Chlorpyrifos

Overview

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide used to control a wide range of insect pests, including agricultural pest insects, ants, termites and mosquitos. Products containing chlorpyrifos were initially approved for use in and around the home, in home gardens, in public spaces, and in agriculture. Regulatory actions taken during the current reconsideration have limited the use patterns to reduce exposure to bystanders and householders.

Regulatory action on chlorpyrifos

In 2001–02, based on the information available at the time, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) removed high-concentration chlorpyrifos products for home garden and domestic use from sale in Australia based on unacceptable risk of exposure.

In 2019, the APVMA suspended and subsequently cancelled domestic and home garden uses of chlorpyrifos products based on the environmental and health impacts of these products. Holders of products that included both home garden and agricultural uses were given 12 months to vary their labels to remove domestic and home garden uses.

In 2020, the APVMA cancelled the remaining product registrations and label approvals of products that included a combination of home garden and agricultural uses.

The reconsideration of agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos is ongoing. Further details of the ongoing reconsideration can be found on our website.

Currently registered chlorpyrifos products can continue to be used according to the label directions.

Information for users

What has changed?

As a result of the suspension and cancellation of the use of certain chlorpyrifos products with registered uses in domestic, home garden and public spaces in 2019 and 2020, most uses in domestic and urban situations are no longer allowed.

Chlorpyrifos products can only be used according to current label instructions with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Following the safety and use directions on the label allows you to control and mitigate exposure.

Which products are affected? Where do I find alternatives?

A full list of products affected by regulatory actions to date is available in an APVMA Special Gazette 24 June 2019 and  APVMA Gazette No. 15, 28 July 2020. There is a wide range of alternatives to chlorpyrifos products. Contact your local retailer to discuss alternative options. Other products can also be found using the APVMA’s PubCRIS product search tool. You can filter the search by pest, host and product type.

How do I dispose of affected chlorpyrifos products?

Always follow the label instructions for the proper disposal of chemicals and their containers.

Your local state or territory agricultural chemical regulator can provide advice on disposal.

You can also contact ChemClear (1800 008 182) for advice on disposal of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

What happens next?

The APVMA is currently assessing whether the remaining registered chlorpyrifos products continue to meet the safety, efficacy, trade and labelling criteria in accordance with the Agvet Code. When the APVMA has completed its assessments, a proposed regulatory decision will be published. Following the publication of the proposed regulatory decision, a 3-month consultation period will allow affected stakeholders and members of the public to comment on the outcome of the assessments and proposed decision.

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