Fenthion is a broad spectrum organophosphorus (OP) insecticide. Fenthion is used to control insect pests in agricultural, commercial and domestic situations and external parasites on cattle. Fenthion is also used to control pest birds in and around buildings.

Fenthion review

Status: Review in progress


  • 16 October 2013: The suspension of fenthion home garden and horticultural products has been continued until 30 October 2014. The instructions for use during the suspension have been amended to remove the use of fenthion on peaches and apricots. Use of fenthion may continue on nectarines and plums with a withholding period of 14 days. Use of fenthion in WA on cherries may continue. These changes have been made following a residues and dietary exposure assessment (PDF, 881kb) | (DOC, 824kb) of new information submitted to the APVMA
  • See the updated list of prohibited and allowed or amended uses and frequently asked questions on this action to change the approved uses of fenthion.
  • Permits for other uses of fenthion may be approved by the APVMA. A current list of all permits for the use of fenthion is available from the APVMA Permits Search page.

Fenthion was nominated for review in 1994 because of concerns about public health, occupational health and safety, the environment and food residues.

The review of fenthion has been conducted in two parts:

  • Part 1 is considering the active constituent fenthion and products that are used in non-food producing situations
  • Part 2 is considering fenthion products used on food-producing plants and animals.

Fenthion review Part 1—non-food producing uses

In December 2005 the APVMA released the Fenthion Preliminary Review Findings Report: Part 1 (PDF, 543kb). Since this report was published, the more concentrated home garden products have been discontinued, labels have been voluntarily amended and the pest bird control products have been declared to be Restricted Chemicals (restricted to use by authorised and trained personnel only).
The APVMA has since received new dermal absorption data indicating that fenthion is more readily absorbed than previously understood. This data may lead to further regulatory action for Part 1 of the review.

Fenthion review Part 2—food-producing uses

Part 2 of the review is considering food producing uses of fenthion. In September 2012 the APVMA published the assessment of residue data (PDF, 881kb) | (RTF, 1.85Mb) (provided by the registrant and by industry groups) and proposed that the use instructions for two fenthion products be modified to reduce dietary exposure risks from fenthion. This September 2012 assessment found that use of fenthion on certain crops could lead to consumers being exposed to levels of fenthion above the public health standard (the Acute Reference Dose).

In October 2012 APVMA suspended two fenthion products used on food producing plants and issued new instructions that prohibit or restrict the use of fenthion on certain crops,and prohibits use on all food-producing plants in the home garden, to allow further consideration of the OHS and environment assessments leading to finalisation of the overall review.

In October 2013 the APVMA published a supplementary assessment of residues data submitted since October 2012. Noting the findings of this report, the APVMA continued the suspension of fenthion to 30 October 2014 with further changes to its use to remove uses on fenthion on peaches and apricots. The withholding period for use on nectarines and plums has been changed to 14 days.

These changes to the approved uses of fenthion may have significantly affected previously used fruit-fly control methods and interstate trade arrangements for produce that may be a fruit-fly host. The Domestic Quarantine and Market Access Working Group (a state and federal government working group) has developed a National Response Plan (external site) to deal with the outcomes of both the fenthion and the dimethoate reviews (dimethoate is also used for fruit fly control).

Finalising the review

The findings of all the component assessments of fenthion (toxicology, revised OHS, horticultural residues, veterinary residues and Environment) will be considered and the APVMA will publish a Preliminary Findings report that will outline the proposed final regulatory actions for each registered use of fenthion. The APVMA will issue a final report for both parts of this review once the assessment of all available data is completed and a regulatory decision has been made for each product included in the review.

More information:

Fenthion review archive

Title Date
Media release: Fenthion use further restricted Oct 2013
Gazette notice (page 4): Continuation of Suspension of Certain Products Containing Fenthion, Suspension of Associated Label Approvals and Cancellation of Previous Label Approvals (PDF, 441kb) | (RTF, 519kb) Oct 2013

Supplementary Fenthion Residues and Dietary Risk Assessment Report (two parts):

Oct 2013
Media release: National regulator changes label instructions for the use of fenthion Oct 2012
Gazette notice (page 11): Suspension of Certain Products Containing Fenthion, Suspension of Associated Label Approvals and Cancellation of Previous Label Approvals (PDF, 611kb) | (RTF, 500kb) Oct 2012
Fenthion frequently asked questions Oct 2012
Media release: Proposed suspension of some fenthion uses Sep 2012
Fenthion Residues and Dietary Risk Assessment Report (Part 2): Sep 2012
Review of the mammalian toxicology and metabolism/toxicokinetics of fenthion (Part 2) (PDF, 2mb) | (RTF,5.5mb) Sep 2012

Preliminary Review Findings Report – Part 1: Uses of fenthion in non-food-producing situations:

Dec 2005
Gazette Notice: Preliminary Review Findings Part 1 of the Review of Approvals & Registrations related to Fenthion used in Non-Food Producing Situations (PDF, 54kb) Dec 2005
Gazette Notice: Chemicals for review in the third cycle – call for information Apr 1998


For more information contact:

Chemical Review

Phone: +61 2 6210 4749

Fax: +61 2 6210 4776

Email: chemicalreview@apvma.gov.au

Product Search

Search the PUBCRIS database for registered products that contain fenthion.
Note: In the Active Constituent 1 field enter fenthion.

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