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2016 March: Tens of Thousands of Dead Bees (Killarney Victoria). Pesticide: Fipronil

Insecticide devastates beehives

March 14 2016

https://www.standard.net.au/story/3790222/bees-buzz-no-more-after-chemical-hit/

CHELSEA Fox and her family love honey and have four beehives on their Killarney property.

She knows that local farmers need to control crickets and locusts but wishes they could use alternatives to the insecticide that recently killed tens of thousands of bees from her hives.

Ms Fox said she first noticed hundreds of dead bees on March 3 around a hive they had commandeered in a shed behind her home.

She later found thousands more mortalities around three other hives she keeps along the fenceline of the family’s rural property and thousands more died in the ensuing days.

“I was devastated to find out that the cause of the death of my bees was due to agricultural spray that is used to control locust and crickets.

“The key ingredient is fipronil and it is highly toxic to bees and a range of other insects and fish.

“A lot of farmers I know choose not to use it and make responsible choices with their chemical use,” Ms Fox said.

“The death caused by this chemical is very slow.

“Each day I have been sweeping up thousands of new dead bees and it’s quite heartbreaking for our whole family to see all our hives slowly dying,” she said.

Ms Fox said it was difficult to determine where the chemical was sprayed because bees foraged for up to a 10 kilometre radius. She said she did not want to assign blame to anyone over the deaths.

However she had gone public with the incident in the hope it would raise awareness about the harmful non-target effects of the insecticide. She is also sending a letter to farmers near her property alerting them to the effects of fipronil on bees.

Government specialists in agricultural chemicals have told her there were a range of options available to farmers to control locusts and crickets that did not affect bees.

“If this type of devastation has happened to my four hives, imagine what it’s doing to bees on a wider scale,” Ms Fox said.

“We all know that bees are essential for pollinating agricultural crops as well as most of out fruits and vegetables that we eat,” she said.

2018 April: Busselton Bee Deaths (Western Australia)

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Bee deaths investigated

https://thewest.com.au/news/busselton-dunsborough-times/bee-deaths-investigated-ng-b88796601z

5 April 2019

Bee colonies in Busselton and Vasse have been dying and while experts have not yet confirmed the cause and extent, apiarists are pointing to insecticide.

Beekeepers first noticed colonies dying about a month ago and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development confirmed it has since received several reports.

The issue appears to be concentrated in West Busselton and Vasse but beekeeper Catherine Talbot conceded it was difficult to track given bees’ foraging habits.

“One of my hives is next door and they’re all dead but the two in my backyard are fine,” she said.

“I know of another in Vasse whose hives are fine and a friend of mine … knows of six (that aren’t).

“It all depends on where the bees are going.”

The Times understands bee deaths from insecticides are not uncommon but Ms Talbot and fellow beekeeper Andrew Weinert said it was the first time they had experienced it locally.

Mr Weinert lost two not-well-established hives and said the remaining bees were still dying.

“There is no easy way to pin point the source of the insecticide as bees will fly up to 5km in any direction,” he said.

Some apiarists queried whether routine spraying by the City of Busselton could be responsible but acting chief executive Paul Needham said the same products had now been used for several years.

“Minor spraying on an ongoing basis is undertaken across the broad area by our parks and gardening crew,” he said.

“The product has been used for many years across the municipality in generally mild doses and we do not believe it would adversely impact bee populations.”

DPIRB is making further inquiries into the reports and said if apiarists suspected insecticide as the cause of bee deaths, they could organise laboratory testing of honey or wax and unusual behaviour or death should be reported.

Renee Hall, who recently started keeping bees with the help of Ms Talbot, said it was distressing to watch the bees die and believed it to be indicative of “the bigger picture”.

“My husband’s been out there sweeping up the poor, disoriented bees — it’s really sad,” she said.

“And it’s got me thinking about what we put onto our food. I make strawberry jam and I think about all the pesticides that go onto strawberries — we eat that stuff.”

Ms Talbot likened the situation to “the canary in the coal mine”.

“It raises awareness about how many toxic elements are in the environment,” she said.

“If bees in your backyard are dying … it makes you wonder what else is going on out there.”

2012 June: Thousands of Bees Killed – Batemans Bay region (NSW)

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Thousands of bees killed as 750 hives poisoned

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/thousands-of-bees-killed-as-750-hives-poisoned-20120619-20l4z.html

June 19 2012

Hundreds of beehives on the NSW south coast have been sprayed with poison, with a major honey producer left devastated and a harvest ruined.

Police said about 750 beehives were poisoned on properties near Batemans Bay causing about $150,000 worth of damage.

Wendy Roberts from Australian Rainforest Honey at Sunshine Bay, which provides honey to Woolworths around the country, said about 240 of their 5000 hives had been sprayed, killing all the bees inside.

Mrs Roberts said her husband Pat discovered the poisoned hives at two of their sites yesterday morning.

The honey on some of the hives was ready to be harvested this week, but is now contaminated.

2019 June: 10 million bees killed – Griffith (NSW). Pesticide: Fipronil

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No more buzz: Griffith apiarists want to see chemical banned from use in Australia after major bee poisoning

https://www.beaudeserttimes.com.au/story/6218101/insecticide-blamed-for-death-of-10-million-bees/

June 14 2019:

The use of a toxic chemical has left 10 million bees in Griffith dead.

Five local apiarists have seen around 340 hives between them destroyed by the use of Fipronil, and they’re now calling for the insecticide to be banned in Australia.

The chemical is banned in around 49 countries including most of Europe.

Apiarist Les Ellis lost 75 hives alone to Fipronil contamination.

“It’s overkill, it’s too toxic,” Mr Ellis said.

The chemical has a 120 day half-life which means a drop on a flower can be brought back to a bee hive and can have devastating consequences

Mr Ellis said the inside of hives including wax and honey would either have to be burned or buried and cannot be re-used without endangering new bees.

Mr Ellis said the loss of his 75 hives effectively means he will retire for the second time in his life.

“It would take two years to replace 75 hives, that’s two years without income,” he said.

Fipronil is often used to combat termites or ants and only needs a few drops to be brought back to a hive or nest to be effective.

What’s not clear to the apiarists however, is how 340 hives were contaminated.

One theory is a wild bee hive was sprayed and the then unprotected honey was taken back to the apiarists hives.

While the chemical has been used to protect crops, the apiarists believed when the hives were moved to ‘safer’ locations closer to Griffith they would have been protected from contamination.

“Twenty years ago people wouldn’t care less about bees, now there’s a real buzz about bees because people understand the role they play,” Ian Carter said.

“We don’t know why this chemical is being used in town.”

Mr Carter had his bees in two locations to shield them from insecticides however many of those hives have since been destroyed.

Laboratory testing revealed the bees which had died were poisoned by fipronil which is toxic to humans if ingested in large amounts.

Apiarist Tom Doubleday said he believed the use fipronil around Griffith was contrary to the directions.

“There’s other chemicals which will do the job, they’re less toxic but more costly,” Mr Doubleday said.

2017 March: Coffs Harbour Blueberry Spraying (NSW). Bees and Methomyl

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‘Nothing untoward’ with chemical spraying on blueberry farms

https://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/nothing-untoward-with-chemical-spraying-on-blueber/3154125/

13 March 2017

DISCUSSION on radio this morning posed questions whether Coffs Coast blueberry farmers are spraying their crops at night due to public safety issues and the concoction of poisonous chemicals they are spraying?

After hearing the discussion on radio this morning, Southern Cross Honey and Pollination, which supplies 400 bee hives to local blueberry farmers supplying the Oz Berries Group, contacted The Advocate to shed light on the situation.

A company spokesman said blueberry farmers are spraying their crops between dusk and midnight so insecticide residue has dried by morning when bees from the supplied hives are active pollinating the crops.

“The farmers are spraying of a night-time to look after our bees really,” a company spokesman said.

“Farmers cannot spray in the middle of the day because it burns the leaves of the blueberry plants.

“The days of spraying nasty chemicals around are gone.

“There is nothing untoward going on at the blueberry farms I supply my bees too, just because they are seen to be spraying their crops of a night-time.

The company spokesman said most local blueberry farmers are rotating the insecticides known as ‘Prodigy’, which controls moths, caterpillars, heliothis, and bug varieties, and ‘Success’, which controls moths, butterflies, caterpillars, grubs, slugs and thrips, to ensure problem insects don’t build up resistance to one particular brand of spray.

“These chemicals clear within a day or so, I believe, but if the farmers are using another insecticide known as Lannate than that’s a worry,” the beekeeper said.

“It’s like letting off a nuclear bomb for all insects including bees.”

Another concern raised by neighbours living near local blueberry farms is spray drift onto their properties.

The local beekeeper said given the cost of the chemicals blueberry farmers aren’t going to waste their chemicals by spraying in windy conditions.

“They want the best coverage they can get. A chemical like Prodigy retails for $1500 a litre, they sure aren’t going to be wasting it over their neighbours’ fences.”

“After hearing the discussion on radio I just thought I would ring in and clear up a bit of information for the general public as to why farmers are spraying of a night-time.

“If a farmer is spraying between 3am and 9am personally they won’t be having my bees on their property. There’s no way the chemical will have cleared by the time the bees are active of a morning.

“Put it this way without bees there are no blueberries, no fruit and there’s no profit.”

Southern Cross Honey and Pollination supplies two species of bees to local farms for crop pollination, Italian bees (yellow banded bees) and caucasian bees (known for their black appearance).

 

2016: Western Treatment Plant Biosolids (Victoria). Pesticides: Aldrin, Chlordane (trans), DDD, DDE, Dieldrin, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene

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March 2016 – Biosolids/ Sludge Data Summary (Melbourne Water)

The following data was collected from Melbourne Water’s Eastern and Western Treatments Plants over many years. Various compounds and parameters were tested over this time but those of most interest to the EPA and the public are shown here. This data should be used to give an indication of the average concentrations of pollutants in biosolids and sludge and how these may change as the material changes from fresh to old. Old biosolids are classified as being older than 3 years at the time of testing. All tests were conducted on dried biosolids by NATA accredited laboratories.

Western Treatment Plant Biosolids (Maximum Detections)

Aldrin: 0.3mg/kg

Chlordane (trans): 0.02mg/kg

DDD: 0.29mg/kg

DDE: 0.1mg/kg

Dieldrin: 0.21mg/kg

Heptachlor: 0.03mg/kg

Hexachlorobenzene: 0.012mg/kg

PCB’s: 5.98mg/kg

2016: Eastern Treatment Plant Biosolids (Victoria). Pesticides: Aldrin, Chlordane (cis), Chlordane (trans), DDT, DDE, DDD, Dieldrin, Hexachlorobenzene

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March 2016 – Biosolids/ Sludge Data Summary (Melbourne Water)

The following data was collected from Melbourne Water’s Eastern and Western Treatments Plants over many years. Various compounds and parameters were tested over this time but those of most interest to the EPA and the public are shown here. This data should be used to give an indication of the average concentrations of pollutants in biosolids and sludge and how these may change as the material changes from fresh to old. Old biosolids are classified as being older than 3 years at the time of testing. All tests were conducted on dried biosolids by NATA accredited laboratories.

Eastern Treatment Plant Biosolids (Maximum Detections)

Aldrin: 0.24mg/kg

Chlordane (cis): 0.031mg/kg

Chlordane (trans): 0.1mg/kg

DDD: 0.089mg/kg

DDE: 0.066mg/kg

DDT: 0.76mg/kg

Dieldrin: 0.12mg/kg

Hexachlorobenzene: 0.049mg/kg

PCB’s: 0.18mg/kg

2019 April: St George community forum addresses issue of spray drift (Queensland)

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St George community forum addresses issue of spray drift

19 April 2019

https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/6080070/st-george-landholders-tackling-spray-drift/?cs=4717

Continued incidents of spray drift nation-wide and an estimated damage bill of $1 million to local vineyards have seen St George landholders come together to tackle the issue at a local level.

A group of almost 50 cotton, horticulture and grain growers, as well as industry and regulatory representatives, gathered earlier this month to discuss regulations, education and how best to tackle the issue.

CottonInfo extension officer Andrew McKay said other than discussions around regulations with representatives from APVMA, EPA NSW, and Biosecurity Queensland, the other significant presentation was from Brett Mawbey of SOS Macquarie.

“SOS Macquarie is a group that is already established in the Macquarie Valley in NSW, and they’re doing what we’re hoping to achieve which is basically educating spray applicators and chemical users, raising their awareness of the issues and perhaps trying to go about how to do it better,” he said.

Mr McKay said they hoped to establish a working group in the local area.

“Hopefully the group can get involved in helping to deliver an education piece around how to set up sprayers properly, and get expert input into doing that and working collaboratively with the regulators,” he said.

Spray drift, which hit most vineyards in the St George region in mid- to late-September, left an estimated damage bill of $1 million as a result of yield losses and extra picking costs.

Riversands Vineyards owner David Blacket said he had hoped vines would grow out of early leaf damage but losses became apparent in early November.

Growers say it is unclear yet if the vines will also be affected next season.

2018 Jan: Coonamble (NSW). Spray Drift. Paraquat mentioned

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16 Jan 2018

Coonamble farmer John Single speaks out on spray drift

https://www.farmonline.com.au/story/5169349/farmer-says-current-spray-drift-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/

Following the spate of news regarding the alleged spray drift in the Walgett shire and beyond, Coonamble farmer, John Single says growers need to step up when it comes to spray drift. 

The recent publicity surrounding herbicide damage to cotton crops is just the tip of the iceberg.

Phenoxy damage to cotton is dramatic in that it is highly visible and can be hugely detrimental to yield.

Hence cotton receives the publicity, and unfortunately, in the eyes of some farmers, cotton growers are seen as the bad guys, as they restrict the use of herbicides in cotton growing areas.

What rubbish.

We all have a very clear obligation to contain all pesticides to their intended target, legally, morally and most importantly environmentally.

We all have a very clear obligation to contain all pesticides to their intended target, legally, morally and most importantly environmentally. – John Single

All too frequently we are seeing herbicide damage to all types of crops and from the various chemical groups, not as obvious as cotton, but it is occurring.

We see it in leaf discolouration, irregular plant growth, reduced or lost tillers and in worst instances plant death.

How often do we drive through cropping areas and witness the obvious damage to the trees, or drift onto pasture country.

In isolated instances traces of paraquat has been detected in grain.

That is frightening.

And what is that distortion in my garden plant and why did that garden plant die?

As a grower who helped develop our current zero tillage cropping systems in the 1980’s and proudly promoted “maximum sustainable economic yield” through zero tillage in the early 1990’s, it is way past time to speak out about pesticide damage that is occurring in this great industry of ours.

We own the industry, we are causing the problem and we must fix it.

If we choose to do nothing, there is no doubt that in time the problem will be fixed for us.

Take for example the European Union (EU), where the purchase and use of some pesticides is monitored and controlled.

