At the APVMA it’s all about the science!

16 August 2016

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (the APVMA) is Australia’s regulator of agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals.

Every agvet chemical for sale in Australia has been through a robust scientific assessment to make sure it can be used safely by farmers, veterinarians and the general community.

We look at scientific data to assess:

  • impacts on human health and safety
  • impacts on non-target and native plants and animals
  • worker health and safety
  • residues in crops and food producing animals
  • whether it is effective and works as intended.

What is scientific assessment?

When an application for a chemical product comes into the APVMA we look at the evidence provided by scientific studies and data and the proposed uses. We examine the full range of risks by assessing both the scientific merit and the integrity of the data and asking whether identified risks can be managed when the chemical is used in a product.

If a product is registered for use in Australia, this means the APVMA has scientifically assessed that it can be used safely provided the instructions for safety and use are followed.

The simple rule is ‘always follow the safety and use directions on the label’ to minimise exposure to the chemical product

This approach is consistent with best practice among international regulators and uses international scientific standards set by bodies such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the World Health Organisation.

New science

Our team of expert in-house scientists and affiliated academics consult and collaborate with scientists in universities, the chemical industry and innovators around the world.

Over recent years the APVMA has been a leader in developing scientific assessment approaches for significant new areas of science, in both agriculture and animal husbandry, including:

  • nanotechology
  • RNA interference (RNAi)
  • gene-drive technology.

New scientific evidence

New studies, assessment reports and scientific opinions about agvet chemical which are already on the market are generated regularly. The APVMA analyses and evaluates all new information based on the scientific merits before deciding on whether to take regulatory action.

Science is safety

Because the full range of risks are considered during the registration process human exposure is minimised provided the use and safety directions on the label are followed.

If the product says to wear protective clothing, such as gloves and a mask, or not to use it for food producing animals, this means that after scientific assessment the product can be used safely provided these instructions are followed.

Not all chemicals are the same. The safety and use instructions on every product are designed to protect people from the risk associated with that particular chemical product. The type of active ingredient in the product, other chemicals in the product and the formulation or type of product—such as spray, powder or liquid—are all considered by scientists at the APVMA before the product is registered.

The science is in the safety directions—always read and follow them.

You can download the factsheet here.

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