Tasmanian Times


Environment and Public Health groups welcome Endosulfan ban

Environment Tasmania and Dr Alison Bleaney from the Break O’Day Catchment Risk Group and Tasmanian Public and Environmental Health Network (TPEHN), today welcomed the ban by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) on the insecticide endosulfan.

Environment Tasmania and Dr Alison Bleaney from the Break O’Day Catchment Risk Group and Tasmanian Public and Environmental Health Network (TPEHN), today welcomed the ban by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) on the insecticide endosulfan. APVMA earlier this week cancelled the immediate registration of endosulfan following an assessment that prolonged use is likely to lead to adverse environmental effects via spray drift and run-off.

Endosulfan is also a risk to human health even at very low levels including residues found in foods, potentiating diseases such as breast cancer. It is a highly toxic and persistent organic pollutant, an endocrine disrupter specifically mimicking oestrogen and persists in our bodies passing onto the next generation across the placenta and in breast milk.

“This de-registration is a welcome step – and it is important now that State and Federal governments move to tighten up pesticides regulation by restricting the herbicides and pesticides that find their way into our waterways. This includes the triazine group of herbicides, which are already banned in the European Union due to their risks to the environment” said Dr Phill Pullinger, Director of Environment Tasmania. ”

“We are very concerned about the cocktail of pesticides and herbicides that are finding their way into our local water catchments due to aerial spraying, spray-drift and poor regulatory control,” said Dr Alison Bleaney of TPEHN and the Break O Day Catchment Risk Group. “It is critically important our State Government takes a precautionary approach to integrated catchment management across Tasmania including food production and drinking water ” she concluded.

This ban is an immediate turn-about from APVMA which up until now has been advocating for endosulfan’s continued registration for use in Australia. Endosulfan has been banned in over 66 countries and is proposed for a global ban under the Stockholm Convention. India is now the only strong advocate for its continued use.

Environment Tasmania is the peak body for Tasmanian environment & conservation groups – and represents over 20 Tasmanian environment groups with collective representation of over 5000 Tasmanians.

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  1. Russell

    October 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Re #19
    You’re only ten years short of a few thousand years behind then.

    Both you, the Australian Government and the Plague Locust Commission (whoever they are) know exactly what needs to be done, don’t play dumb, and that is listing it as a pesticide to enable importing it in quantity.

    You can buy it now, I’ve got some more on order myself, but it would become cheaper once listed.

  2. Dr Barry Tomkins

    October 16, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Re #18: Yeah, yeah, yeah, -I have been following the neem story on and off for a decade. The fact is, its individual chemicals aren’t available for locust or any other pest control, so perhaps you, a self-proclaimed expert on these matters, could advise the Plague Locust Commission how to carry out their control measures.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  3. Russell

    October 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Re #16 If you know so much about Neem, then you also know that it hasn’t/can’t be listed or sold as a pesticide because certain chemical companies are trying to patent one chemical compound (azardiractin) found in the mix of the known 42 or so chemical compounds which make up Neem, thereby killing off any competition and even making it illegal for Indians (who have used it for thousands of years) to sell it.

    Also, as climate change advances, grasshopper and locust plagues will indeed become a threat to Tasmania due to continued deforestation driving the phenomenon. As I said, prevention is better than cure.

  4. William Boeder

    October 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Dr Barry Tomkins, Atrazine and Sinazine were the chemicals referred to in comment #6 of this article.
    The referred to users, were Forestry overlords AND ‘mass chemical users.’
    By Mass chemical users suggesting the horticultural industry.
    (Your very own past statements were referred to here)

    The mention of ‘forestry overlords and their propensity to overturn most prescribed recommendations toward chemical use.’
    I believe this to be so with most restricted acts purposes and pursuits.
    (See methyl bromide determinations and use by Forestry Tasmania.)
    The practices by this industry “aerial-spraying applications—“for special 5 year issue permits, for aerial spraying applications to all and any chemicals.”
    (Whereas the now recommended departure by the authorities, in the use of such aerial distribution methods.)
    Comment #6 Endolfen article referred to atrazine and simazine.

    (I have not noted the ‘cessation’ of aerial-spraying application to mono-species plantation, nor the notice to halt this preferred method of chemical application?)

    On another related article I sought your advises only, no insinuations to the present intended, as you appear to be the foremost authority in this field in Tasmania?

    If it serves your purposes to use my name as the scapegoat person in regard to most matters of conjecture to chemical-use, overuse, illegal use, improper use etc, then so be it, go for it, if this pleases you and that specific industry that has your full support, namely Forestry Tasmania?

  5. Dr Barry Tomkins

    October 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Re#14,15: If the product from the neem tree was so effective, it would be widely available, since the properties of the tree have been known for a very long time.

    Locust plagues are unlikely to hit Tasmania, unless there was a freak north-westerly that blew the pests all the way. Interesting thought – not difficult to imagine that the majority of Tasmanians (which does not include Russell Langfield) would want immediate control measures.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  6. Russell

    October 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Re #11
    Guilt by association again?

  7. Russell

    October 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Re #13
    Wrong TOMKINS.

    Read the post again. It says “THIS THREAD.”

    Re #12 & #13
    AND, Grasshoppers and locusts actually could and should be sprayed with Neem, a non-toxic natural tree material which effects the next generation’s development. You, like Ghandi, can eat it.

    Non-toxic prevention is better than toxic cure.

  8. Dr Barry Tomkins

    October 15, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Re #10: Wrong yet again, Russell Langfield. On the related thread, ‘Registration of endosulfan cancelled in Australia”, your soul mate William Boeder stated that endosulfan use in Tasmanian forests had been extensive. I pointed out on that thread that he was WRONG, just as your suggestion that I had jumped to conclusions is WRONG. I challenged Boeder to provide evidence – fat chance because there isn’t any.