The EU recently reviewed the use of glyphosate, where it’s use has been approved for a further five years in a close vote.

The implications of Australian farmers loosing glyphosate would be horrendous for farmers and the environment.

Won’t happen you say? remember Helix.

There is no debating that the current situation is unacceptable, it simply must change.

The choices are simple, do nothing and watch government cover the agricultural industry with red tape, and or have certain pesticides banned because of irresponsible use, or we self  regulate.

Self regulation could take many forms, education is the obvious starting point.

Self regulation could take many forms, education is the obvious starting point – John Single

But let’s make certain that the information we put out there is complete.

Drift occurs in many different situations and all needs to be contained, however the primary focus is inversion layer drift.

The industry has itself to blame for inadvertently promoting night and early morning spraying, when inversion conditions are most likely to exist.

This has occurred through the promotion of Delta T conditions under which to operate, ideally of no more than a Delta T eight, which in the summer months principally occurs at night and early morning.

Delta T is the difference between wet and dry bulb thermometer or a measurement of evaporation.

This has promoted better herbicide efficacy.

However no one said where to measure Delta T, so we rely on various weather stations that record well above ground level.

Unfortunately it is at ground level in the spraying environment that we are interested in.

Frequently Delta T is less at lower heights, so spraying can continue further into the day reducing the need to apply at night.

Weed stress and size have a huge effect on herbicide efficacy, and small rapidly growing weeds are far easier to control than large stressed weeds.

Frequently in a fallow spray program it is better to extend spray hours past Delta T of eight  in order to apply to small actively growing weeds, again reducing the need to spray at night.

The information as to how to contain drift is available, but it is an age old industry problem as to how to beat that information into growers heads.

Habits are hard to break, particularly when dollars are involved.

Chemical card training should be ramped up to include detailed information on drift control, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Association (APVMA) need to look at labelling to include inversion layer restrictions, a minimum of a 3 km per hour wind does not mean that there is not an inversion layer.

If growers suffer drift from neighbours, let them know, they may not realise that they or their operators have caused a problem.

The industry used to have the slogan of “conservation farming, good farmers manage it”, it could now be “minimise drift, good farmers manage it”.

Let’s hope that we don’t need to resort to “it’s cool to dob in a drifter” and need to bring in a further drum levy similar to drum muster in order to fund policing of our great and proud industry.

2019 March – Helicopter Crash Bool Lagoon (South Australia)

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Helicopter crashes into power lines at Bool Lagoon in the South East

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/helicopter-crashes-into-power-lines-at-bool-lagoon-in-the-south-east/news-story/1acd704906bb441cdcf1761e99e2c15e

A pilot has been injured after crashing his helicopter into power lines in the state’s South East.

Just after 2.30pm emergency services were called to the Bool Lagoon, just south of Naracoorte, after the helicopter clipped powerlines.

The pilot, a 31-year-old male from the South-East, suffered minor cuts and bruises in the crash and was taken to the Naracoorte Hospital for treatment.

Despite knocking down powerlines there have been no reports of power outages in the South-East.

2019 February: Growers lose $1 million from suspected toxic spray. Pesticide: 2,4-D suspected

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DISASTER: Growers lose $1 million from suspected toxic spray

https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/regional/disaster-growers-lose-1-million-from-suspected-toxic-spray/news-story/ee3f97eca06663040bab83dd4f5e38e0

A SUSPECTED spray drift disaster has created a “nightmare harvest” for St George grape grower David Blacket and other farmers who now face an estimated $1 million loss in crops.

The first signs the toxic weed killer had drifted on to Riversands Vineyards and other crops started to show in September 2018 – that’s when Mr Blacket and other growers raised their concerns with Biosecurity Queensland. Growers were hoping their vines would grow out of the early leaf damage, however their harvest yielded small, unmarketable berries.

This resulted in a loss estimated to be in the seven figures.

The Riversands Vineyards owner said he and two other grape growers in the region were feeling the loss.

“It was a nightmare harvest, with approximately half of our Menindee crop unmarketable, due to below spec berry size,” Mr Blacket said.

“Bunch weights were lighter, picking costs were also doubled, due to higher piece rates required to compensate the slow picking.

“Aggregated losses across all the vineyards in St George is around one million dollars.”

The Balonne Beacon understands Biosecurity Queensland has launched an investigation into whether spray drift from 2,4-D affected crops.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority introduced new 2,4-D label instructions in October 2018 in an attempt to curtail spray drift cases.

Users of 2,4-D now must comply with the new label instructions, even if they are using products with the old labels – which includes a requirement not to spray in inversion conditions and additional information on recognising inversion conditions.

These label changes came in less than a month after Mr Blacket and other growers reported their case to Biosecurity Queensland.

Mr Blacket previously told the Balonne Beacon he didn’t know the source of the 2,4-D spraying.

However he believes it has drifted from fallow weed spraying in the early weeks of September.

“This is money that won’t be circulating through the town, all because of careless spray application in unsuitable conditions,” he said.

“We (the horticultural industry) already cop enough risks growing these crops without additional risks from herbicide drift.

“It is so insidious and difficult to manage for.”

George Faessler, a nearby table grape grower, said his crops were also severely affected.

“My Flame Seedless crop was particularly hard hit, with most of the fruit unmarketable,” he said.

David Moon, an onion and cotton grower from Moonrocks, said he felt 2,4-D should be banned completely in horticultural and cotton regions.

“There are better, more cost effective options to use, which have far less risk attached,” he said.

 

2018 December: Spray Drift Costs Lucerne Grower $1.3m (Victoria)

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Spray drift costs lucerne grower $1.3 million in damages

A LUCERNE grower has been ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in damages for herbicide spray drift that damaged a neighbouring spring onion crop.

Supreme Court Justice Melinda Richards ruled last week GG & PM Burrell — a family-owned company at Beverford, north of Swan Hill — was liable for drift from herbicide spraying of a lucerne crop in July 2014.

The spray drift damaged 12.14ha of commercial spring onions grown by Butler Market Gardens, another family-owned vegetable business.

Justice Richards found drift from the spraying of Burrell’s lucerne crop on July 28, 2014, damaged BMG’s spring onions crop.

Gavan Wilson, an independent contractor, was hired by Craig Burrell to spray and harvest the lucerne crop.

It is alleged Mr Burrell asked Mr Wilson to do the winter clean-up of a lucerne crop on the Burrell farm, ­including the lucerne crop to the north and northwest of the Swan Hill block.

Mr Burrell allegedly did not give Mr Wilson specific instructions beyond asking him to get it done and to be mindful of the spring onions.

“Before that day, the spring onions were in ‘fantastic’ condition and were ready to harvest exactly on target,” Justice Richards said.

“There was no sign of damage before the spraying and the first of the spring onions were in fact harvested on July 28, 2014.

“After Gavan Wilson spray­ed the lucerne to the north and west of the spring onions with herbicide, in weather conditions that were conducive to spray drift, many people ­observed the damage to the spring onions.

“The nature and pattern of the damage was consistent with herbicide spray drift.”

Justice Richards found neither Mr Burrell or Mr Wilson held an agricultural chemical user permit or a commercial operator licence.

BMG subsequently spent about $665,000 buying spring onions from a Queensland grower and transporting them to Victoria following the damage to their crop from the spray drift, in an effort to meet a supply commitment for ­supermarkets.

Justice Richards ordered Burrell to pay BMG $1,346,570 in damages for the lost crop.

Victorian Farmers Federation grains president Ross Johns said all farmers should take care when spraying crops or risk being held liable for damage.

“It’s our responsibility not to damage neighbouring property or anyone else’s property,” Mr Johns said.

“Farmers almost every year spray during the summer period — this year is very similar, in some areas there’s been higher rainfall and stronger weed growth.

“Weather conditions play a huge role in sprayer performance (and) the operator needs to be very aware of weather conditions.

“It’s just important to adhere to these guidelines.”

The Weekly Times had contacted the Butler family for comment.

2018 December – Farmers seek compensation over claims chemical contamination of herbicides wiped out vegetable crops (Victoria) – Pesticides:

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Farmers seek compensation over claims chemical contamination of herbicides wiped out vegetable crops

Dec 17, 2018: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-17/australian-vegetable-farmers-legal-action-tainted-herbicides/10568578?fbclid=IwAR2_LGCa6eQ01AYVzeEE2a_V0cqzkF25rAerniqOoC6mUo8H7jccMAEWxI0

ome of Australia’s biggest vegetable farmers are fighting for compensation, claiming their food crops were decimated by contaminated herbicides.

Multinational chemical companies Syngenta and Nufarm recalled tens of thousands of litres of tainted herbicide in late 2016 and early 2017.

The products are commonly used on a range of vegetable crops including spring onions, leeks, carrots, celery and corn to control weeds.

They contained impurities from different herbicides, which have been traced back to the manufacturer.

But not before many farmers unwittingly sprayed the polluted products on their farms.

The national agrochemical regulator says the contaminants don’t pose a risk to human health, if used according to instructions.

But some growers claim the toxic mix-up wiped out many tonnes of valuable produce.

‘Huge financial stress’

One farmer, who doesn’t want to be named, says his business and his family have been devastated by the contamination.

“The crops just weren’t performing, they weren’t growing as they should, they were just slow or stunted, pale.”

He says agricultural experts have ruled out other potential causes, and tests suggest chemicals are to blame.

“The herbicide is doing the damage. I’m very confident of that,” the farmer said.

“We lost crops, we’ve lost income from that, we’re under huge financial stress.

“It hurt our family and our partnerships and it’s hurt relationships with other farmers and other people in the industry.

“It’s something that I wish had never happened.”

He is seeking compensation for the losses and says he is afraid to be identified for fear of a consumer backlash and punitive action by the chemical companies.

Do you know more about this story? Email NatRegional@abc.net.au.

A family struggle

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is concerned for the farmer’s welfare.

President of the VFF’s horticulture group Emma Germano says it’s taking a toll on his whole family.

Contaminants in Syngenta’s recalled Gesagard and Primextra Gold products and Nufarm’s recalled Ramrod product:

  • Diflufenican
  • Prometryn/Turbutryn
  • Propachlor
  • Simazine
  • Thidiazuron
  • Atrazine
  • MCPA
  • Propyzamide

*Not all the affected herbicides contained all the contaminants listed above
Source: The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) and Nufarm

*Syngenta declined to provide the list of contaminants its analysis of the contaminated herbicides found.
Syngenta said it provided the information to the APVMA.

“Farming businesses are generally family businesses, and to see an entire family struggle with this has been very difficult,” she said.

“The amount of stress that he’s under and his family is under, and his extended family is under, is incredible.

“Watching this farmer go through such an incredible amount of financial and psychological stress has been the thing that we’ve been most concerned about for him,” she said.

He’s not the only farmer in dispute with the chemical companies over the allegations of crop damage.

Contamination in court

A major Victorian vegetable grower has taken his claim that contaminated herbicides wiped out his crops to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Court documents show Riviera Farms is claiming contaminated batches of Syngenta’s Gesagard and Primextra Gold products spoiled carrot and corn crops.

The farm business is suing Syngenta and manufacturing company Accensi.

The contamination stemmed from a manufacturing fault at the Accensi factory where the herbicides were made and the company has been fined $100,000.

Defence documents show Syngenta and Accensi deny the allegations.

They’re blaming the crop failures on improper herbicide application and other farm-management failures.

Recall process slammed

One of the allegations in Riviera Farms’ statement of claim is that the farm was never notified of the herbicide recall.

A number of farmers and agricultural experts have criticised the recall process as inadequate and secretive.

The companies didn’t advertise the withdrawal but instead asked their chemical retailers to contact growers

The VFF’s Ms Germano says attempts to let farmers know did not go far enough.

“When this recall happened, it was a very piecemeal approach,” she said.

“It wasn’t reported widely enough. We’re concerned about the fact that the recall just essentially didn’t have farmers at its core.

“The Victorian Farmers Federation was not told about this recall.”

Ms Germano says some producers may still be unaware of the recall.

“We think that there needs to be a very clear recall process. If you want everyone to know about something that’s a problem, you make sure that everybody knows about it,” she said.

‘In severe distress’

US-based agricultural consultant and herbicide expert Chuck Kupatt says he’s seen crop damage on one of the affected farms.

“I saw plants that were in severe distress, were not growing in many instances, that would never form a crop,” he said.

Mr Kupatt says the testing suggests chemical contaminants are the cause.

“What I’ve seen would support that there’s damaging levels of residual compounds in that soil,” he said.

It’s now almost two years since the recall and Mr Kupatt says the issue should have been resolved by now.

“Everything is done in good faith, both when the companies develop the products, and when the farmers purchase them and use them,” he said.

“But if there’s a mistake, we have to put our big-boy pants on and say, ‘Yeah, OK, we had a problem and we’ll take care of the situation’.”

‘Unpredictable brew’

Mr Kupatt says the contaminants are chemicals that can be found in other herbicides for different crops.

But he said most of them would not normally be applied to the vegetable crops they were used on.

“Some of the contaminants that are on that list would generally not be used in vegetable culture because there is no tolerance to the crop,” he said.

“Which means if you spray them on the crop, you can get damage.”

Mr Kupatt says there is little or no independent science on how the contaminants might act in combination with each other, or with the active ingredients in the herbicide.

“Now that’s probably the biggest questions here … nobody would have ever thought to research those combinations,” he said.

“There’s several different types of chemistry here with many different modes of action.

“If you had any combination of these, you’re probably going to have a pretty unpredictable brew when you have them all put together into a product. So putting five or six of them together is a really, really difficult situation.”

‘Cocktail of herbicides’

Agricultural consultant David Bell has been employed by a number of farmers concerned about chemical contamination to provide expert advice.

He says farmers are afraid to speak out about the problem.

“These are very, very large multinational chemical companies, who wield big sticks in the industry,” he said.

He says the mix of chemicals means there could be a multiplication effect going on.

“What we’ve got is a cocktail of herbicides in the drums,” he said.

“We’ve got a poor plant trying to outgrow one herbicide, then being whacked by a second or third or even fourth or fifth herbicide.”

He too says he’s seen the personal toll the dispute is taking.

“I see farmers stand in paddocks with tears running down their face, looking at crops that these farmers take pride in growing,” he said.

“Their crops are literally dying before their eyes … These are very, very good vegetable farmers that are struggling to have people understand that it’s the herbicides that have caused the damage to their farms.”

Call for inquiry

Independent agricultural and herbicide expert John Seidel said it would be very difficult to prove the combination of chemical contaminants was totally safe for crops.

“When you put it in different soil types … the amount of breakdown depends on microbial action, on amount of rainfall, and a lot of factors come into play,” he said.

“I think it needs a bit more due diligence, a bit more stewardship from the companies to find out exactly what is going on here.”

“They could get an independent umpire to look into it, and that would satisfy both parties,” he said.

“If you had someone independent gathering the information, and the company has got nothing to hide, that would be wonderful for them as well.”

