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Review of Diazinon Products for Sheep

17 January 2007

There has been recent media interest concerning the possible outcomes of the APVMA’s review of veterinary products containing diazinon for use on sheep by dipping and/or jetting.

Diazinon has been under review since 1996. One of the major issues driving the review has been concern about a possible link between the use of diazinon and adverse human health effects on rural workers involved in dipping and/or jetting sheep.

Recent research funded by Australian Wool Innovation Ltd and WoolProducers, and assessed by the Department of Health and Ageing, has confirmed this link.

In June 2006 the APVMA published ‘The reconsideration of approvals of the active constituent diazinon, registrations of products containing diazinon and approval of their associated labels, Part 2, Preliminary Review Findings’ (‘the PRF’). Read the reports and background on the diazion review.

In the PRF the APVMA proposed to find, amongst other things, that it is not satisfied that the labels of diazinon products currently used for dipping and/or jetting sheep, contain adequate instructions to prevent harm to users of the products.

The PRF states that the APVMA proposes to find that in most cases it can be satisfied that with respect to approved uses, labels for the products can be varied in such a way that they do contain adequate instructions, if the major use patterns of hand jetting, shower dipping, automatic spray race and portable/fixed plunge dipping, are removed from the label.

This proposal means that the use of diazinon products on sheep would be limited to backline off-shears treatment and individual animal treatments.

The APVMA requested responses to the PRF by 29 September 2006. Responses we have received highlight the importance of products containing diazinon for the management of lice in the sheep and wool production industry. However, none of the responses contained information or data that are sufficient to alter the basis for the occupational health and safety (OHS) concerns identified in the PRF.

Additional information has recently been generated using cage dipping. This information may enable the APVMA to support cage dipping of sheep, because cage dipping seems to be a safer method of diazinon use. The APVMA encourages continued development of this method.

The APVMA has consulted widely with affected registrants, user groups and the community in relation to this proposed decision. The APVMA is well aware that the proposed findings and outcomes are likely to have a major impact on the ectoparasite management strategies of sheep and wool producers and is keen to work with registrants, user organisations, state regulatory authorities and the community to achieve timely and appropriate regulatory action.

At this stage the APVMA proposes to finalise its decision prior to April 2007.

The APVMA is in the last stages of finalising its decision, but has not yet taken its final regulatory decision. The final decision may be the same as the proposals in the PRF, or it may differ to some degree. When the decision is finalised, the APVMA will write directly to affected registrants and important stakeholders. The APVMA will also release a media statement.

For more information contact:

Media Inquiries

Phone: +61 2 6210 4812
Mobile: +61 467 726 486