Public consultation—changes to dimethoate safety and use instructions

26 October 2016

Following an extensive public consultation process the APVMA is seeking comments from industry, farmers, grower groups and the community before finalising proposed changes to the use of dimethoate.

A comprehensive review of a variety of scientific data and use pattern information, along with analysis of submissions from growers and industry, has now been completed by the APVMA and the proposed regulatory decision has been released for public comment.

Dr Matthew O’Mullane, Executive Director of Scientific Assessment and Chemical Review said we received a lot of high quality information from industry, farmers and grower groups to support uses in a range of crops which otherwise might have been removed—this is a great example of cooperation between the regulator, industry and farmers.

After consideration of the scientific evidence in relation to toxicology, occupational health and safety and residues—including dietary exposure and trade—we are proposing to:

  • cancel the registrations of home garden products which have concentrations of 100 grams per litre of dimethoate, or greater
  • vary the instructions for use of agricultural products with concentrations of 400 grams per litre of dimethoate, to delete or amend certain use patterns, amend safety directions and add re-entry intervals on product labels
  • vary the particulars of registration for dimethoate products with a 400 grams per litre concentration, to remove pack sizes of 1 litre or less
  • maintain approvals for the active constituent dimethoate with minor amendments to the standard and no changes to the existing impurity limit
  • maintain dimethoate product registrations provided the necessary changes to label instructions and particulars are made
  • allow a period for use of existing stocks with affected labels
  • amend the maximum residue limits (MRLs) for dimethoate in the APVMA MRL standard once the period for use of varied labels has ended.

‘It is important to manage the risks to human health through dietary and occupational exposure to dimethoate and for this reason we are proposing to remove use patterns for certain crops where there is insufficient residues data to confirm their safe use,’ Dr O’Mullane said.

‘We are also proposing amendments to the safety directions and first aid instructions for agricultural product labels and to add re-entry periods to protect workers re-entering treated areas.’

The review, or reconsideration, of dimethoate commenced in 2004. During this period industry and grower groups were required to submit relevant data and between 2006 and 2012 additional information for a range of crops, over a number of growing seasons, was provided to the APVMA.

In 2011 the APVMA acted to remove some uses of dimethoate to protect human health following a residues report which found acute dietary exposures were too high. Following the 2011 decision, additional data was provided by industry and grower groups to support safe uses in some crops. Consultation has been undertaken at each decision point.

The Proposed Regulatory Decision report is now available and submissions are invited from interested parties until 24 January 2017.

Consultation on this report

Farmers and other user groups are encouraged to provide any additional information which they consider helpful to further refine the findings or to propose changes to the instructions for use.

Dr O’Mullane said growers and nursery industry representatives can put in a submission to identify uses which could be included, and to include any supporting information for safe use.

‘Raising any issues with us now, means we can consider them as part of finalising the regulatory decision,’ Dr O’Mullane said.

Grower groups and the nursery industry were consulted during the development of this proposed regulatory decision and this consultation provides a further opportunity to comment before the APVMA decision is finalised in March 2017.

Alternative chemicals

There are registered alternative chemicals available for most of the uses that are proposed to be removed.

About dimethoate

Dimethoate is a broadspectrum organophosphorus (OP) insecticide used to control insects and mites in the home garden, horticulture and broadacre cropping.

As with all other OP pesticides, dimethoate kills mites and insects by interfering with the nervous system. At toxic levels, dimethoate interferes with the human nervous system. Safety standards are set well below toxic levels to protect product users and the community.

More information about the dimethoate review and consultation process can be found on the APVMA website.

Further information: Virginia Stanhope | Director, Public Affairs | 0467 726 486 | media@apvma.gov.au

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