Companies say they acted swiftly

In a statement to the ABC, Syngenta defended the way it carried out the recall.

It said the company, “does not have access to the contact details of every farmer” in Australia and that it went through herbicide retailers because of their direct access to farmers.

Syngenta said this course of action was in accordance with the voluntary recall guidelines of the national agrochemical regulator, the APVMA.

The company also said it carried out its own scientific risk assessments, which confirmed the contamination posed an extremely low risk to the environment, crops or animals.

And that this information was provided to the APVMA as part of the voluntary recall process.

Syngenta said it was dealing with two claims from vegetable growers.

The company also said it had appointed an independent research agronomist to help address potential concerns from growers about the withdrawn batches of contaminated herbicide, and that those discussions would be confidential.

Nufarm said it was alerted to the problem by a grower’s report of crop damage and that it swiftly notified the APVMA and conducted a thorough voluntary recall.

Nufarm said in its recall notice that use of the affected herbicides might result in crop damage, and offered free testing of produce and soil.

The company said it used a range of methods to reach growers who might have used the contaminated product, including contacting chemical retailers, peak horticultural bodies and, in some cases, farmers directly.

Nufarm said it had worked with growers who made claims on a case-by-case basis, and that only one claim remained outstanding.

Accensi declined to comment, as did the Federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud.

Process needs to be ‘robust’

Since the recall, the APVMA has made changes to recall processes and now publishes voluntary recalls on its website.

But critics say it’s not enough, and that advertising of all recalls should be compulsory.

While this contamination didn’t spark human health concerns from authorities, affected farmers say it has raised questions about the adequacy of agrochemical regulation in Australia.

Ms Germano says there are rules in place to protect farmers and food safety, but its important to make sure those rules are working.

“We saw that there was an improvement in the process, through the APVMA when this incident occurred,” she said.

“But we just want to make sure that this process is really robust.

“Mistakes happen, but we need to be able to deal with that when it happens.”

It’s too late for farmers who say they’ve suffered as a result of this contamination.

One farmer, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the ABC it was not up to growers to take on the chemical giants when things like this go wrong.

He said the APVMA should be protecting farmers from damaging incidents like this and the companies involved should be more helpful.

“I speak to a number of growers around Victoria and Australia,” he said.

“It certainly hurt a lot of businesses, and some can’t afford to fight it, and some just can’t win the battle … They knew there was damage, they should’ve helped growers a lot more.

“It was handled badly and we’ve got to learn from this … The next time it happens, and it will happen again, it’s got to be handled better.”

2018 November: Griffith Spraydrift (New South Wales). Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Further drift incidents cause concern

Gregor Heard@grheard

https://www.northqueenslandregister.com.au/story/5757590/further-drift-incidents-cause-concern/?cs=4751

Australian sprayers are being cautioned they risk losing critical chemistry if they continue to cause damage through spray drift.

JUST weeks after the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) issued new regulations to do with usage of 2,4-D herbicides to reduce the risk of drift there have been reports down the east coast of summer crop damaged by chemical drift.

Spray application expert Mary O’Brien said she had been contacted about drift events in locations ranging from central Queensland to as far south as Griffith in the Riverina.

“It’s a real concern, I’ve been a strong advocate of making sure you do everything right to minimise the risk of inversion but it does not appear the message is getting through.

“If we’re not careful there’s the real risk this chemistry will be taken off us, and I imagine the people farming in areas where there is not a summer cropping industry will not be pleased to lose a valuable chemistry because of incidents like these,” Ms O’Brien said.

Her comments on drift incidents were backed up by an agronomist in the Moree district who declined to be named.

He said a client had lost 150 hectares of cotton due to drift damage from an unknown chemical.

“We don’t know what it chemical it was exactly but the damage has certainly been done.”

“It is still early enough to replant, but the cost of sourcing new seed and replanting is going to be around $100/ha, so it is a substantial cost.”

Further to this, Ms O’Brien said she had heard of issues with cotton in CQ, grape vines that suffered from chemical damage in the St George area and 34ha of cotton damaged at Griffith.

Ms O’Brien has previously spoken out about the risks of night spraying.

“For me, in order to manage risk properly, I would not be spraying at night because the risk of inversion is just too great,” she said.

“In virtually all instances in Australian conditions over virtually all year, the risk of inversion grows at night so it is something you have to weigh up very carefully.”

Grain Producers South Australia chairman Wade Dabinett said grain growers in SA, which a strong viticulture sector, have long understood the need for minimising drift.

“People who farm around grape areas know they have to be super careful not to jeopardise other people’s livelihoods,” Mr Dabinett said.

“I think we are doing the right thing and showing we are good stewards of products such as 2,4-D, which is in our interest as we want to retain the chemistry.”

The story Further drift incidents cause concern first appeared on Farm Online.

2018 November: St. George Grapevine Damage (NSW). Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Further drift incidents cause concern

Gregor Heard@grheard

https://www.northqueenslandregister.com.au/story/5757590/further-drift-incidents-cause-concern/?cs=4751

Australian sprayers are being cautioned they risk losing critical chemistry if they continue to cause damage through spray drift.

JUST weeks after the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) issued new regulations to do with usage of 2,4-D herbicides to reduce the risk of drift there have been reports down the east coast of summer crop damaged by chemical drift.

Spray application expert Mary O’Brien said she had been contacted about drift events in locations ranging from central Queensland to as far south as Griffith in the Riverina.

“It’s a real concern, I’ve been a strong advocate of making sure you do everything right to minimise the risk of inversion but it does not appear the message is getting through.

“If we’re not careful there’s the real risk this chemistry will be taken off us, and I imagine the people farming in areas where there is not a summer cropping industry will not be pleased to lose a valuable chemistry because of incidents like these,” Ms O’Brien said.

Her comments on drift incidents were backed up by an agronomist in the Moree district who declined to be named.

He said a client had lost 150 hectares of cotton due to drift damage from an unknown chemical.

“We don’t know what it chemical it was exactly but the damage has certainly been done.”

“It is still early enough to replant, but the cost of sourcing new seed and replanting is going to be around $100/ha, so it is a substantial cost.”

Further to this, Ms O’Brien said she had heard of issues with cotton in CQ, grape vines that suffered from chemical damage in the St George area and 34ha of cotton damaged at Griffith.

Ms O’Brien has previously spoken out about the risks of night spraying.

“For me, in order to manage risk properly, I would not be spraying at night because the risk of inversion is just too great,” she said.

“In virtually all instances in Australian conditions over virtually all year, the risk of inversion grows at night so it is something you have to weigh up very carefully.”

Grain Producers South Australia chairman Wade Dabinett said grain growers in SA, which a strong viticulture sector, have long understood the need for minimising drift.

“People who farm around grape areas know they have to be super careful not to jeopardise other people’s livelihoods,” Mr Dabinett said.

“I think we are doing the right thing and showing we are good stewards of products such as 2,4-D, which is in our interest as we want to retain the chemistry.”

The story Further drift incidents cause concern first appeared on Farm Online.

2018 November: Spraydrift (Central Queensland). Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Further drift incidents cause concern

Gregor Heard@grheard

https://www.northqueenslandregister.com.au/story/5757590/further-drift-incidents-cause-concern/?cs=4751

Australian sprayers are being cautioned they risk losing critical chemistry if they continue to cause damage through spray drift.

JUST weeks after the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) issued new regulations to do with usage of 2,4-D herbicides to reduce the risk of drift there have been reports down the east coast of summer crop damaged by chemical drift.

Spray application expert Mary O’Brien said she had been contacted about drift events in locations ranging from central Queensland to as far south as Griffith in the Riverina.

“It’s a real concern, I’ve been a strong advocate of making sure you do everything right to minimise the risk of inversion but it does not appear the message is getting through.

“If we’re not careful there’s the real risk this chemistry will be taken off us, and I imagine the people farming in areas where there is not a summer cropping industry will not be pleased to lose a valuable chemistry because of incidents like these,” Ms O’Brien said.

Her comments on drift incidents were backed up by an agronomist in the Moree district who declined to be named.

He said a client had lost 150 hectares of cotton due to drift damage from an unknown chemical.

“We don’t know what it chemical it was exactly but the damage has certainly been done.”

“It is still early enough to replant, but the cost of sourcing new seed and replanting is going to be around $100/ha, so it is a substantial cost.”

Further to this, Ms O’Brien said she had heard of issues with cotton in CQ, grape vines that suffered from chemical damage in the St George area and 34ha of cotton damaged at Griffith.

Ms O’Brien has previously spoken out about the risks of night spraying.

“For me, in order to manage risk properly, I would not be spraying at night because the risk of inversion is just too great,” she said.

“In virtually all instances in Australian conditions over virtually all year, the risk of inversion grows at night so it is something you have to weigh up very carefully.”

Grain Producers South Australia chairman Wade Dabinett said grain growers in SA, which a strong viticulture sector, have long understood the need for minimising drift.

“People who farm around grape areas know they have to be super careful not to jeopardise other people’s livelihoods,” Mr Dabinett said.

“I think we are doing the right thing and showing we are good stewards of products such as 2,4-D, which is in our interest as we want to retain the chemistry.”

The story Further drift incidents cause concern first appeared on Farm Online.

2018 September: Alstonville Bee Deaths (New South Wales). Pesticide: Fipronil

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Independent Testing found Fipronil in these bees at 0.005ug/bee (sep/oct 2018)

Cause of mass bee death a mystery

EARLIER this month, Alstonville amateur beekeeper Mark Fleming managed to find a break in the rain, and went out to check on his beehives. What he found horrified him.

There were hundreds of dead and dying bees blanketing ground at the foot of his hives, with more appearing out of the hive with every passing second.

“They were just coming out of the hive and falling and dying,” Mr Fleming said.

“I didn’t even think that it could be poison at first.”

After studying some of the dead bees, Mr Fleming started to notice recurring characteristics.

“Dying bees have been showing jerky movements, and have been falling on to their sides and back,” he said.

“Their proboscises have also been protruding, which is something that usually only happens while foraging.”

Following research online, Mr Fleming believes the bees had all been poisoned by chemical sprays or pesticides.

Mark soon discovered that his hives weren’t the only ones affected.

Sandy Jeudwine and Michael Koenen live one kilometre away from Mark, and are fellow amateur beekeepers, and discovered their bees were dying too.

He believed that it may have been happening from a few days before, due to the amount of dead bees, but can’t be sure.

The largest hives have been the ones hit most severely.

It is impossible to calculate just how many bees have been lost, however the numbers are in the thousands.

Even dead larvae have been spotted being thrown out of Michael and Sandy’s hives, impacting the next generation of bees as well.

“It’s an agonising death. It’s not sudden, but slow and painful,” Mr Fleming said.

Honey bees can forage for anywhere up to a two- kilometre radius from their hives, so trying to figure out where the poisoning happened would be practically impossible.

Mrs Jeudwine hopes that the poisoning was an accidental mistake.

Northern Rivers Amateur Beekeepers Association’s biosecurity officer Stephen Fowler said they were not trying to point the finger or place blame on someone.

“We just want people to understand,” Mrs Jeudwine said.

“We love our bees, so we’re just devastated,” Mrs Jeudwine said.

“We’re natural beekeepers, so we got into beekeeping to care for the welfare of the bees.”

Testing the dead bees for cause of death is very expensive, and even so, it would be difficult to pinpoint the exact poison or chemical.

What makes the whole situation worse is with every single hive affected, there is the possibility that the keepers have lost queens out of one or more of their hives, and it would be difficult to replace them.

“We’re just hoping that the hives can hold out and survive so that we can introduce a new queen if necessary,” Mr Fleming said.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority received two reports of bee deaths last week, and is investigating.

EPA Director North Adam Gilligan said the EPA took all reports of bee deaths very seriously and would consider all avenues, including impact from pesticides as part of its investigation.

“Bees play an important role in any healthy ecosystem and are essential for the survival of many plant species and food crops,” Mr Gilligan said.

“To help reduce risks to bees from pesticide spraying, we encourage beekeepers to let farmers know specifically when and where they are going to put their hives.”

Any pesticide spraying should be undertaken at night when bees are not foraging.

Farmers have a responsibility to ensure they are using herbicides and pesticides safely, including following product instructions carefully, monitoring local weather conditions and connecting with any local bee keepers, other farmers and surrounding neighbours ahead of time.

The EPA contacted the Australian Macadamia Society last week to remind growers that

We encourage people to report any suspected pesticide misuse to the EPA’s Environment Line 131555, providing as much information about the incident as possible.

For further information about pesticide misuse, please refer to the EPA’s website https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/pesticides/preventing-pesticide-misuse.

It is an offence under the EPA’s legislation to use pesticides in a manner that harms non-target animals with hefty penalties.

The maximum penalties for this are $120,000 for an individual, and $250,000 for a corporation.

2018 October: Indian Government Warns About Glyphosate on Dals. Pesticide: Glyphosate

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Modi govt says imported Moong and Masoor dals  likely to be poisonous

Oct 23 2018: https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/modi-govt-says-imported-moong-and-masoor-dals-likely-to-be-poisonous

FSSAI has issued warning to people to halt the consumption of Moong and Masoor dal. These lentils contain residues of the highly toxic herbicide Glyphosate, used by farmers to clear weeds

The Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) has issued warning to people to halt the consumption of Moong and Masoor dal. These lentils contain residues of the highly toxic herbicide Glyphosate, used by farmers to clear weeds. It is being imported from Canada and Australia.

India does not have its own regulations on toxic herbicide Glyphosate. Therefore, FSSAI has adopted the international standards in order to ensure that the lentils being sold are safe for consumption.

According to report in The Pioneer, “There is a possibility of higher levels of residues of the herbicide Glyphosate in pulses which could adversely affect the health of consumers here. Since the maximum residual limits (MRL) for Glyphosate in pulses has not been specified in the FSSAI regulations, we have asked the concerned officials to follow the MRL for the herbicide as specified in the Codex standards,” said Food Safety and Standards of India official.

FSSAI has also directed laboratories to test the pulses for ‘Glyphosate” along with other parameters.

The apex food regulation authority came into action after Canadian food security activist Santanu Mitra alleged that imported lentils from Australia moong dal and Canadian masoor dal contain high level of Glyphosate. Food safety and agricultural scientists too are issuing warning that the use of glyphosate may prove dangerous as in Sri Lanka, where many sugarcane farmers died due to renal failure after being overexposed to the herbicide.

“Mitra thinks that the Indian diet might have become overly contaminated from imported pulses. The pulses need to be tested for glyphosate residue at every entry point which is not being carried out presently,” said an FSSAI official.

Till 2015, the herbicide Glyphosate was considered to be safe but then the WHO’s IARC classified it as a probable human carcinogen. In India, it seems that Glyphosate is being used as a pre-harvest desiccant in several crops resulting in high residues in food.

Dr GV Ramanjaneyulu, agricultural scientist and founder of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture said in a report that while it is mandatory to label organic products, imported pulses are not labelled. “It’s very difficult to find out if we are consuming Canadian pulses or locally grown ones, if they are sold in loose,” he warned.

