Inorganic Arsenic

Inorganic arsenic occurs in many minerals and is widely distributed in rocks, soils and sediments. In minerals, the highest arsenic concentrations generally occur as the sulphide or oxide, or as the arsenides of copper, lead, silver or gold.

There are no products containing inorganic arsenic registered for use in crops or food-producing animals

Inorganic arsenic review

Status: review completed

In December 1997 the APVMA (formerly the NRA) began a review of inorganic arsenic because of toxicological, exposure and public health concerns. Of particular concern was the strong evidence linking human skin and lung cancer with occupational exposure to inorganic arsenic.

The scope of the review was revised to include only those products containing arsenic that were intended for use on food-producing species. This reduced the number of products involved in the review to one veterinary product (Potties Blood Tonic) and one agricultural product (Country Arsenite 567 Herbicide).

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) advised the APVMA and the registrants that the continued use of inorganic arsenic in products used in food-producing species or for use as a herbicide in areas used to grow food could not be supported on toxicological grounds, without further information being generated.

The APVMA requested more information from the registrants to show that their products would not pose an undue risk to human health. The registrants did not provide this information and advised the APVMA that they would not be renewing the registration of their respective products from June 1999.

The APVMA completed the Inorganic Arsenic Special Review in May 1999 but did not publish a final report due to the small number of registrants involved.

As an outcome of the review, the APVMA cancelled the registration of Country Arsenite 567 Herbicide on 1 July 1999 and set a period of two years for the remaining stocks to be sold. The APVMA also withdrew the uses for inorganic arsenic in all food-producing animals.

APVMA inorganic arsenic archive

Title Date
Gazette Notice – cancellation notice* May 1999
Gazette Notice – commencement of review* Dec 1997

* Contact the APVMA for copies of this document.


For more information contact:

Chemical Review

Phone: +61 2 6210 4749

Fax: +61 2 6210 4776


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