegetables, cotton and ornamentals, and as a pre-emergence fungicide for cotton. It is also used to control fungal diseases on bowling greens and golf greens and for a small number of post-emergence uses on lettuce, peanuts, apples and ornamentals.

Products containing quintozene have very limited use in agriculture or food production and are not used in the home garden.

For detailed background notes on dioxins, quintozene and the APVMA’s regulatory action go to www.apvma.gov.au/quintozene.

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