2018 October – 4 Spray Drift Incidents (Central Highlands Queensland ). Pesticide:2,4-D

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Cotton looks promising

19 October 2018 – Central Highlands Queensland

https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/5712465/spray-drift-strikes-central-highlands-cotton/

“… It’s not all positive in the region though, with four incidents of spray drift causing damage to crops already.

Cotton Australia chief executive officer, Adam Kay, said it was incredibly disappointing and frustrating to see that many reports already this season.

“It will take a little bit of time to see whether it’s actually just been a light dusting and it might grow through, or if it’s been quite heavy and affects the plant,” he said.

“The next couple of weeks will tell if the crops can recover from it.”

Mr Kay said he encouraged all farmers who use 2,4-D to look at the new guidelines and label changes, and act accordingly.

“In talking to the APVMA, if these changes they’ve made don’t result in a reduction in spray drift, or an elimination of spray drift, they’ve got to move to much more severe restrictions,” he said.

2017 December. Mackay Catchment (Queensland). Pesticides: Chlorpyrifos, DEET, Imidacloprid, 2,4-D, Atrazine, Diuron, Hexazinone, MCPA, Metolachlor, 4-Nonylphenol-mono-ethoxylate, 4-Nonylphenol-di-ethoxylate

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Mackay Catchment Qld – December 2017

Chlorpyrifos: 0.0057ug/L (highest detection)

DEET: 0.0116ug/L (highest detection)

Imidacloprid: 0.415ug/L (highest detection)

2,4-D: 0.045ug/L (highest detection)

Atrazine: 0.0206ug/L (highest detection)

Diuron: 0.0274ug/L (highest detection)

Hexazinone: 0.0516ug/L (highest detection)

MCPA: 0.0226ug/L (highest detection)

Metolachlor: 0.0067ug/L (highest detection)

4-Nonylphenol-mono-ethoxylate (adjuvant): 0.0154ug/L (highest detection)

4-tert-Octylphenol (adjuvant): 0.0067ug/L (highest detection)

4-Nonylphenol-di-ethoxylate (adjuvant): 0.0097ug/L (highest detection)

Metalaxyl: 0.0064ug/L (highest detection)

Source: The impacts of modern-use pesticides on shrimp agriculture: An assessment for north eastern Australia. Article in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety: February 2018 (Hook, Sellars, Kookana, Kumar)

2017 April: Burnett-Mary Catchment (Queensland. Pesticides: Imidacloprid, 2,4-D, Atrazine, Diuron, Hexazinone, Metolachlor, 4-Nonylphenol-mono-ethoxylate, 4-Nonylphenol-di-ethoxylate, Metalaxyl

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Burnett-Mary Catchment Qld – April 2017

Imidacloprid: 0.0173ug/L (highest detection)

2,4-D: 0.0311ug/L (highest detection)

Atrazine: 0.136ug/L (highest detection)

Diuron: 0.0153ug/L (highest detection)

Hexazinone: 0.036ug/L (highest detection)

Metolachlor: 0.155ug/L (highest detection)

4-Nonylphenol-mono-ethoxylate (adjuvant): 0.0101ug/L (highest detection)

4-Nonylphenol-di-ethoxylate (adjuvant): 0.006ug/L (highest detection)

Metalaxyl: 0.0064ug/L (highest detection)

Source: The impacts of modern-use pesticides on shrimp agriculture: An assessment for north eastern Australia. Article in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety: February 2018 (Hook, Sellars, Kookana, Kumar)

2017 March: Logan Catchment (Queensland). Pesticides: Bifenthrin, Chlorpyrifos, Clothianidin, Fipronil, Imidacloprid, 2,4-D, Atrazine, MCPA, Metolachlor, 4-Nonylphenol-mono-ethoxylate, 4-Nonylphenol-di-ethoxylate, Bentrotriazole

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Logan Catchment Qld – March 2017

Bifenthrin: 0.0206ug/L (highest detection)

Chlorpyrifos: 0.043ug/L (highest detection)

Clothianidin: 0.0049ug/L (highest detection)

Fipronil: 0.0738ug/L (highest detection)

Imidacloprid: 0.0297ug/L (highest detection)

2,4-D: 0.0644ug/L (highest detection)

Atrazine: 0.0042ug/L (highest detection)

MCPA: 0.0145ug/L (highest detection)

Metolachlor: 0.211ug/L (highest detection)

4-Nonylphenol-mono-ethoxylate (adjuvant): 0.0211ug/L (highest detection)

4-Nonylphenol-di-ethoxylate (adjuvant): 0.0142ug/L (highest detection)

Benzotriazole (corrosion inhibitor): 0.0142ug/L (highest detection)

Source: The impacts of modern-use pesticides on shrimp agriculture: An assessment for north eastern Australia. Article in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety: February 2018 (Hook, Sellars, Kookana, Kumar)

2017 March: Clarence Catchment (New South Wales). Pesticides: Chlorpyrifos, 2,4-D, Atrazine, Diuron, Hexazinone, Metolachlor, Tebuthiuron,

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Clarence Catchment NSW

Chlorpyrifos: 0.0179ug/L (highest detection)

2,4-D: 0.01450ug/L (highest detection)

Atrazine: 0.011ug/L (highest detection)

Diuron: 0.0187ug/L (highest detection)

Hexazinone: 0.0038ug/L (highest detection)

Metolachlor: 0.0098ug/L (highest detection)

Tebuthiuron: 0.0023ug/L (highest detection)

Source: The impacts of modern-use pesticides on shrimp agriculture: An assessment for north eastern Australia. Article in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety: February 2018 (Hook, Sellars, Kookana, Kumar)

2018 September: Katherine (Northern Territory). 1 Million Bees Poisoned. Pesticide: Fipronil

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About 1 million bees dead in NT after second suspected deliberate poisoning incident in a year

NT Country Hour

http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-09-25/million-bees-dead-in-second-suspected-deliberate-poisoning-nt/10297858

A Northern Territory beekeeper says about 1 million of his bees have been deliberately killed with an insecticide, in the second suspected poisoning of commercial bee boxes near Katherine in a year.

Sam Curtis found the dead bees inside and near their boxes on a track outside Katherine, a few kilometres off the Victoria Highway, in July.

Last week he received confirmation from a laboratory that the bees had died from Fipronil poisoning — an insecticide commonly used to kill termites.

The hives were about 5 kilometres from where another beekeeper had about 120 hives of bees die from the same insecticide in November.

Mr Curtis said the loss of bees would set his business back about $20,000.

“We had 100 breeding colonies that were completely decimated and we had probably 20 full-strength hives that were totally destroyed,” he said.

“The rest were severely weakened, so we had to clean out the comb in the boxes so there was no [insecticide] residue affecting the brood rearing, so the bees can recover.

Mr Curtis has ruled out the bees being accidentally poisoned by insecticide use on a nearby mango farm because it was spraying a different chemical.

He suspected the person responsible for the poisoning was someone who “doesn’t like bees”.

“Some people reckon it could be greenies because they think that [European] bees attack the native bee colonies, so they would try and kill the European species,” Mr Curtis said.

“Or it could be anyone related to the agriculture sector because Fipronil is a rather difficult chemical to come across.”

Two mass bee poisonings may be linked

More than 10 months on from the mass poisoning of Nathan Woods’s bees near Katherine, no-one has been held responsible and NT Police have closed their investigation.

Mr Curtis said it was possible the two cases were linked because they both occurred in the same area.

“Both of us like to put bees out that way for various trees, but our beehives aren’t very noticeable from the road,” he said.

“So this person obviously goes up and down [that track] regularly, if it is the same person.”

In addition to the loss of the bees, Mr Curtis said he was reluctant to return his bees to what was one of his best locations to place his hives.

“We were trying to breed queen bees to replace some of the hives that were dying over the years for pollination; this has really screwed that up because that was our queening site,” he said.

Mr Curtis said he had asked NT Police to investigate the deaths of his bees.

2016 September – Broken Hill Area 60 Dead Eagles (New South Wales) – Methomyl

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https://markpearson.org.au/question-without-notice-lannate-l-insecticide/

Question Without Notice-Lannate L Insecticide

On our recent visit to Broken Hill where I hosted a community forum, some alarming reports of animal cruelty and abuse were conveyed to myself and my staff. One of the more distressing issues was that of farmers and landholders using Lannate L insecticide, a highly dangerous schedule seven chemical, to poison wild animals, including wild dogs, foxes and wedge tail eagles. Reports of even insect eating animals such as birds and echidnas dying from consuming ants that have landed on Lannate L baited carcassess has sparked serious community concern.

I questioned the Minister on this issue and it seems he has forgotten that he is the person responsible for animal welfare in this state. Whether an animal is native or not is irrelevant, the issue here is the unauthorised use of a highly dangerous poison on wild animals which causes immense suffering and a slow lingering death.

Question

Mark Pearson MLC

My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries. At my recent community forum in Broken Hill I was told that it was common practice for landholders to purchase Lannate L, a schedule 7 insecticide, known colloquially as “Magic” because if used undiluted on a carcass it will kill anything. I was told of a sheep farmer who killed 60 wedge-tailed eagles in one week.

Will the Minister advise whether the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has approved the use of Lannate L for wild animal control?

If not, will the Minister direct his department to investigate this unauthorised and cruel use of a schedule 7 poison?

2018 September: Tubbut (East Gipplsland) – Farm Worker Jailed for Poisoning 406 Wedge-Tail Eagles. Pesticide: Methomyl

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Farm worker who poisoned 406 wedge-tailed eagles in east Gippsland jailed and fined

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-24/man-poisoned-wedge-tailed-eagles-in-gippsland-jailed/10298426

A New Zealand man has been jailed for 14 days and fined $2,500 for poisoning 406 wedge-tailed eagles at three remote properties in Victoria’s east.

Key points:

  • It’s the first time in Victorian history a person has been jailed for wildlife destruction
  • The farm worker said he poisoned the birds under the direction of his employer
  • A retired wildlife officer says such culling of eagles is common on farms

Farm worker Murray James Silvester, 59, pleaded guilty to killing the protected birds at Tubbut in east Gippsland between October 2016 and April 2018.

The eagle carcasses were found hidden in bush and scrub on three separate farms spanning 2,000 hectares.

Other protected species including a kookaburra, ravens and a raptor were also found dead

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) prosecutor Chrisanthi Paganis told the Sale Magistrates’ Court Silvester first alerted authorities to his actions in May 2018 after an argument with his boss, landowner John Auer.

Silvester provided investigators with two diaries detailing the methods used and a hand-drawn map showing where the eagle carcasses were hidden and where the chemicals were stored.

Silvester also named others involved.

The prosecutor told the court other people were being investigated over the killings but had not been charged.

Chemicals injected into necks of sheep to lure eagles

Ms Paganis told the court three different chemicals were used to kill the eagles, but most of the eagle deaths were caused by the chemical Lannate (Methomyl).

“John Auer showed him how to do it by injecting the substances into the necks of lambs,” Ms Paganis told the court.

Lannate caused the eagles to die within 30 minutes of feeding on the sheep and lamb carcasses, the court heard.

Over the 18-month period, Silvester experimented with other chemicals, including a blue phosphorous which made the eagles severely sick but did not kill them straight away.

Sale Magistrates’ Court heard Silvester admitted to killing 366 eagles during 2017 and another 40 in early 2018 at the properties at 2742, 2744 and 2789 McKillops Road, Tubbut.

Orders, court hears

A report for DELWP estimated it would take two and a half years before breeding recovered to its pre-kill levels.

“This is our first custodial sentence for the destruction of wildlife in Victoria, so it’s a significant statement to make by the courts, that this is a very, very serious matter and this is how it will be dealt with,” said Iain Bruce, the manager of DELWP’s investigations and intelligence unit.

Defence lawyer Keith Borthwick told the court Silvester’s employer played a role in the eagle deaths.

“It was under the instruction of his employer,” Mr Borthwick said.

He said Silvester was under pressure to increase lamb survival rates.

The court was told the maximum penalty for killing that many eagles was more than $350,000 or six months’ jail.

“You brought this to the attention of authorities because you had an argument with your boss,” Magistrate Rodney Higgins told Mr Silvester.

Silvester pleaded guilty to two charges under the Wildlife Act and was sentenced to 14 days in prison and fined $2,500.

“You’ll be back home in New Zealand in a month,” Magistrate Higgins told Silvester.

The magistrate told the court he would have sentenced Silvester to three months in prison, had he not pleaded guilty to the charges at the first opportunity. 

Eagle culls ‘widespread’ on farms

Retired wildlife officer Roger Bilney said the illegal killing of wedge-tailed eagles was not isolated to the Tubbut case.

“It’s a multiple state issue, a national issue, which needs further research,” Mr Bilney said.

“This is threatening the whole species and it’s an iconic bird. People will stop and watch as they soar past. The wedge-tailed eagle is an iconic bird, a part of the Australian landscape,” he said.

He said eagles were also targeted as predators to lambs in New South Wales and Queensland.

“Especially with the value of wool and lambs increasing, a lot of farmers see the wedge-tailed eagles as a threat to their profitability,” Mr Bilney said.

“They’re certainly capable of killing newborn lambs, and we know that they do that at times and they will team up and do it, but in terms of the overall losses on a sheep farm, research shows it’s irrelevant to the overall property,” Mr Bilney said.

“Especially with the drought, and so many lambs dying due to the ewes being in poor condition, there’d be a higher mortality due to poor farming practices, or things like drought that are beyond their control,” Mr Bilney said.

2018 May: Mechanics of Pesticide-Parkinsons Link Revealed. Pesticides: Paraquat, Maneb

Mechanics of pesticide-Parkinson’s link revealed

A genetic mutation massively increases risk for agrochemical exposure.

Andrew Masterton (Cosmos Magazine) May 25 2018

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/mechanics-of-pesticide-parkinson-s-link-revealed

Even very low levels of exposure to some common agricultural chemicals can boost the risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to new research.

A paper published in the journal Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology reveals that exposure to pesticides known as paraquat and maneb dramatically affects the function of dopamine-producing neurons – the cells primarily targeted by Parkinson’s – in people carrying a particular genetic mutation.

Separate lines of research kicked off two decades ago identified the chemicals and the mutation – in a gene known as alpha-synuclein, located on chromosome four – as risk factors for developing Parkinson’s, but the latest study is the first to uncover what happens on a cellular level when the two combine.

“People exposed to these chemicals are at about a 250% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than the rest of the population,” says Scott Ryan from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, lead author of the new study.

“We wanted to investigate what is happening in this susceptible population that results in some people developing the disease.”

The role of chemical exposure in influencing risk for Parkinson’s was first identified in epidemiological studies, starting in 1998.

A separate line of investigation around the same time focussed on a large Italian family group prone to developing the disease, many members of which carried the alpha-synuclein mutation.