    Mark #12: I realised you would be aware, but we need to continue to respond to people who have such scant regard for truth.

    I have twice at least on other threads pointed out the provisions that the NSW and Victorian Governments and the Plague Locust Commission were making to try to circumvent the potential for the worst locust plague for decades. I quote again from a NSW government press release: ‘The $18.5 million will be spent on providing enough insecticide to treat more than half a million hectares, placing 40 aircraft on standby over the spring and summer, and having 100 field staff ready if needed’.

    That is approximately 1.5 times the current annual expenditure on all pesticides used in plantation forestry nationally, and it is all on insecticides! whereas most forestry expenditure is on herbicides. Victoria is making similarly large provisions to control the locust outbreak – spraying has already commenced in the NW of the State, as it has in NSW, and is mostly aerial.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  9. Mark Wybourne

    October 14, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Re 9: Barry. I know. They said Forestry did (unusual for them to get a fact wrong). Too hard to dissaude them.

    Anyhow, notice that no-one commented on the two-faced attitude re the grasshopper / locust spraying.

  10. hugoagogo

    October 14, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Russel, at post 10;

    You’ve insinuated the same by the content of post 6.

    Protesteth not much?

  11. Russell

    October 14, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Re #9
    Once again Tomkins has jumped to conclusions and been the ONLY person in this thread to have in any way linked endosulfan with forestry activities.


  12. Dr Barry Tomkins

    October 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Re #3, Mark, to the best of my knowledge and evidence, endosulfan has never been a forestry insecticide. I wrote a forestry pesticide set of manuals back in about 1994 and one volume listed all the chemicals and products that were used. Endosulfan was not in that comprehensive listing. I have not heard of its use in forestry since. It was also not in a couple of manuals including the South Australian manual dating back to the 1980’s.

    In short, endosulfan was not, and I believe never has been in Australia, a forestry pesticide.

    On another related thread, I pointed this out to William Boeder, who claimed ‘extensive’ use of endosulfan in Tasmanian plantations. I challenged him to produce evidence but, not surprisingly, to no avail. It would make a change if William, Or Russell Langfield or J A Stevenson would display some grace and acknowledge certain of their claims have been false, when the evidence has clearly contradicted their beliefs.

    But I think I just saw a flight of animals with trotters flying overhead.

    Dr Barry Tomkins

  13. john hayward

    October 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I think Mark Wybourne #3 provides the definitive expression of forest science thinking when he apparently declares that any inference of a connection between aerial spraying of a chemical and the detection of that chemical downwind is “absolutely incorrect”.

    It’s the counter-intuitive stuff that we lay-persons just don’t get.

    John Hayward

  14. William Boeder

    October 14, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Russell #6.
    I would like to see this occur of course, but are any of the regulators around the world aware of the reasoning, that should they try to do this, it will quite possibly be over-turned, or even ignored, by the forestry overlords and mass chemical users in Tasmania?

  15. Russell

    October 13, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Hopefully it’s just the start. Atrazine and Simazine next.

  16. sanguine

    October 13, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    It is the reason why Atrazine was banned in the EU – atrazine’s long term effects in the environment and its potential to contaminate ground water. It is the reason Syngenta claim that it was not banned because it was harmful to humans.

    ‘risks to human health was not a factor’. They are regulators put in place to protect the public – human health for heaven’s sake!

    But surely this must set some sort of precedent. If they ban endosulfan (cancel its registration) to protect the environment, then they can cancel the registration of atrazine and other toxic chemicals for the same reason – following the reasoning of the EU.

  17. Alison Bleaney

    October 13, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    #3 – the EU came out strongly in 2009 and stated that aerial spraying of pesticides was responsible for most off-site drift of pesticides. That does therefore mean contamination of non-target sites. Maybe you would like to take this point up with the EU.
    Does aerial spraying of pesticides equate to contamination of non-target sites? Unfortunately the answer is often a yes.
    Dr Alison Bleaney

  18. Mark Wybourne

    October 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    What amuses me is that this is the first pesticide blog that I have seen on the site, since the announcement to spray, what, about 1 million hectares of pasture and scrub in NSW, SA and VIC to control insect pests.

    Obviously not of concern (NIMBYOTIC??) to the normal contributors to this site. Must mean that it is ok to spray your plants with toxic chemicals to stop them getting destroyed by insects, but only so long as it is a food crop. God forbid that a plant that is not edible be treated with a less toxic chemical to stop it being destroyed.

    Hmmm…. shades of irony (or is it that saying that has two and faced and ***** in it???)

    Also, the above article, which I agree in the main with (why didn’t other industries follow forestries lead and stop using endo years ago?), there is a statement that strongly infers aerial spraying equals contamination. Absolutely incorrect, and most likely a simple error on the part of the author. However, this is simply not the case, as exempliifed by that recent case where there accusations that off-site spray drift from aeral spraying had occurred, yet numerous tests clearly illustrated that this was not the case. And remember, the testing was good enough to identify the contaminant on submitted ‘infected’ clothing for testing was actually house hold insect spray (funny that).

  19. alan

    October 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    By allowing mixtures of chemicals to be applied without testing the toxicity of that combination of chemicals is a damning failure in the system.

  20. David Obendorf

    October 13, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Australia’s chemical regulator again belatedly and reluctantly bans a toxic biocide but will still allow it’s use for another two years while Australian stocks are used up.

    The APVMA is not just the statutory regulator on the use of such toxic chemicals, it is the gatekeeper that prevents change until the very last moment.

    Where is the pro-active leadership and independent research assessment capability in this organisation?

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