2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)
2,4-D is a systemic herbicide used post emergence for the control of broadleaf and grass weeds on crops, commercial and industrial areas, turf, forestry and waterways.
Status: review in progress
21 August 2013—APVMA cancelled selected 2,4-D high volatile ester (HVE) active constituent approvals, product registrations and associated label approvals, completing Part 1 of the review of 2,4-D.
In July 2013 the APVMA published the report Annex to the APVMA's Preliminary Review Findings (Environment) Part 1: 2,4-D Esters Volume 1: Review Summary (PFG 1.35Mb) | (RTF, 2.7Mb) and advised selected 2,4-D HVE registrants and approval holders of its intention to cancel selected registrations and approvals on the basis of unacceptable environmental risks.
On 21 August 2013, the APVMA cancelled selected active constituent approvals, registrations and associated label approvals for 2,4-D HVE. The decision was to:
- cease supply of cancelled 2,4-D HVE active constituent immediately (21 August 2013)
- from 31 August 2013, cease supply of cancelled product manufactured prior to 21 August 2013
- allow users that may have bought these products to use what stocks they have before 31 August 2014, under the same permit instructions (PER14329) that currently apply (that is for use in the winter window only and under strict usage conditions). After that time, the use of the existing products will be illegal.
Background to the review
2,4-D has been under review by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) since 2003 because of concerns over its potential risk to public health, occupational health and safety, and the environment (including impacts on waterways, non-target animals and plants). While the assessment of the human health effects of 2,4-D has been an important part of the scope of the review, the APVMA was satisfied on the basis of health assessments from international regulatory partners that the potential environmental effects of 2,4-D would be the main focus.
The review of 2,4-D was separated into two parts:
- Part 1 contained the environmental risk assessment of high volatile (short-chain) ester forms of 2,4-D which is now complete
- Part 2 contains the toxicological, occupational health and safety assessments for all 2,4-D forms, and the environmental risk assessment of the low and non-volatile forms (acid, salt, and long-chain esters) of 2,4-D.
In October 2005 the APVMA released a label review under s.34A of the Agricultural and Veterinary Medicines Code Act 1994 following reports of crop damage through its Adverse Experience Reporting Program. In consultation with state authorities, the APVMA developed additional instructions to strengthen the existing label warnings in relation to minimising spray drift. All registrants were required to update their product labels by 30 November 2005.
In April 2006 the APVMA released the 2,4-D Preliminary Review Findings Report (Environment) Part One: 2,4-D high volatile esters (PDF, 697kb). This report identified that high volatile ester (ethyl ester, butyl ester and isobutyl ester) forms of 2,4-D pose an unacceptable risk to the environment. To minimise the risks to the environment the APVMA proposed cancelling all approvals and registrations relating to the high volatile ester forms of 2,4-D.
In October 2006 the APVMA suspended the registrations and label approvals of 24 products containing high volatile ester forms of 2,4-D and issued new instructions for use to allow further data to be generated by registrants. Use of the suspended products was only approved in accordance with specific instructions detailed in APVMA Permit PER13339.
Facts about 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and current use in Australia and internationally
- Low volatile ester and other forms of 2,4-D are registered for use in North America, South America, the European Union, Australia and number of other OECD countries.
- Short chain (high volatile) ester forms of 2,4-D have not been available for use in North America and Europe for approximately 20 years due to environmental issues.
- Two high volatile ester products are registered for use in Western Australia under strict usage instructions and conditions of notification and record-keeping.
Current status of 2,4-D review
The human health, occupational health and safety, and environmental assessments of 2,4-D Part 2 is still in progress and a preliminary review findings report will be released after the assessment is completed. The human health report is expected to be available at the end of 2013.
For more information contact:
Phone: +61 2 6210 4749
Fax: +61 2 6210 4776
Search the PUBCRIS database for registered products that contain 2,4-D.
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