Australia: horticulture industry wants pesticide submission extension
An Australian Government report has raised environmental concerns over the use of weed-killing herbicide 'Diuron', also known as Di-on, Crisuron, Diater, Karmex and Unidron in different parts of the world.
Australia's horticultural industry is calling for an extension period for review submissions before the product's potential ban, media agency the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medcines Authority (APVMA) released an environmental health assessment paper for diuron, citing 'unacceptable risks' to aquatic organisms and some bird species.
"Diuron’s persistence in the terrestrial environment, and its demonstrated mobility, means that risks to aquatic organisms from off-farm runoff are potentially high. This concern is heightened by the demonstrated persistence and very high toxicity of the main metabolites (based on a very small dataset) to algae an aquatic plants," the report said.
"Based on available information, application rates indicative of broadacre use (up to 3.6 kg ac/ha) result in an acceptable acute risk to birds. However, at higher rates as used for rights of way, industrial and commercial uses, and for weed control in irrigation channels and drainage ditches, the acute risk to birds is considered unacceptable.
"Based on current knowledge, these high application rate use patterns should be discontinued due to unacceptable risk to birds."
The APVMA says there are currently 100 registered products that contain diuron, which is used for a variety of agricultural crops including bananas, pawpaws, pineapples, apples, pears, asparagus, citrus fruits, grapes, coffee, sugarcane, wheat, barley and oats.
The authority also published a human health report, which did not reveal any 'exposure-induced clinical problems', but did find cases of liver injury in chronic tests with mice.
As the APVMA's review process continues, Growcom chief advocate Rachel Mackenzie says the horticultural industry needs more time to look at the science of the issue and respond, the ABC reported.
"We always accept the decision of the regulator, it's important they assess the scientific data and they make a valid scientic response," Mackenzie was quoted as saying.
"That said, we are asking for extension to the date of which information can be provided to them as we believe there is further information that can be provided by industry to perhaps influence their decision."
While the product has been banned in Sweden for health reasons, while restrictions apply in otherp arts of continental Europe, the U.K., Canada and the U.S. In 1996 Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) stopped using diuron to control weeds on railway lines, due to irrigation water contamination claims.
Photo: Thinking Australia