Interim review report
In September 1999, the APVMA released the Fenitrothion interim review report, which outlined the key findings of the review to that date. The APVMA concluded that considerable additional environmental, occupational health and safety, and residues data were needed to address concerns about the potential risks that the use of fenitrothion posed to human health, birds and aquatic invertebrates. Registrants were given up to three years to generate the required data.
As an interim measure, the APVMA recommended a number of variations to existing use patterns and product labels so that the use of fenitrothion could continue. The conditions were introduced in January 2001 to minimise chemical handling and worker exposure to fenitrothion and to reduce the potential for the contamination of water bodies.
The conditions included:
- requiring the use of enclosed cabs to protect manual flaggers in aerial spraying operations
- creating no-spray buffer zones around water bodies
- limiting the application rates and frequency of use of fenitrothion
- deleting the use of fenitrothion in tobacco (for the control of grasshopper and white fly)
- restricting the use of fenitrothion for the control of locusts/grasshoppers to vines, apples, cabbages, cherries, grapes, lettuce, soybeans and tomatoes
- increasing withholding periods for harvesting (14 days) and grazing (7 days)
- reducing maximum residue limits (MRLs).
These conditions continued to remain in force at the time this summary was prepared (July 2007).
The APVMA would not register any new fenitrothion products for use in the home garden, or register fenitrothion formulations other than emulsifiable concentrates (EC) or ultra-low-volume (ULV) preparations unless it is satisfied that all concerns identified in the interim review have been fully addressed.
Draft review report
In March 2004, the APVMA released the Fenitrothion draft review report, which considered all regulatory action taken since the release of the interim report and included assessments of additional data that had been provided to the APVMA since the interim report.
The APVMA found that by making a number of changes to label instructions, including removing some use patterns, the potential risks could be reduced or eliminated and the use of fenitrothion could continue.
The APVMA also found that the continued use of fenitrothion in ground boom and handheld applications posed an unacceptable risk to workers. Therefore, those application methods, in the case of both EC and ULV formulations, were to be deleted from labels.
In the 2004 report, the APVMA proposed:
- deleting the use pattern for ground and handheld ULV applications (except grain treatment), the treatment of surfaces, structures and sheds, pastures, horticultural crops (apples, cabbages, cherries, grapes, lettuce, soybeans and tomatoes), and EC formulations on broadacre crops
- deleting the term ‘forage crops’ from product labels
- amending ULV formulation product labels to include more accurate definitions of buffer zones, application techniques, and precautionary statements
- varying withholding periods for ULV formulations
- increasing buffer zones to 1500 metres or more upwind of water bodies when using the ULV formulation by air to control locusts/grasshoppers.
The APVMA will issue a final report once the assessment of all available data is completed.