Ryan and his colleagues set out to determine what happens to human cell function when both risk factors are combined.

To do so researchers established two cohorts of stem cells. The first used cells derived from Parkinson’s patients known to be carrying the mutation. The second derived from standard embryonic stem cells into which the mutation was edited.

Both sets were induced to form the target neurons, which were then exposed to varying levels of paraquat and maneb.

In cells containing the mutation even very low levels of exposure prevented the mitochondria from functioning correctly, depriving the neurons of essential energy and causing them to fail.

Cells that did not carry the mutation needed higher doses before function was impaired.

“Until now, the link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease was based primarily on animal studies as well as epidemiological research that demonstrated an increased risk among farmers and others exposed to agricultural chemicals,” explains Ryan.

“We are one of the first to investigate what is happening inside human cells.”

Critical exposure levels for the mutation-carrying cells were lower than the maximum safe levels contained in Canadian Environmental Protection Authority regulations.

Ryan says that the results indicate that current one-level-fits-all advice for chemical exposure needs to be ditched.

“This study shows that everyone is not equal, and these safety standards need to be updated in order to protect those who are more susceptible and may not even know it,” he says.

2018 August: Potential Legal Action (Western Australia). Pesticide: Glyphosate

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Councils urged to suspend use of Roundup or face risk of legal action

https://www.communitynews.com.au/hills-gazette/news/councils-urged-to-suspend-use-of-roundup-or-face-risk-of-legal-action

COUNCILS should ban the use of Roundup or risk being sued by employees and residents if their health is affected, say action groups.

The call comes in the wake of a landmark lawsuit in the United States in which a jury found chemical giant Monsanto liable for causing a school groundsman’s cancer from his exposure to the weedkiller.

The active chemical in Roundup – glyphosate –is classified as probably carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation but is still approved for use in Australia.

Alliance for a Clean Environment convenor Jane Bremmer said councils should immediately suspend the use of glyphosate in public places, particularly children’s playgrounds.

“Local government authorities are now compelled by this legal precedent to protect their constituents and worker’s health and their own legal liability by suspending the use of glyphosate in public places and invest in safer, alternative weed control practices,” she said.

“It is simply absurd to suggest that allowing children to play on freshly sprayed grass within minutes of a pesticide application is safe.

“It’s a tragic case of the Emperor’s new clothes with potentially deadly consequences.”

The Shire of Mundaring and City of Kalamunda said they would continue to use glyphosate in line with the advice from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) recommendation that products containing the pesticide were safe to use as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

City of Swan CEO Mike Foley acknowledged several European countries had banned the use of glyphosate and said the council would monitor developments nationally and internationally.

Director of Australian anti-GM group Gene Ethics Bob Phelps said the court ruling raised thorny questions for the industry.

“These organisations should now cease their weedkiller use or risk being sued for breach of care to workers and citizens,” he said.

“Roundup is available from most hardware shops and supermarkets and retailers should review their liability for selling an unsafe product and take it off their shelves.”

APVMA chief executive officer Dr Chris Parker said they would continue to track and consider any new scientific information associated with the safety and effectiveness of glyphosate.

“In 2016, the APVMA found no grounds to place glyphosate under formal reconsideration,” he said.

“Glyphosate is registered for use in Australia and APVMA approved products containing glyphosate can continue to be used safely according to label directions.”

Mr Phelps called for an urgent review of Roundup in light of the new evidence discovered during the US trial.

Monsanto has denied the link between glyphosate and cancer and will appeal the decision.

2018 June: Derby Region (Western Australia). Pesticides: 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D

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Agent Orange survivor Carl Drysdale slams government inaction

PerthNow

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wa/agent-orange-survivor-carl-drysdale-slams-government-inaction-ng-b88850940z

WHILE the colour photographs of his Kimberley days may be dog-eared and fading, the years do not extinguish the fire in Carl Drysdale’s belly.

The 72-year-old Pinjarra grandfather is “still fighting the machine” over the appalling ill-health and the suspicious deaths of dozens of once-healthy men who sprayed the banned 2,4,5-T during government weed eradication programs across WA’s North West in the 1970s and ’80s. It is a scandal that refuses to die, unlike the many men it affected, fuelled by decades-long government inaction and a mean-spirited bureaucracy.

“I look through the old photos and they’re mostly all dead, generally with cancer,” he tells The Sunday Times. “Dying in their 30s and 40s. Most of them are gone.”

But not all of them.

This Tuesday, yet another chapter of the long-running saga opens, with four other Agriculture Protection Board workers from the Kimberley taking their compensation claims back to the courts.

Their lawyers want WorkCover to finally acknowledge the appalling hardships that have befallen them and the wider Kimberley communities, especially in small, close-knit outback towns such as Derby.

“The weed-spraying program has haunted families in the West Kimberley as the preponderance of graves of workers, their children and grandchildren testify,” Chapman’s Lawyers’ Tony Mullen said.

It has been more than 40 years since the young butcher from Perth headed north after getting a job as the West Kimberley district officer for the Agricultural Protection Board.

He was in charge of teams of 15 men — many of them indigenous — who would go bush for up to 10 days, sleeping in swags, cooking their own tucker and enjoying the occasional bath in waterholes.

Armed with spray packs, their job was to eradicate the dreaded Parkinsonian tree, one of the many weeds threatening the burgeoning Kimberley pastoral industry.

What they didn’t know was that they were spraying the dangerous herbicide 2,4,5-T, a hazardous chemical that when mixed with equal parts of 2,4-D was better known as Agent Orange, dropped by US forces during the Vietnam war to defoliate jungles, kill crops and flush out the Viet Cong.

Years before occupational health and safety was a workplace reality and rarely wearing any protective clothing in the searing heat of the Kimberley, the APB workers literally covered themselves with the stuff, day in, day out.

It wasn’t long before the headaches began, and the rashes and sores that never healed. Then they started dying. Young men. Strong men. Men who didn’t know what sickness was.

One death in particular hit Mr Drysdale hard.

Cyril Hunter was just 33 when he died. A big, robust and proud indigenous man, he worked as a sprayer for the APB for seven years under Mr Drysdale.

“I remember talking to him once while he was sitting at the bottom of some stairs where we used to go to get paid,” he said. “He told me that a couple of mates had gone upstairs to pick up his wages.

“It then dawned on me that he couldn’t even get up the stairs. He was so buggered. He died of ventricle failure, a well-known symptom of heavy exposure to the chemical. He was a young man … there were so many of them.”

Appalled by clear anecdotal evidence of a spiralling death rate among APB employees and pushed into action by media, then-premier Geoff Gallop launched the Armstrong Report, led by world-renowned cancer epidemiologist Bruce Armstrong.

While he stopped short of concluding “beyond reasonable doubt” that the spraying program was directly linked to the alarming cancer rate, Dr Armstrong did find that APB workers might have suffered an increased risk of cancer because of their work.

The Gallop government then urged all APB workers and their dependants to file compensation claims. It said they would receive preferential treatment and be expedited through the system.

That was 14 years ago. Some claims have been settled over the years, but many have not.

Mr Drysdale refuses to let the matter die. He is determined to see it through to the end.

“It’s not just one government that pushes back, it’s been all of them,” he says on the seemingly never-ending drama. “They have been stuffing us around again and again. Then all of a sudden, a new government comes in and it starts all over from scratch.

“I know what their strategy is, ‘Let’s just wait, we’ll outlast them’. They are waiting for us to die. Well, I’m not going to give them that pleasure.”

Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan would not be drawn on whether successive State governments had dragged their feet over the issue, only saying that she hoped the matters “can be brought to a conclusion soon”.

She said eight former APB workers had received payments for cancer claims that had been facilitated through the State-based worker’s compensation system.

Those confidential settlements took into account future medical expenses.

Ms MacTiernan said applications for non-cancer claims could still be submitted for assessment.

2014 – Grain Contamination (Victoria) – Flutriafol

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Cross-contamination of grain from fungicide-treated fertiliser

http://www.smithandgeorg.com.au/articles/agchemnews/autumn2014/crosscontamination.html

The Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) has reported two cases of grain contaminated with the fungicide flutriafol, where flutriafol-treated fertiliser had previously been used in equipment used to handle or store the grain.

In one case a farmer treated fertiliser with flutriafol as it was transferring via an auger to a truck. The truck was swept but the auger was not cleaned or decontaminated. Canola grain was later transferred via the auger to the truck, and when tested showed levels of flutriafol that was 17 times higher than the legal limit.

In the other case a farmer temporarily stored flutriafol-treated fertiliser in a silo, which was not cleaned before later being used to store wheat. The wheat was found to contain levels of flutriafol that are 42 times higher than the legal limit.

These cases illustrate how important it is to thoroughly clean and decontaminate equipment and facilities that are used to handle or store potentially contaminating materials. This does not only apply to grain, but to any food or feed that is handled or transported. Other examples include fresh fruit and vegetables carried in contaminated bins; and processing waste (eg citrus peel, brewers grain, etc) that is carried in trucks or bins and fed to animals.

2016 August: Pesticide Residues (Western Australia). Pesticides: Glyphosate, Imidacloprid, Haloxyfop, Flutriafol, Imazapic, Imazapyr

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Vigilance urged on residue levels to protect markets

August 27 2016

http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/cropping/grains/vigilance-urged-on-residue-levels-to-protect-markets/2753581.aspx?storypage=1

WHILE Australia continues to receive a top report card for its compliance with maximum residue levels (MRL), the unregistered use of glyphosate in barley still remains a hot issue for both growers and exporters.

Speaking at the Grain Industry Association of WA (GIWA) barley council spring forum at Lake Grace and the Farmanco client conference in Perth last week, National Residue Survey (NRS) director Ian Reichstein said Australia and WA continued to have 99 per cent compliance when it came to MRL.

“Over the past 15 years, Australia has achieved 99.9pc compliance with Australian MRL in bulk samples and 99pc in containers,” he said.

“This is a very good record and shows to our overseas trading partners we have integrity in grain industry.”

But he warned that single events can damage a market and a grower making the decision to use off-label mixes could have serious ramifications for the industry.

Mr Reichstein said an increased food safety focus in the Asian market meant that growers and those in the supply chain had to be aware of the market requirements and MRLs where the grain was destined.

The NRS received $1.5 million in funding from the Australian grain producer levy to undertake the collection and analysis of 6000 samples of all Australian grain each year. Of this, 2000 samples were of WA grains.

The samples were subjected to multi-residue screening for a range of pesticides, contaminants, heavy metals and fumigants.

“There are still too many people in the industry who believe compliance with Australian MRL is equal to market access, which is completely incorrect,” he said.

For WA growers, the off label use of glyphosate in barley remains a serious issue.

Of the 2000 samples collected in WA last year, 87 barley samples were subjected to the “special” herbicide screen.

Of those, 56 had detectable levels of glyphosate.

While Weedmaster DST (470 grams per litre glyphosate) is registered as a pre-harvest application in wheat, canola, hay and some pulse crops, the in-crop or pre-harvest application of glyphosate in barley is not registered.

Aside from the glyphosate levels in barley samples, Mr Reichstein said there were four MRL violations in WA last year – a canola sample with an imidacloprid reading of 0.086 milligrams per kilogram (Australian MRL of 0.05mg/kg), a second canola sample with haloxyfop 0.63mg/kg (MRL of 0.1mg/kg), an oat sample with a 0.12mg/kg glyphosate reading (MRL of 0.1mg/kg) and a lupin sample with a 0.083mg/kg of flutriafol (no MRL set).

“Some might say that out of 2000 samples, only four incidences is an excellent track record, but there are others that will say four is still too high,” he said.

“However, if you compare some of these results with the MRLs set by our markets, it would appear only 50pc of those samples with residues would be compliant.

“It is a highly risky situation if exporters are not fully aware of the trading requirements for that market.”

Mr Reichstein said non-compliance could become very expensive for the exporter, with cargo rejected or held at port, demurrage, disposal of contaminated grain, on-forwarding or return costs.

“The flow-on effect from a detection is increased sampling and cargo testing which impacts on all exporters and then the whole market can become restricted,” he said.

“Exporters may restrict future exports to avoid higher risks from increased testing and this can impact on the sale of Australian grain.”

Mr Reichstein outlined several cases of other MRL violations in Australia, including the 2014 case of a grower who created a imidazoline herbicide mix of imazapic and imazapyr rather than using the approved Intervix herbicide in a barley crop, which was detected in samples heading to Japan.

As a result, Japan increased its surveillance of Australian barley over the next five years.

“Japan has a high level of trust in Australian grain and while we were able to rectify the issue, we cannot afford to have markets lose confidence in Australia,” he said.

Flutriafol also remains an issue, with inadequate cleaning of trucks in between loads of fungicide-treated fertilisers and grain, leading to contamination, with one sample recording levels 254 times the limit of 0.02mg/kg.

“Since it was identified five years ago, the issue with flutriafol still hasn’t been resolved and we are still finding levels in samples,” Mr Reichstein said.

“Of the 21 samples last year that were more than the Australian MRL, we believe 50pc came from incorrect in-crop use and the other half from trucks or augers.”

Canola which has been treated with Verdict (haloxyfop) was still an issue, as Mr Reichstein said there were 17 violations of the 0.1mg/kg MRL set by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

“After providing data to APVMA, the label was reviewed and the application timings were changed in 2014,” he said.

“But the old label is still out there and the product appears to be being applied too late in the season and contaminating the crop.

“Growers need to be aware of these issues and how they can affect market access overseas.”

It was also important for exporters to be aware of market MRL.

If countries want to change their MRL, an application is made to the World Trade Organisation through its Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) notification system.

“As 80pc of Australia’s grain is exported, the NRS monitors this very closely in consultation with the grain industry and if a country notifies of a MRL change which might impact on our market access, a submission is prepared which seeks reconsideration of the change to ensure we retain on-going market access,” Mr Reichstein said.

“If we are very mindful of requirements from our markets and there is better communication between growers and handler and marketer on the application of chemicals, we can lower the risk and prevent violations in overseas markets.”

2018 July : Vijayawada (India) – Glyphosate

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Imported lentils laced with weed killer

DECCAN CHRONICLE Jul 19, 2018

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/190718/imported-lentils-laced-with-weed-killer.html
Food safety activists said every imported agriculture commodity needed to be tested for chemical residues but this was being ignored here.
 Some lentils that were imported from India by some Canadian restaurants showed 25 parts per billion of glyphosate.

 

Vijayawada: Indians are consuming highly toxic lentils (masoor dal) and moong dal that are imported from Canada and Australia respectively. The lentils and moong dal are induced with the herbicide Glyphosate, that is being used by Canadian and Australian farmers indiscriminately to clear weeds.

Tests conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on thousands of samples of these lentils and moong dal grown by farmers in Canada and Australia found an average 282 parts per billion (PPB) and 1,000 parts per billion of glyphosate respectively, which is extremely high on any standards.

