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National regulator changes label instructions for the use of fenthion

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has issued new instructions that restrict the use of fenthion on a number of food crops due to potential short term dietary risks.

The announcement follows the release of the 2012 Fenthion Residues and Dietary Risk Assessment Report in September which found that its use on many crops could exceed the recommended public health standard.

New label instructions reduce the amount of fenthion that can be used on some crops, and prohibit its use on specific fruits and vegetables, which mitigates the potential health risks identified in the residues report.

The new instructions also prohibit the use of fenthion on all fruit and vegetables grown in the home garden.

When a regulator makes a finding relating to the potential health risks to the population, the community expects that immediate action is taken, which we have done by suspending specific uses today, said Dr Raj Bhula, Pesticides Program Manager.

We understand that some user industries may find it difficult to adjust to the restricted uses of this chemical, which is why we have been consulting broadly with these groups.

The APVMA received over 70 submissions in response to the proposed suspension and publication of the residues report in September.

Information provided by grower groups during the review has enabled us to allow temporary restrictions on some uses that would otherwise have been removed, said Dr Bhula.

The new use instructions will be in place for 12 months while the environment and occupational health and safety components of the review are completed.

The new use instructions and answers to frequently asked questions about the fenthion suspension are available at www.apvma.gov.au.

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