The toxicology assessment for dimethoate was published in January 2011 and the residues and dietary risk assessment report was published in August 2011.
The August 2011 residues and dietary risk assessment report determined that the use of dimethoate on many crops could result in dietary exposures that exceeded the Australian health standard (the acute reference dose). The APVMA announced that it proposed to suspend dimethoate products to issue new instructions for their use that mitigated the identified dietary risks and invited public submissions regarding this proposal.
On 6 October 2011 the APVMA finished its assessment of the public submissions and suspended all products containing dimethoate and issued new instructions that no longer allowed the use of dimethoate on a number of food crops due to unacceptable dietary risks. The suspension has since been extended to 5 October 2016. The suspension prohibits:
- use of dimethoate on certain horticultural crops with changes to withholding periods and conditions of use for other crops
- use on all food-producing plants in the home garden>
- supply and possession of dimethoate products unless they carry the new instructions for use.
The following restrictions were applied to all dimethoate products as part of the suspension:
Home garden products: DO NOT use on food producing plants in the home garden.
Agricultural products Permit PER13155 : DO NOT USE as a foliar, post harvest or quarantine treatment on:
- Tropical or subtropical edible peel fruit [babacos, carambolas (Five Corner), figs and edible peel varieties of guavas, kiwifruit and persimmons]
- Pome fruit [apples, loquats, pears, quinces]
- Stone fruit after petal fall [apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, apricot]
- Grapes after commencement of flowering
- Berry fruit (other than blackberries, raspberries, bilberries, blueberries and other vaccinium berries)
- Strawberries (except strawberry runners – vegetative planting material only)
- Cucurbits (other than melons, watermelons and zucchini)
- Vegetables other than those listed below.
Dimethoate may be used on artichoke (globe), asparagus, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage (drumhead varieties only),capsicums, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chilli, peas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, onion, parsnips, radish, rhubarb, sweetcorn, tomatoes for processing, tomatoes (large field grown for fresh consumption, prior to commencement of flowering), turnip and zucchini,
Certain dimethoate products have had the suspension of their registrations revoked to allow the approval of new labels that have instructions consistent with the suspension instructions.
On 7 March 2013, the occupational health and safety assessment component of the human health risk assessment of dimethoate was completed and published. This assessment was prepared by the Office of Chemical Safety.
The APVMA plans to publish Preliminary Review Findings for dimethoate and then seek comments and information that may be used to refine the toxicology, occupational health and safety and residues assessments prior to finalising the review. This may include any available studies, as well as descriptions of work practices such as application rates per hectare and hectares treated per day. We will also consider any proposals to amend label directions to address any identified concerns.