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WWF welcomes ban of toxic pesticide endosulfan

Tuesday 2 November 2010

PesticidesFrom WWF:

WWF welcomes ban of toxic pesticide endosulfan

13 Oct 2010

WWF today [Wednesday 13 October] commended the decision by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to finally end use of the toxic insecticide endosulfan in Australia.

Yesterday’s [Tuesday 12 October] decision was based on endosulfan’s harmful environmental effects and means the chemical will be immediately deregistered and existing stocks phased out of use on Australian horticulture, cotton and macadamia nut crops within two years.

"Australia is finally catching up with more than 60 other countries that have already decided to ban this toxic chemical, namely the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Europe," said WWF-Australia spokesperson Juliette King.

"It seems Australia's pesticide regulator was starting to feel the heat defending a chemical known to be dangerous, especially to the health of farmers."

WWF is critical of the APVMA for not acknowledging the human health risks of endosulfan, particularly as a loophole allows use of existing stock for up to two years.

The US Environment[al] Protection Agency recently concluded that endosulfan can cause neurological damage and reproductive complications in farm workers.

"Endosulfan is a very nasty poison, but there are many other dangerous pesticides still posing unacceptable risks to Australian farmers and wildlife," Ms King said. "We need better processes to ensure the faster removal of pesticides when they are known to be dangerous."

The APVMA has been reviewing the safety of at least eight dangerous chemicals for more than 13 years, although they remain on shelves in the meantime.

The insecticide fenitrothion, one of the chemicals to be sprayed over large parts of the country to control an impending locust plague, has been under review by the APVMA since 1996 because of concerns about its human health effects.

Following the APVMA’s announcement, WWF today called on new Environment Minister Tony Burke to accelerate deregistration of clearly dangerous chemicals, as promised in his previous role as Agricultural Minister.

"We remind the Labor Party of their pre-election commitment to reform Australia’s pesticides laws to deliver systemic and widespread reform, as opposed to one offs like this," said Ms King. "The promised reform will better protect humans and the environment from the impacts of pesticides by putting the onus back on chemical companies to prove their products remain safe."

Read the APVMA’s announcement here
For more information: Rachael Hoy, WWF-Australia Press Office, 0407 204 594, 
Juliette King, WWF Conservation Policy Officer, 0438 864 997.

The above originally appeared here.



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