APVMA changing the rules on FENTHION use

Residents would remember the incident in late 2011 in Thompson Road, Greenbank, in which a large number of native birds, as well as domestic fowl, were killed following spraying on an intensive horticulture farm.  It made the front page of the Jimboomba Times on September 7, 2011.   Testing on some of these dead birds revealed that they had been poisoned with FENTHION ETHYL.

The APVMA has just released its latest update, which includes a proposal to suspend the use of Fenthion because ‘there is potential for short-term dietary exposure of young children to be at levels above the relevant public health standard’.   Note under the heading ‘Fenthion review’ the statement: “Fenthion is a broad spectrum organophosphorus (OP) insecticide. Fenthion is used to control insect pests in agricultural, commercial and domestic situations and external parasites on cattle. Fenthion is also used to control pest birds in and around buildings.”  Yes, well OUR ‘pest birds’ certainly were ‘controlled’. The full report, with links, is below.  Excellent timing for us in our struggle.  I wonder what Mr ‘heavily regulated’ Livingstone from Growcom would make of this? Perhaps the APVMA are ‘farmer-haters’ too?

Regulatory Update #157
13 September 2012

Proposed suspension of some fenthion uses

The APVMA is proposing to suspend a number of uses of fenthion, a chemical used to control fruit fly and other insects, following release of a new report Fenthion—Residues and dietary risk assessment report (PDF, 882kb) | (RTF, 1.86Mb) on Tuesday, 11 September 2012, showing there is potential for short-term dietary exposure of young children to be at levels above the relevant public health standard.

The report recommends removal of a number of uses such as pre-harvest uses of fenthion on apples, pears, citrus, loquats, quince, stonefruit, pepinos, eggplant and tomatoes and post-harvest uses on fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes. Uses on all food crops in the home garden may also be suspended.

Information is requested that may assist in developing suspension instructions. Relevant information should be provided to the APVMA by 25 September 2012.

Further information:

  • View the list of proposed suspensions and allowed uses
  • Fenthion review
  • Frequently asked questions about the fenthion review and

    UPDATE 18 SEPTEMBER, 2012

    Ag chemical could expose kidsWednesday, 12 September 2012 
    AN AGRICULTURAL chemical used to control fruit fly and other insects could be banned from use on some fruit and vegetables in Australia after a study showed it could expose children to high residue levels.The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority is proposing to suspend several uses of fenthion.There are currently eight registered products containing fenthion and the two used for food producing plants are affected by the proposal.The APVMA is proposing to suspend the pre-harvest use of fenthion on commercially grown apples, pears, citrus, figs, grapes, loquats, quince, stonefruit, pepinos, eggplant and tomatoes.

    Post-harvest use of the chemical on fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes is also proposed, along with use of the chemical on all home gardens.

    APVMA’s pesticides program manager Raj Bhula said a report on residues and dietary exposure showed 2–6 year old children eating the mentioned fruits and vegetables treated with fenthion may be exposed to residues higher than the public health standard.

    The APVMA says fruit and vegetables already purchased are safe to eat because safety margins are built in to protect consumers

    “As the regulator, it is the APVMA’s responsibility to ensure that agricultural chemicals can continue to be used safely,” Bhula said.

    “These findings are a trigger to take action to ensure that consumers remain protected.”

    The APVMA is now seeking information from industry and grower groups that may assist in developing suspension instructions.

    Relevant information about the use of fenthion should be provided to the APVMA by September 25.

    If regulatory action such as suspension is taken, it will take effect by the end of October 2012, before the start of the main season for stonefruit and table grapes.

    According to the APVMA there are several alternatives to fenthion and permit applications for fenthion alternatives will be given priority until September 25.

    For more information visit http://www.apvma.gov.au/products/review/current/fenthion_faq.php

    proposed suspensions.

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