In 1984, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council identified EDB as a significant health risk following a review of data that established it as a potent carcinogen in rats and mice. The council recommended that all uses of EDB where worker exposure could not be prevented should be phased out.
In 1994, the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Joint Meeting on Pesticides reviewed the toxicology of EDB and concluded that ‘an exposure that would not cause adverse effects in humans after any route of exposure could not be estimated’. The meeting recommended that ‘all appropriate measures should be taken to eliminate or minimize human exposure to 1,2-dibromoethane [EDB]’.
In 1996, the APVMA (then the NRA) began a review of EDB following advice from the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and Health and the then Department of Health and Family Services. The committee recommended that the use of EDB as an agricultural fumigant be discontinued as soon as practicable.
EDB has been listed as a chemical subject to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (the Rotterdam Convention). Australia became a party to the convention on 18 August 2004.