Phorate—priority 4

Chemical class Organophosphorus insecticide
Chemical Structure Chemical structure of Phorate
CAS Number 298-02-2
Mode of action 1B – Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors
Target pests Sucking insects
Hosts Cotton, various ornamentals and vegetables
Formulations Granular
Home garden use No
No of Australian Approvals and Registrations 2 active constituents, 5 products
Poison schedule Schedule 7
Australian Health-based guidance values

ADI: 0.0005 mg/kg bw per day (1991)

No Australian ARfD established

Key issues

  • If residues are present at the level of MRLs, estimated dietary intake of residues exceeds the JMPR ARfD (which is the same as the EFSA ARfD; Australia has no ARfD established). Phorate is not approved in the EU; there were data gaps to address concerns about dietary risks.
  • There are no concerns with chronic dietary exposure when compared to the Australian ADI.
  • Degradates of phorate are persistent and mobile in the environment, and are highly toxic to invertebrates and birds. Canada is phasing out phorate products owing to unacceptable risk to wild animals and birds.

Stakeholder perspective

  • Phorate is highly important for pest management in tomato, eggplant, capsicum, shallots and spring onions. No alternative chemicals are available for some uses in vegetable crops.
  • It is used to control wireworm and early season mites, aphids, leafhopper and thrips in cotton. No effective alternative pesticides are available. No insect resistance to phorate has been reported.

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