Some lentils that were imported from India by some Canadian restaurants showed 25 parts per billion of glyphosate. India has been traditionally the biggest producer and consumer of pulses. Recently, it has also become a huge importer of pulses.

On an average, India has been importing 5 to 7 million tonnes of pulses annually. Almost half this quantity is imported from Canada and Australia and the rest from Myanmar, Ukraine, Russia and some African countries.

Glyphosate is known to be highly toxic and harmful to health. It can adversely affect immunity to serious diseases and the absorption of mineral and vitamin nutrients, apart from disrupting protein-related functions.

“India appears to import a lot of pulses from Canada, Australia and Myanmar. I have seen test records of Canadian grown pulses which are all desiccated by glyphosate. I also have seen results of test on Australian moong dal (known as moong beans in Canada) as tested by the CFIA which also had over 1,000 parts per billion of glyphosate,” Indian-born Canadian food security activist Tony Mitra, who made the CFIA test on these pulses for Glyphosate told this newspaper.

“India is also importing these pulses. Consumers do not seem to know if or when they are buying Canadian lentils or lentils mixed with local produce, and how much glyphosate is in their dal. Canadians do not consume these pulses which are grown to be exported  to other countries, especially India. In Canada, in one of the provinces, some millions of acres of land is being used to grow pulses only to be exported to India,” Mr Mitra said.

He added that 87 per cent of Canadian lentils were contaminated and the average level of contamination was 282 parts per billion. Only 40 per cent of Indian samples were contaminated while the average was 25 parts per billion.

Food safety activists said every imported agriculture commodity needed to be tested for chemical residues but this was being ignored here.

“While it is mandatory to label organic products, imported pulses are not labelled. It’s very difficult to find out if we are consuming Canadian pulses or locally grown ones, if they are sold in loose. In some supermarkets, they label the country of origin where we will have a choice whether to buy the packet or not,” said Dr G.V. Ramanjaneyulu, agricultural scientist and founder of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

“ At the entry points, these imported pulses are not being checked for glyphosate residue due to which pulses induced the highly toxic chemical from other countries are making their way into India and ultimately into the stomachs of Indians,” he said.

Farmers warned against using glyphosate without proper gear

Food safety and agricultural scientists are warning that the use of glyphosate may prove lethal. They are citing the example of Sri Lanka, where many sugarcane farmers died due to renal failure after being overexposed to the herbicide.

Glyphosate is a popular herbicide among farmers in the Telugu speaking states. Glyphosate is officially allowed to be used in only tea gardens, but is available across the country under various names and brands.“While farmers have to wear astronaut suit kind of gear while using glyphosate, it’s not the case in countries such as India and Sri Lanka, said Mr Tony Mitra, Indian born Canadian food security activist.

2017 August – Accensi Pty Ltd Chemical Company Fined $100,000

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Chemical Company Fined $100,000

August 9, 2017 – South Burnett News

Agricultural chemical manufacturer Accensi Pty Ltd has been fined $100,000 for supplying herbicides containing chemical ingredients not listed in the registered formulation.

In March this year, APVMA admitted it had been notified in December 2016 by Nufarm Australia and Syngenta Australia that they were recalling several products, made by Accensi, which had been found to contain chemicals not listed in the registered formulation.

The news that APVMA knew about the contamination and voluntary recalls but had published nothing on its website caused concern among some growers.

One West Australian farmer claimed he had lost up to 90 per cent of his celery crop.

However, after media criticism, APVMA backed down and agreed to publish information about voluntary recalls of agvet chemicals.

However, APVMA Chief Executive Officer Dr Chris Parker said there was no legislative requirement for APVMA to publish information about a voluntary recall by manufacturers.

Dr Parker said on Tuesday that Accensi had settled the payment of four separate infringement notices each totalling $25,000, under section 83(1)(a) of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994.

“These are the largest fines ever issued by the APVMA under the Agvet Code. The fines reflect that the APVMA treats issues affecting the quality of agricultural and veterinary chemicals seriously,” Dr Parker said.

“Crop protection is a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia and farmers rely on agvet chemical manufacturers and registrants to supply registered products that are safe and will work as directed to eliminate pests and weeds and improve agricultural productivity.

“So when we discovered that a manufacturer had supplied chemicals that didn’t meet the registered formulation, we investigated with the full force of the law.”

In addition to settling the infringement notice amounts, Accensi has been invited to provide an Enforceable Undertaking, regarding contamination control of all SC Herbicide products produced in the future.

Dr Parker said APVMA was continuing to work with registrants on the voluntary recall of affected agricultural products.

2017 January: Crop Duster Crash – Mareeba (Queensland)

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Pilot escapes unharmed after crop duster crashes into field near Mareeba

A MAN has escaped unharmed after his crop duster crashed into a field on the Atherton Tableland this morning.

Emergency services were called to the light plane crash near Mareeba about 7am.

The 25-year-old pilot is believed to have only sustained a minor finger injury.

He declined to be taken to hospital.

The plane is understood to have been significantly damaged.

2016 September: Crop Duster Crash, north of Esperance (Western Australia)

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Pilot injured in plane crash in WA’s south

A pilot has been injured in a crash involving a crop-dusting plane in Western Australia’s south-east.

The crash occurred around 10:00am on a property 105 kilometres north of Esperance.

The pilot, a 29-year-old man from Victoria, was able to exit the plane after suffering non-life threatening injuries.

He is being flown to Perth for treatment and is in a critical condition.

The incident comes just five days after a light plane crash near the Great Southern town of Mount Barker.

Both people aboard that plane survived the crash.

2016 December: Crop Duster Crash Callandoon (Queensland)

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Pilot critically injured in crop duster crash near Goondiwindi

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-28/crop-duster-crash-near-goondiwindi-leaves-man-critically-injured/8151048

A man in his 40s is in a critical condition after crashing his single-engine crop duster plane in a paddock in Queensland’s southern border region.

The pilot was airlifted to the Princess Alexander Hospital in Brisbane with major internal and facial injuries.

The man was pulled from the wreckage by witnesses, after his crop duster clipped power lines and crashed in a field near Goondiwindi about 7:30am this morning.

Paramedics at the scene said he suffered multiple injuries.

He was initially taken to Goondiwindi Hospital before being flown to Brisbane.

Crop-duster hit ground ‘nose-first and flipped over’

https://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/pilot-injured-after-plane-crash-rural-property/3126690/

UPDATE: An agricultural pilot is fighting for life after a harrowing plane crash on a cotton plantation near Goondiwindi.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and police are investigating the cause of the crash which left the male pilot, 43, in hospital with serious injuries.

The pilot, from Goondiwindi, had taken off at 6.15am for a scheduled 25-minute chemical spray on the rural property off the Barwon Hwy at Callandoon, about 30km south-west of Goondiwindi.

But when he failed to stop and refuel by 6.45am, the ground crew did a radio check.

After no contact was made with the pilot, a ground search was conducted.

A Goondiwindi farmer from the neighbouring property, Macintyre Downs, found the wreckage of the yellow air-tractor aircraft and pulled the pilot to safety about 7.10am.

He rushed the injured man in his own vehicle and met waiting Queensland Ambulance crews who then transported him by road to Goondiwindi Hospital.

The was later airlifted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane where he was last night in a critical but stable condition.

A police spokesman said initial investigation suggested the single-engine aircraft clipped overhead power lines, snapping two, which downed the craft.

He said the plane hit the ground “nose-first and flipped over”, causing major damage.

The ATSB and police are investigating and will compile an incident report.

10.30AM: A pilot is in a critical condition after a plane crash landed on a rural property in the Goondiwindi region this morning.

The pilot, aged in his 40s, was taken by Queensland Ambulance to Goondiwindi Airport from where RACQ LifeFlight airlifted him to Brisbane.

The man suffered major internal and facial injuries in the landing.

The single pilot agricultural aircraft was flying at a low level when it crashed, clipping a powerline in the process.

He was pulled from the aircraft and taken to a nearby residence before meeting with QAS paramedics.

The man was airlifted to Princess Alexandra Hospital in a critical condition.

8.45AM: Paramedics are treating a male pilot after a crash landing on a rural property this morning.

Queensland Ambulance were called to a private property off the Barwon Hwy at Callandoon near Goondiwindi about 7.30am with reports an agricultural plane had crash landed, injuring the pilot.

The pilot, a man aged in his 40s, had been removed from the plane and taken to a nearby homestead where he was met with paramedics a short time later.

His injuries are as yet unknown.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services remain at the scene of the fixed-wing aircraft crash which clipped and brought down powerlines.

A spokesman said crews were securing the area.

2017 December: Emerald (Queensland) – Crop Duster Crash

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Safety bureau informed of CQ crop duster crash

SUNDAY: THE Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have been advised of a crop duster crash which happened near an Emerald property on Friday.

A Queensland Police Spokesperson said a 37-year-old male pilot was taken to Emerald Hospital with head and chest injuries after the crash.

Initial investigations suggest the crop duster nosedived into the ground on Munro Rd between 6am and 6.30am on Friday.

Police have now passed information from the scene to ATSB who will determine if further investigation is needed.

FRIDAY: ONE man has been injured in a major aircraft accident on a farm near Emerald this morning.

Queensland Police Service were notified at about 6.20am this morning of reports a crop-dusting plane had crashed on Munro Rd, Emerald.

The man is suffering from head injuries and is being taken to Emerald Hospital by Queensland Ambulance Service in a stable condition.

2018 June: Tamworth (NSW) – Fines for Spray Drift

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The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued fines totaling $2250 to pesticide contractors after spray drift incidents in Moree and Tamworth.

The fines came after the EPA investigated complaints from a Moree grazier and a Tamworth olive grower.

Northern director Adam Gilligan said that in both incidents, the EPA had found evidence that the neighbouring properties had been affected by the spray drift.

Mr Gilligan said that, with winter spraying now under way, pesticide users must take all necessary precautions to ensure they were using pesticide products safely.

Spray drift can impact the agricultural operations of neighbouring properties and pose a serious threat to the health of the operators, community and the environment if spraying is not carried out appropriately,” he said.

The EPA said the Moree landholder had lodged a complaint after his grazing land was subject to spray drift when an aerial operator applied pesticides to a cotton crop on the adjoining farm.

The EPA fined the aerial pesticide operator $1500.

In the other incident, the EPA issued a fine of $750 to a Tamworth-based pesticides contractor after receiving a complaint that pesticides had drifted onto an established olive grove while spraying was occurring on the adjoining farm.

Mr Gilligan said anyone using pesticides was legally required to read the product’s label instructions, follow directions, “and where appropriate, apply suitable buffer distances to ensure pesticides do not drift”.

“Other than people using small amounts of pesticides by hand in non-commercial circumstances, most operators must have received appropriate training and hold current certification in order to apply pesticides,” he said.

“Equally important, they must keep appropriate records.”

2018 June: Moree (NSW) – Fines for Spraydrift

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The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued fines totaling $2250 to pesticide contractors after spray drift incidents in Moree and Tamworth.

The fines came after the EPA investigated complaints from a Moree grazier and a Tamworth olive grower.

Northern director Adam Gilligan said that in both incidents, the EPA had found evidence that the neighbouring properties had been affected by the spray drift.

Mr Gilligan said that, with winter spraying now under way, pesticide users must take all necessary precautions to ensure they were using pesticide products safely.

Spray drift can impact the agricultural operations of neighbouring properties and pose a serious threat to the health of the operators, community and the environment if spraying is not carried out appropriately,” he said.

The EPA said the Moree landholder had lodged a complaint after his grazing land was subject to spray drift when an aerial operator applied pesticides to a cotton crop on the adjoining farm.

The EPA fined the aerial pesticide operator $1500.

In the other incident, the EPA issued a fine of $750 to a Tamworth-based pesticides contractor after receiving a complaint that pesticides had drifted onto an established olive grove while spraying was occurring on the adjoining farm.

Mr Gilligan said anyone using pesticides was legally required to read the product’s label instructions, follow directions, “and where appropriate, apply suitable buffer distances to ensure pesticides do not drift”.

“Other than people using small amounts of pesticides by hand in non-commercial circumstances, most operators must have received appropriate training and hold current certification in order to apply pesticides,” he said.

“Equally important, they must keep appropriate records.”

1995-2016: Innisfail Water Supply (Queensland). Pesticides: Chlorpyrifos, Fenthion Methyl, Fenthion, Diuron, Simazine, Imidacloprid

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Raw Water Innisfail (Queensland)

Raw Water Source Results Summary 1995-2011

Maximum Results: Chlorpyrifos (1 detection) 0.33ug/L, Fenthion Methyl (1 detection) 1.3ug/L, Diuron (4 detections) 0.1ug/L, Simazine (1 detection) 0.01ug/L, Imidacloprid (26 detections) 0.1ug/L, Fenthion (1 detection) 0.007ug/L 15/7/14)

Innisfail 2013-16

Imidacloprid 0.23ug/L (max), 0.06av.

Innisfail Treatment Plant 2001-11

Imidacloprid 0.1ug/L (max), 0.02ug/L av.

