Final fenthion review decision

16 October 2014
Reference Code: 
2014-02

Most products containing the chemical fenthion are now cancelled bringing to a close the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s reconsideration of this chemical.

A final report, published by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (the APVMA) today, outlines the reasons for the final decision and takes into account submissions from governments, growers and the community. It brings together the outcomes of all risk assessments done to date, including toxicology, residues in food, worker exposure and environmental effects.

All horticultural uses except for post-harvest dipping of tropical and subtropical inedible peel fruits are now cancelled. Products used to control cattle lice and other pest control and home garden products are also cancelled. This follows previous regulatory actions taken by the APVMA in October 2012 to restrict uses of fenthion products in food production.

The APVMA is allowing a phase-out period of 12 months to enable use of cancelled products. The current instructions for use of the horticultural product (that apply by permits) will continue during this time period. This phase-out period is consistent with the recommendation of the recent Senate Inquiry.

The decision

The APVMA has decided to:

  • vary the label of the horticultural product Lebaycid Insecticide Spray to delete all uses except post-harvest dipping of tropical and subtropical inedible peel fruits
  • vary the label of the pest control 1% fenthion dust to delete all uses except in cracks and crevices
  • cancel the cattle lice control product Tiguvon Spot-on Cattle Lice Insecticide
  • cancel all other pest control and home garden products containing fenthion.

Consultation

The decision follows a final round of consultation (closed 22 August 2014) based on the preliminary review findings, which were published in May 2014.

A total of 15 submissions were received with no additional information or scientific data submitted for consideration. Following assessment of the submissions, the APVMA determined that the proposals put forward did not sufficiently reduce the risks associated with fenthion.

More information about the fenthion review process, as well as responses to issues raised, can be found in the submission and additional information provided to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee.

Background

Fenthion is a broad spectrum organophosphorus (OP) insecticide. It was previously registered for use on a range of horticultural crops, including apples, avocado, capsicums, cucurbits, custard apples, grapes, mangoes, paw paw, pears, tomatoes, stone fruit and ornamentals. Fenthion products were first registered more than 40 years ago under the state-based approval processes, prior to the establishment of the APVMA.

The review of fenthion commenced in late 1998 based on environment, human health, residues in food and trade concerns. The potential removal of the use of fenthion on certain crops has been known to the agricultural industry for several years and the review has gone through many phases to allow industry to generate and submit data to support the possible continued use of the chemical.

For more information about the fenthion review visit the APVMA website.

Further information: Virginia Stanhope | Director, Public Affairs | 0467 726 486 | media@apvma.gov.au /ENDS

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