January 13, 2011
Download Report: Australia’s Most Dangerous Pesticides
The National Toxics Network and WWF-Australia have released a list of Australia’s Most Dangerous Pesticides, more than 80 of which are prohibited overseas because of the risks they pose to human health and the environment. The list includes 17 chemicals that are known, likely or probable carcinogens, and 48 chemicals flagged as having the potential to interfere with hormones. More than 20 have been classified as either extremely or highly hazardous by the World Health Organisation yet remain available for use on Australian farms.
The list is evidence that Australia’s pesticide regulatory system is failing to keep people and the environment safe from dangerous pesticides. European pesticides regulation is founded on the precautionary principle designed to protect human health and the environment before profits. As a result many dangerous pesticides have been removed from the market. Governments are supporting programs for farmers to switch to biological approaches to farming instead of relying on pesticides.
In Australia, pesticides that are suspected of causing cancer, hormone disruption and other health and environmental problems can remain on the market for years posing an ongoing danger to Australians and our environmen
The pesticides regulator, the APVMA, must surely recognise that while Australia may have unique wildlife and different farming conditions, the toxicology of these dangerous pesticides is the still the same. If smoking causes cancer in the US, it will also cause cancer in Australia – it’s the carcinogens that matter not the country. If a pesticide is too dangerous to use in Europe, it is too dangerous to use in Australia.
The list demonstrates just how far Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world. It’s time for us to catch up and give Australian farmers and consumers safer and better choices.
Jo Immig, National Toxics Network, Coordinator, 02 6687 1900, 0413 683 782