Innisfail Treatment Plant 2013-16

Imidacloprid 0.19ug/L (max), 0.05ug/L av

Innisfail 2012-16 South Johnstone

Imidacloprid 0.2ug/L (max), 0.05ug/L av

Source: Cassowary Coast Regional Council – Drinking Water Quality Management Plan June 2017

2014/7: Wallaville Reservoir (Wallaville, Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Hexazinone, Metolachlor, Diuron

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Wallaville Reservoir (Wallaville Queensland)

2014/15: Atrazine 0.05ug/L, Hexazinone 0.04ug/L, Metolachlor 0.06ug/L

2015/16: Atrazine 0.15ug/L, Diuron 0.04ug/L, Hexazinone 0.02ug/L, Metolachlor 0.07ug/L

2016/17: Atrazine 0.28ug/L, Hexazinone 0.08ug/L, Metolachlor 0.14ug/L

Bundaberg Shire Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plans 2014/17

2013/7: Gregory River Reservoir (Childers/Woodgate, Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Diuron, Metolachlor

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Gregory River Reservoir (Childers/Woodgate Queensland)

2013/14: Atrazine 0.02ug/L, Diuron 0.07ug/L, Metolachlor 0.02ug/L

2014/15: Atrazine 0.56ug/L, Diuron 0.11ug/L, Metolachlor 0.26ug/L

2015/16: Atrazine 0.18ug/L, Diuron 0.1ug/L, Metolachlor 0.33ug/L

2016/17: Diuron 0.03ug/L, Metolachlor 0.07ug/L

Bundaberg Shire Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plans 2013/17

2016/17: Atherton (Queensland) – Pesticides: Bromophos Ethyl, Dichlorvos, Endrin Ketone, Heptachlor

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2016-17 Atherton Queensland

Dichlorvos 0.2ug/L (reticulation)

Heptachlor 0.01ug/L (reticulation)

Bromphos-Ethyl 0.1ug/L (source water)

Dichlorvos 0.2ug/L (source water)

Endrin Ketone 0.01ug/L (source water)

Heptachlor 0.01ug/L (source water)

Tablelands Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan Annual Report 2016-17

2015/16: Tieri (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desthylatrazine, Tebuthiuron, Metolachlor

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2015/16: Tieri (Queensland) Pesticides

Tieri Reticulation:

Atrazine: 0.21ug/L(max), 0.18ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.05ug/L(max), 0.03ug/L (av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.11ug/L(max), 0.09ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.03ug/L(max), 0.02ug/L(av)

Tieri Raw:

Atrazine: 0.37ug/L(max), 0.3ug/L(av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.1ug/L(max), 0.08ug/L(av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.12ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.04ug/L(max), 0.03ug/L(av)

Source: Central Highlands Regional Council – Drinking Water Quality Management Plan (DWQMP) Annual Report 2015/16

2015/16: Rolleston (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desthylatrazine, Tebuthiuron, Metolachlor

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2015/16: Rolleston (Queensland) Pesticides

Rolleston Reticulation:

Atrazine: 0.23ug/L(max), 0.18ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.06ug/L(max), 0.04ug/L (av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.02ug/L(max), 0.02ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.4ug/L(max), 0.03ug/L(av)

Rolleston Raw:

Atrazine: 0.4ug/L(max), 0.2ug/L(av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.1ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L(av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.1ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 1.1ug/L(max), 0.4ug/L(av)

Source: Central Highlands Regional Council – Drinking Water Quality Management Plan (DWQMP) Annual Report 2015/16

2015/16: Emerald (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethylatrazine, Simazine, Tebuthiuron

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2015/16: Emerald (Queensland) Pesticides

Emerald Reticulation:

Atrazine: 0.08ug/L(max), 0.05ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.03ug/L(max), 0.02ug/L (av)

Simazine: 0.03ug/L(max), 0.02ug/L(av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.15ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L(av)

Emerald Raw:

Desethylatrazine: 0.1ug/L(max)

Tebuthiuron: 0.2ug/L(max)

Source: Central Highlands Regional Council – Drinking Water Quality Management Plan (DWQMP) Annual Report 2015/16

2015/16: Duaringa (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethylatrazine, Simazine, Tebuthiuron, Metolachlor

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2015/16: Duaringa (Queensland) Pesticides

Duaringa Reticulation:

Atrazine: 0.17ug/L(max), 0.12ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.04ug/L(max), 0.04ug/L (av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.09ug/L(max), 0.07ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.19ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L(av)

Duaringa Raw:

Atrazine: 0.1ug/L(max), 0.07ug/L(av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.04ug/L(max), 0.02ug/L(av)

Simazine: 0.11ug/L(max), 0.4ug/L(av) ??

Tebuthiuron: 0.39ug/L(max), 0.36ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.05ug/L(max), 0.03ug/L(av)

Source: Central Highlands Regional Council – Drinking Water Quality Management Plan (DWQMP) Annual Report 2015/16

2015/16: Comet (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethylatrazine, Tebuthiuron, Metolachlor

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2015/16: Comet (Queensland) Pesticides

Comet Reticulation:

Atrazine: 0.46ug/L(max), 0.32ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.11ug/L(max), 0.08ug/L (av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.06ug/L(max), 0.04ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.05ug/L(max), 0.03ug/L(av)

Comet Raw:

Atrazine: 1ug/L(max)

Desethylatrazine: 0.2ug/L(max)

Tebuthiuron: 0.4ug/L(max)

Metolachlor: 1.7ug/L(max)

Source: Central Highlands Regional Council – Drinking Water Quality Management Plan (DWQMP) Annual Report 2015/16

2015/16: Capella (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethylatrazine, Tebuthiuron, Metolachlor

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2015/16: Capella (Queensland) Pesticides

Capella Reticulation:

Atrazine: 0.39ug/L(max), 0.3ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.06ug/L(max), 0.05ug/L (av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.04ug/L(max), 0.02ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.13ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L(av)

Capella Raw:

Atrazine: 0.53ug/L(max), 0.48ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.28ug/L(max), 0.21ug/L (av)

Metolachlor: 0.33ug/L(max), 0.22ug/L(av)

Source: Central Highlands Regional Council – Drinking Water Quality Management Plan (DWQMP) Annual Report 2015/16

2015/16: Blackwater (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethylatrazine, Tebuthiuron, Metolachlor

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2015/16: Blackwater (Queensland) Pesticides

Blackwater Reticulation:

Atrazine: 0.47ug/L(max), 0.42ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.07ug/L(max), 0.07ug/L (av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.11ug/L(max), 0.11ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.19ug/L(max), 0.14ug/L(av)

Blackwater Raw:

Atrazine: 0.5ug/L(max), 0.3ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.1ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L (av)

Tebuthiuron: 0.2ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L(av)

Metolachlor: 0.2ug/L(max), 0.1ug/L(av)

Source: Central Highlands Regional Council – Drinking Water Quality Management Plan (DWQMP) Annual Report 2015/16

2018 April: Tatong (Victoria) – Victorian Protected Cockatoos Killed By Chemical. Pesticide: Omethoate

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Victorian protected cockatoos killed by chemical

A COMMON farm chemical possibly made into baits is behind the mass deaths of protected sulphur-crested cockatoos in Victoria’s northeast, authorities say.

More than 250 of the birds died at Tatong, near Benalla, in January and February, prompting calls to wildlife officers from the Department of Environment.

Greg Chant from the department said testing of samples from the dead birds indicated they had died from omethoate poisoning.

“Omethoate is a common farm chemical used to protect crops from red-legged earth mites,” he said.

“It’s possible omethoate was illegally used to create a homemade bait, which the birds ate.” The cockatoos are protected under the Wildlife Act and there are significant penalties — including imprisonment — for hunting, taking or destroying protected species.

It is also illegal to make bait products without appropriate authorisation, Mr Chant said.

“The incident highlights that using chemical products in an illegal way poses an unacceptable risk to wildlife,” he added.

“It is unclear if the birds were deliberately poisoned or not, but illegally destroying protected native wildlife is a serious environmental crime.”

The department is now looking for the person responsible and anyone with information can make anonymous calls to the department on 136 186 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 300 000.

2017 May: Murrabit (Victoria) – Biker Spray and Wiped

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Biker spray and wiped

AN angry motorcyclist who was sprayed with chemicals from a crop duster has voiced his frustration at the lack of accountability from multiple government bodies.

Adrian McVeigh was riding with a group of seven people travelling along Benjeroop-Tresco Road on his way to the Murrabit Country Market when he noticed a low flying crop duster.

“He was very low, I actually thought he was going to try and land on the road,” Mr McVeigh said.

“I was approaching a bend and just before I entered it my visor was obscured by the chemicals the crop duster released.

“Of the seven in our riding group, four of us were covered from head to toe.”

While Mr McVeigh was concerned enough about the incident to report it and visit a GP, it was actually the follow-up responses he received that left him frustrated and concerned.

“I really wasn’t too sure who the right reporting body would be but I felt it should be reported,” he said.

“Not just for the fact we were covered in chemicals while travelling on a public road, but because it could have caused me to have an accident as I entered the bend.

“I rang multiple places and each seemed to keep passing the buck and nobody seemed to believe it was their responsibility.

“What I did learn is there is more protection for crops and livestock in the event of this occurring than there is for people.”

Mr McVeigh said he contacted Gannawarra Shire Council, who advised it was not within local council power and recommended he contact the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) who then advised it was not an issue for them. Mr McVeigh now states the council is following up on the issue.

He also contacted the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) who put him in contact with the chemical standards officer.

He contacted VicRoads, who claimed no jurisdiction and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), who said their role was in relation to the plane only, not the chemical aspect.

Mr McVeigh also contacted WorkSafe Victoria as he felt the pilot may have been operating outside safe procedures and they informed him they could only investigate a matter that was happening now, not an incident that had already happened and was not continuing. He claims WorkSafe staff were rude and dismissive.

DEDJTR provided a list of chemicals sprayed and according to their safety data sheets they should not cause health effects but he suffered a headache for two days after the incident and is unsure if it was connected.

His motorcycle and helmet were both covered with the chemicals and he is concerned this could void warranty.

“I just don’t understand why there seems to be no duty of care,” Mr McVeigh said.

“I don’t know why he dropped the chemicals so close to the road knowing we were there.”

A spokesperson for DEDJTR responded to the claims saying aerial spraying of agricultural chemicals in Victoria is regulated by both the DEDJTR and CASA.

“Under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Act 1992 administered by DEDJTR, there are various restrictions in place regarding which chemicals can be applied by air and in which locations and circumstances,” the spokesperson said.

“These restrictions vary based on what individual chemical was used and how it was used.

“The Act also contains notification requirements when applying agricultural chemicals by air or mister within 200 metres of a school, hospital, aged care service or children’s service.

DEDJTR also said there were various offences that may apply (to breaches of the act) depending on what individual chemical was used and how it was used.

The penalties may range from $310 to $63,500.

According to DEDJTR it is not currently a requirement for sprayers to post a warning to alert passing civilians that spraying is taking place.

“The potential health impacts from spraydrift depends on the amount of drift, the toxicity of the chemical, the nature of exposure (inhalation or skin) and duration,” the spokesperson said.

Mr McVeigh said regardless of the circumstances he should never have been covered in chemicals from a plane.

“I was just enjoying a relaxing ride with friends to the local market, this should never happen,” he said.

DEDJTR can provide information to the public regarding chemicals used in spraying and their health risks.

More information on what to do if spraydrift has occurred can be accessed by visiting Agricultural Victoria website.

DEDJTR are continuing to assist Mr McVeigh in the matter.

2016 March – Spray Drift Pilot Found Guilty (Piangil Victoria)

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Spray drift pilot found guilty

7 March 2016

A licenced aerial spraying pilot has been found guilty in the Swan Hill Magistrates’ Court of causing chemical spray to drift onto a neighbouring crop.

In June 2014 the pilot sprayed a selective herbicide onto a canola crop at Piangil, which subsequently drifted onto a neighbour’s wheat crop.

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) Leading Chemical Standards Officer Alex Perera said the damage caused by the spray drift was significant.

“About 40 hectares (100 acres) of the wheat crop was affected by the pilot’s actions,” Mr Perera said.

“It’s important that all chemical users, whether they’re using ground based or aerial equipment, take appropriate steps to minimise the risk of spray drift,” he said.

“Pilots should make every effort to ensure maps provided by their clients include the location of any sensitive crops or sites in the surrounding area.”

Causing spray drift damage to plants of economic value is an offence under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992.

The pilot received a 12-month good behaviour bond, and was ordered to donate $3,000 to the Swan Hill CFA.

For more information on spray drift management, including DEDJTR’s Top 10 Spraying please contact the Customer Service Centre on 136186 or go to www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/chemicaluse.

2018 April: Australian Barley Banned in Japan. Pesticide: Azoxystrobin

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Japan partially bans Australian barley over excessive pesticide levels (April 3 2018)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-03/japan-partially-bans-australian-barley-over-pesticide-levels/9614952

The Japanese Government has banned some imports of Australian barley after pesticides five times the normal limit were detected.

Key points:

  • High levels of the pesticide azoxystrobin were detected
  • The shipment came from ITOCHU Corporation
  • Authorities said azoxystrobin had been used as a fungicide for grains, fruit and vegetables around the world and was safe

Hundreds of thousands of cereal products containing the barley are now being recalled.

The pesticide azoxystrobin was detected in a shipment of Australian barley from ITOCHU Corporation that arrived in August.

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food is now investigating and analysing all shipments of Australian barley.

Almost half of the 85 tonne export has already been used in food products and most likely already eaten, but ITOCHU said the quantity and concentration of pesticides detected did not pose a health risk.

Nevertheless, food company Nissin Cisco has voluntarily recalled 315,000 of its cereal products.

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food has banned future shipments of barley from ITOCHU, but this will not impact exports which already have approval.

“ITOCHU says something possibly happened between harvesting and shipping, perhaps during the cleaning process, but they are still investigating,” the ministry’s Tetsuo Ushikusa told the ABC.

“It’s very unlikely that it suddenly appeared in the fields.”

“In the last 14-15 years, azoxystrobin has never been detected from Australian imports — not even a tiny amount.”

The Japanese Government has given ITOCHU until April 27 to provide the results of its investigation.

The ministry said azoxystrobin had been used as a fungicide for grains, fruit and vegetables around the world and was safe.

In a statement, ITOCHU apologised and said it was working hard to make sure it never happened again.

Australian barley scare widens as Japanese company recalls 132,000 yoghurt bowls

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-04/australian-barley-pesticide-scare-widens-across-japan/9618544

Kyoto-based Japan Luna has announced the voluntary recall of 132,000 yoghurt bowls containing cereal from the suspect batch.

On Tuesday, Nissin Cisco recalled 315,000 of its cereal products.

A shipment of Australian barley from ITOCHU Corporation in August last year was found to have residue of the pesticide azoxystrobin well above normal levels.

The Japanese Government has banned imports of barley from ITOCHU, and all shipments of the Australian grain are now being closely inspected and analysed.

The import ban will not impact exports which already have approval.

ITOCHU to conduct thorough investigation

Almost half of the 85 tonne export with pesticide traces has already been used in food products and most likely already eaten, but ITOCHU said the quantity and concentration of the susbstance detected did not pose a health risk.

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food said it had given ITOCHU until April 27 to conduct a thorough investigation to find out what happened and how the batch had become tainted.

“ITOCHU says something possibly happened between harvesting and shipping, perhaps during the cleaning process, but they are still investigating,” the ministry’s Tetsuo Ushikusa told the ABC.

“It’s very unlikely that it suddenly appeared in the fields.

“In the last 14-15 years, azoxystrobin has never been detected from Australian imports — not even a tiny amount.”

In a statement, ITOCHU apologised and said it was working hard to make sure it never happened again.

2014-15: Moura Water Treatment Plant (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Dicofol, Endosulfan (Total), Endosulfan (Lactose), Endrin, Hexazinone, Metolachlor, Simazine, Tebuthiuron

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Moura – Water Treatment Plant

Banana Shire Drinking Water Quality Management Plan 2014/15

Quarterly Regulator Report Jul-Sep 2014

Atrazine, 0.05ug/L, Hexazinone 0.02ug/L, Metolachlor 0.04ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.05ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Jan-Mar 2015

Atrazine 0.03ug/L, Hexazinone 0.04ug/L, Simazine 0.03ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.27ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Apr-Jun 2015

Atrazine, 0.3ug/L, Dicofol 1.5ug/L, Endosulfan (Total) 0.6ug/L, Endosulfan (Lactose) 0.5ug/L, Endrin 0.2ug/L, Metolachlor 0.1ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.2ug/L [also detected 1H-Benzotriazole 0.7ug/L a heterocyclic compound].

