On the 12th of October, 2010, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced the immediate cancellation of all product registrations and label approvals for all insecticides containing endosulfan.
This decision follows a recent assessment of new information by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC) that the prolonged use of endosulfan is likely to lead to adverse environmental effects via spray drift and run-off.
Whilst the cancellation took effect from 12 October, the APVMA has put in place a two-year phase-out period for endosulfan use. This means that until 12 October, 2012, existing stocks of endosulfan can be sold and used according to label instructions. After this date, the possession, sale and use of endosulfan products will become an offence.
Risks to human health were not a factor in the APVMA decision. While recent and emerging toxicological data was assessed by the Office of Chemical Safety and Environmental Health, it has been determined that the current regulatory regime has been effective in managing these risks.
Some of the new environmental data on which the APVMA’s decision is based emerged following the recent nomination of endosulfan to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). This nomination focussed more attention on endosulfan and produced a large volume of new information on its environmental fate and effects. Endosulfan has already been banned in more than 60 countries.
For cotton there are numerous alternatives to endosulfan. For summer grains/pulses, all post emergent endosulfan registrations have previously been banned and alternatives are already being used. However, some of these options are not as selective as endosulfan, particularly the synthetic pyrethroids. This highlights the need for new alternative pesticides for sucking pests in particular, that are at least as or more selective than endosulfan. More selective sucking pest options would greatly assist in the management of problematic pests such as SLW and aphids.
Follow the link to the APVMA website to read the press release and more background information on which the APVMA has based its decision.