THE Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has banned the use of the insecticide, omethoate, on grain legumes, cereals, pastures, horticultural crops and food producing plants, including in the home garden.
The product can still be used for insect control on flowers, ornamentals and also as a barrier spray for controlling red-legged earth mite—provided all new labels contain the amended instructions to better protect human health.
Omethoate is a broad-spectrum organophosphorus (OP) insecticide used to control insects and mites. As with all other OP pesticides, omethoate kills mites and insects by interfering with the nervous system. At toxic levels omethoate interferes with the human nervous system.
The decision to limit its use completes the APVMA’s review of omethoate, products containing omethoate and labels.
APVMA executive director for Scientific Assessment and Chemical Review, Dr Matthew O’Mullane, said, following a formal reconsideration process, the weight of scientific evidence in relation to toxicology, occupational health and safety and residues—including dietary exposure and trade—meant most omethoate uses would be removed due to health and safety concerns.
“Most previously allowed uses posed unacceptable risks to workers and the public through occupational or dietary exposure,” Dr O’Mullane said.
“A 12-month phase-out period will allow stocks of existing products to be used up and any new labels will need to carry the new safety directions and first aid instructions to protect workers and those re-entering treated areas.”
Products with labels showing uses now no longer allowed can be supplied for a period of 12 months until December 1, 2017, after which all omethoate products sold must have labels which show the currently approved uses.
Grower groups and the nursery industry were consulted during the review and their views were considered before the final regulatory decision was made.
The impact on growers is expected to be minimal as registered alternative chemicals are available for every use now removed as a result of the review, and the 12-month phase-out period for products with old labels will give people the chance to use up old stock.