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Review of thiophanate-methyl completed

9 November 2010

Thiophanate-methyl is a systemic fungicide used in Australia to control soil borne diseases in ornamental plants.

Thiophanate-methyl breaks down in plants and the environment to form carbendazim and the use of thiophanate-methyl can lead to residues of carbendazim in treated commodities.  The Office of Chemical Safety and Environmental Health (OCSEH) in the Department of Health and Ageing advised the APVMA that exposure to carbendazim and compounds that can form it (namely, benomyl and thiophanate-methyl) could possibly cause developmental abnormalities in experimental animals and hence might pose a potential public and occupational health and safety risk.  For this reason the APVMA began a review of thiophanate-methyl in 2007.

Following a public consultation period on the APVMA thiophanate-methyl Preliminary Review Findings Report (PDF, 725kb) in August 2010, the APVMA has now completed the review of thiophanate-methyl. The review found that:

  • thiophanate-methyl did not induce birth defects in animal studies. While thiophanate-methyl breaks down in the environment to form carbendazim, in mammals thiophanate-methyl appears to undergo only very limited metabolic conversion to carbendazim;
  • the use of products containing thiophanate-methyl in accordance with amended label instructions would not be likely to have a harmful effect on human health;
  • the existing safety directions, poison scheduling and personal protective equipment (PPE) for thiophanate-methyl products remain appropriate, apart from minor label changes. In addition, the re-entry interval and first aid instructions require minor changes to the product label;
  • the restraint “DO NOT use this product in the home garden” should be added to all product labels to clarify that thiophanate-methyl products are for professional use only. 

Based on the above the APVMA affirmed the active constituent approval and product registrations and varied product labels to carry additional instructions. Old product labels have been cancelled.

Further information

Chemical Review

Phone: +61 2 6210 4749

Fax: +61 2 6210 4776

Email: chemicalreview@apvma.gov.au

Last updated on 9 November, 2010
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