Registration of endosulfan cancelled in Australia

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has cancelled the registration of the insecticide 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. A full risk assessment conducted by DSEWPC concluded that these long-term risks could not be mitigated through restrictions on use or variations to label instructions.

Agricultural products containing endosulfan are no longer registered in Australia. The three current approvals for endosulfan have also been cancelled, and the five products containing the chemical will be phased out over the next 2 years. This time period has been imposed because of the relatively limited amounts of endosulfan in use and is in line with phase-out periods imposed by other national regulators who have similarly taken recent action against endosulfan.

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.

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