2014-15: Moura – Dawson River (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Endosulfan (Total), Endosulfan (Lactose), Hexazinone, Metoloachlor, Tebuthiuron, Terbuthylazine

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Moura – Dawson River

Banana Shire Drinking Water Quality Management Plan 2014/15

Quarterly Regulator Report Jul-Sep 2014

Atrazine, 0.06ug/L, Hexazinone 0.02ug/L, Metolachlor 0.04ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.05ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Jan-Mar 2015

Endosulfan (Total) 1.2ug/L, Hexazinone 0.03ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.49ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Apr-Jun 2015

Atrazine, 0.3ug/L, Endosulfan (Total) 0.6ug/L, Endosulfan (Lactose) 0.5ug/L, Metolachlor 0.1ug/L, Terbuthylazine 0.2ug/L

2014-15: Dawson River (SW) (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Chlordane, DEET, Desethyl Atrazine, Dicofol, Diuron, Hexazinone, Metolachlor, Tebuthiuron

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Dawson River SW

Banana Shire Drinking Water Quality Management Plan 2014/15

Quarterly Regulator Report Jul-Sep 2014

Atrazine, 0.1ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.03ug/L, Metolachlor 0.12ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.1ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Oct-Dec 2014

Atrazine, 0.11ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.03ug/L, Diuron 0.02ug/L, Hexazinone 0.03ug/L, Metolachlor 0.13ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.13ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Jan-Mar 2015

Chlordane, 0.4ug/L, DEET 1.7ug/L, Dicofol 2.9ug/L [also detected Moclobemide  1.9ug/L a mental health drug]

Quarterly Regulator Report Apr-Jun 2015

Atrazine, 0.32ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.06ug/L, Metolachlor 0.89ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.13ug/L

2014-15: Baralaba WTP (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethyl Atrazine, Dicofol, Hexazinone, Metolachlor, Tebuthiuron,

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Baralaba WTP

Banana Shire Drinking Water Quality Management Plan 2014/15

Quarterly Regulator Report Jul-Sep 2014

Atrazine, 0.1ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.3ug/L, Metolachlor 0.12ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.11ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Oct-Dec 2014

Atrazine, 0.1ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.03ug/L, Hexazinone 0.03ug/L, Metolachlor 0.13ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.13ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Jan-Mar 2015

Atrazine, 0.34ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.04ug/L, Dicofol 2.9ug/L, Hexazinone 0.03ug/L, Metolachlor 0.1ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.37ug/L

Quarterly Regulator Report Apr-Jun 2015

Atrazine, 0.37ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.05ug/L, Metolachlor 0.91ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.13ug/L

2018 April: Tests Reveal Poison Risk in Backyard Chook Pens. Pesticides: Dieldrin, DDT, Aldrin

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Tests reveal poison risk in backyard chook pens

PerthNow

URBAN chook owners are being warned of the risk of eating their pets’ eggs after tests revealed toxic pesticides banned in the 1980s are still lurking in backyard soils.

A Perth laboratory that does soil and egg tests for residents said dieldrin and other banned pesticides were still found in dangerously high levels throughout the metropolitan area.

ARL Group tested soil from the Hilton home of Frank Mofflin and his wife and three young daughters, who keep six chickens. It showed dieldrin levels of 0.14 parts per million (ppm), which was 2.33 times the safe level recommended by Department of Agriculture and Food WA.

Dieldrin is an organochlorine pesticide (OCP) which takes decades to degrade and has been linked to diseases including breast cancer and early onset Parkinson’s disease.

OCP chemicals accumulate in fatty tissues in humans and animals such as chooks, which transfer the toxins to their eggs. Dieldrin and other OCPs started to be banned in Australia in the 1980s.

ARL laboratory manager Douglas Todd said up to 40 per cent of eggs tested at the laboratory recorded “above allowable levels” of dieldrin and other banned pesticides such as DDT and aldrin.

“If I had backyard chickens I would definitely be getting tests done because I’ve seen enough tests with above-allowable levels that I would be cautious about eating any (backyard) eggs,” Mr Todd said.

DAFWA’s website highlights health risks from banned pesticides. It recommends “poultry do not have access to soils with OC levels of 0.06 ppm or above as chickens can easily consume soil when feeding”.

A map showing where OCPs were used during the Argentine ant eradication program in the 1970s covers a big swathe of Perth, stretching north to Balcatta, east to Midland, west to Fremantle and as far south as Armadale.

Pockets of regional towns, including Albany, Busselton, Bunbury, Harvey, Mandurah and Two Rocks are also listed.

“There may be areas (in Perth) that were treated by private contractors and these are not listed,” the website states.

“The map is only a guide to whether poultry may have a higher residue risk via soil ingestion in treated areas.

“If you run free-range chickens for either commercial or domestic consumption, you should be aware of the possibility of OC contamination.

“Anyone who runs or intends to run free range chickens in any area of WA that was developed before 1987 when OCs were banned should arrange testing of the soil where the chicken coop is sited and where the chickens will be allowed to roam.”

Mr Mofflin, 40, said when his family moved in last August they “adopted” the chooks from the former owner.

“We thought it was great to have the chooks and we were getting about five eggs a day,” Mr Mofflin said.

But after friends warned them, the couple organised getting the soil tested.

“As soon we got the test results, I said, ‘Right, that’s it, we’re not eating any more eggs’. So now we just smash them and we’ll leave the chooks to live out their days in our yard,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said while it was encouraging to see an increasing number of people becoming urban chook owners, they needed to be aware of the risks.

“We want to encourage as many urban people as possible to be engaged with their food and food source,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“I think there’s incredible benefits for people growing their own food and being connected to where your food is from.

“But there’s no doubt there was a lot of these pesticides spread around previously.”

“I wouldn’t say to people to give up their chooks but we encourage people to have tests done,” she said.

“There is some risk that areas have higher than acceptable residual pesticide levels, but we believe this is a vast minority of properties.

“Residual pesticides in backyard soils are not often above recommended levels, but if landholders are concerned, the ChemCentre and private labs can provide soil testing services and Local Government Environmental Health Officers or WA Health’s Environmental Health Directorate can assist with interpretation of results.

“We want to encourage people to be better informed about both the benefits and potential risks of growing their own food.”

“I have discussed this matter with Perth NRM (Natural Resource Management) who have agreed to develop a project as part of their Food Future initiative to ensure generations to come have access to safe, healthy and local fresh food.”

2015/17: Warra Water Treatment Plant (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethyl Atrazine, Deisosopropyl Atrazine, Diuron, Metolachlor, Simazine, Tebuthiuron

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2015-17: Warra Water Treatment Plant (Warra)

Atrazine 0.17ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.18ug/L, Deisosopropyl Atrazine 0.05ug/L, Diuron 0.02ug/L, Metolachlor 0.28ug/L, Simazine 0.03ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.06ug/L

2015-16 Western Downs Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

Atrazine 0.12ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.08ug/L, Metolachlor 0.11ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.03ug/L

2016-17 Western Downs Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

2015/17: Jandowae Water Treatment Plant (Queensland) – Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethyl Atrazine, Desisopropyl Atrazine, Metolachlor, Tebuthiuron

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2015-17: Jandowae Water Treatment Plant (Jandowae)

Maximum detections only

Atrazine 0.11ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.05ug/L, Metolachlor 0.2ug/L

2015-16 Western Downs Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

Atrazine 1.8ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.05ug/L, Desisopropyl Atrazine 0.08ug/L, Metolachlor 1.7ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.08ug/L

2016-17 Western Downs Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

2015/17: Condamine Water Treatment Plant (Qld). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethyl Atrazine, DEET, Metoloachlor, Simazine, Tebuthiuron

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2015-17: Condamine Water Treatment Plant (Condamine)

Atrazine 0.09ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.03ug/L, DEET 0.02ug/L, Metolachlor 0.16ug/L, Simazine 0.02ug/L

2015-16 Western Downs Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

Atrazine 0.11ug/L, Metolachlor 1.3ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.09ug/L

2016-17 Western Downs Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

2015/17: Chinchilla Water Treatment Plant (Qld). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethyl Atrazine, Desisopropyl Atrazine, Diuron, Metolachlor, Simazine, Tebuthiuron, Terbuthylazine

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2015-17: Chinchilla Water Treatment Plant (Chinchilla)

Atrazine 0.07ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.03ug/L, Metolachlor 0.11ug/L, Simazine 0.02ug/L

2015-16 Western Downs Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

Atrazine 1.2ug/L, Desethyl Atrazine 0.13ug/L, Desisopropyl Atrazine 0.06ug/L,Diuron 0.02ug/L, Metolachlor 3.9ug/L, Simazine 0.05ug/L, Tebuthiuron 0.04ug/L, Terbuthylazine 0.2ug/L

2016-17 Western Downs Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan

2014/17: Home Hill Water Tower Drinking Water (Queensland). Pesticide: Desethyl Atrazine

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Home Hill Water Tower – Queensland

2014/15: Desethyl Atrazine 0.15ug/L (max), 0.076ug/L (av)

2015/16: Desethyl Atrazine 0.04ug/L (max), 0.035ug/L (av)

2016/17: Desethyl Atrazine 0.05ug/L (max), 0.043ug/L (av)

Source: Burdekin Shire Drinking Water Quality Management Plans 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17

2014/16: Giru/Cungulla Drinking Water (Queensland). Pesticides: Atrazine, Desethylatrazine, Hexazinone, Metolachlor, Diuron, Imidacloprid

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Giru/Cungulla (Queensland) Drinking Water 2014/16

2014/15:

Atrazine: 1.1ug/L (max), 0.4ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.12ug/L (max), 0.063ug/L (av)

Hexazinone: 0.07ug/L (max), 0.055ug/L (av)

Metolachlor: 0.06ug/L (max), 0.05ug/L (av)

2015/16:

Atrazine: 1.3ug/L (max), 0.463ug/L (av)

Desethylatrazine: 0.06ug/L (max), 0.055ug/L (av)

Diuron: 0.04ug/L (max), 0.04ug/L (av)

Metolachlor 0.07ug/L (max), 0.07ug/L (av)

2016/17

Desethylatrazine: 0.15ug/L (max), 0.125ug/L (av)

Imidacloprid: 0.12ug/L (max), 0.1ug/L (av)

Source: Burdekin Shire Drinking Water Quality Management Plans 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17

 

 

2009/16: Ayr/Brandon Drinking Water (Queensland): Atrazine, Metolachlor, DEET

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Ayr/Brandon Drinking Water

2014/15: Ayr/Brandon Metolachlor: 0.4ug/L (max), 0.4ug/L (average)

2015/16: Ayr/Brandon DEET: 0.2ug/L (max), 0.2ug/L (average)

Source: Drinking Water Quality Management Plans 2014-15, 2015-16

Herbicide in drinking water ‘safe’

The Burdekin Shire Council says it does have traces of the farm chemical Atrazine in its town water supply, but well below safe drinking guidelines.

The Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research (ACTFR) says Atrazine has been found in large quantities in north Queensland rivers and poses a public health risk because it has polluted town water supplies.

The chemical is used by cane farmers to control weeds and is also a known carcinogen.

Burdekin Mayor Lyn McLaughlin says the town water supply is tested at least once a year and the levels are a fraction of those set down under the Australian guidelines for drinking water.

She says one of the main roles of local government is to provide a safe water supply.

“Not only are we below the drinking water guidelines, we’re also well below the Australian health guidelines for chemical in the water,” she said.

“I think people in the district can feel very safe about what they’re drinking.

“This is only one of the chemicals that we check for – there’s a long list of things that are checked under the health services.”

‘Significant threat’

ACTFR scientist Jon Brodie says he believes Atrazine in drinking water poses a significant threat to human health, while Tasmanian Greens’ MP Tim Morris says the campaign against Atrazine has been going on for many years in that state.

Mr Morris says no-one has successfully stopped that category of chemicals from finding their way into water supplies.

“Given the evidence that’s in against triazine chemicals, we’re continuing to call for a ban on the use of triazines in Tasmania,” he said.

“There are other alternatives that are less toxic.”

‘No trace’

Meanwhile, Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon says residents can rest assured there is no trace of Atrazine in the region’s water supply.

He says the council tests Innisfail’s water supply every month and no Atrazine has been detected in recent years.

“Of course it only would be an issue in intakes that are in the middle of agricultural areas and that does include Innisfail,” councillor Shannon said.

“The inputs for water elsewhere in the Cassowary coast region – for example Tully and the beaches – those intakes are in the world heritage area where there’s no chance of any agricultural run-off.”

2018 March (Queensland) Pesticides Killing Prawn Larvae in Early Warning for $80m Industry. Pesticides: Bifenthrin, Fipronil, Imidacloprid,

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Pesticides killing prawn larvae in early warning for $80m industry

Pesticides from farms and cane fields washing into Queensland’s six main river systems could severely damage the state’s $80 million prawn industry, according to CSIRO research.

Pesticide run-off from farms was affecting crustaceans’ nervous systems and, in Bribie Island laboratory tests from 2017, tiger prawn larvae exposed to the level of pesticides found in the waterways would die.

Adult prawns, subjected to rigorous testing, showed no evidence of pesticide contamination.

The research also found that if subsequent field tests backed up the CSIRO’s findings, there could be a major impact on Queensland’s multimillion-dollar prawn industry and Australia’s $1 billion aquaculture industry.

The report, The impacts of modern-use pesticides on shrimp aquaculture; an assessment for north eastern Australia, was published in the February 2018 edition of the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety

CSIRO lead researcher Dr Sharon Hook said there was “one piece of evidence” that pesticides  from farms were affecting crustaceans.

Dr Hook said the 2017 research must now be tested on larvae in the rivers where pesticide levels varied with stream flow.

“It seems to be preventing them from eating,” Dr Hook said.

“[Pesticides] are near the concentrations where they are just not able to catch live prey.

“But these lab studies were done in a beaker and we haven’t yet had the opportunity to test this in the real world.

“Scientists are a cautious breed. This is one piece of evidence and we would like to have a weight of evidence before we can say we have a cause and effect.”

Professor Jon Brodie, the chief scientist from James Cook University’s Catchment to Reef Processes research group, said the preliminary research was valuable.

“It again shows that we have pesticides above guideline levels in Queensland streams and particularly near the Great Barrier Reef where I work,” he said.

“That in itself is not news.

“But what this shows is that these sorts of levels can hurt prawns.”

More than 95 per cent of Australia’s prawn industry is in Queensland as prawns prefer water temperatures above 25 degrees.

Australian Prawn Farmers Association president Matt West said the CSIRO research showed pesticides were killing prawn larvae.

“I guess it’s the early stages of alarm bells, if you like, based on the results they have done in a lab,” Mr West said.

“What we are talking about is pesticides in estuaries in run-off from agricultural farms, which appears to be elevating.

“So we are getting mortality with our larvae stages.”

Mr West insisted rigorous annual tests with Queensland’s Department of Agriculture showed no pesticides at all in adult prawns.

“So there is no effect on human health in consuming these animals,” Mr West said.

Fisheries expert Dr Matt Landos said the situation was a “canary in the coal mine situation” for Australia’s prawn and crustacean industry.

“What they found was that at the low levels of these chemicals, in fact at staggering low levels, the prawns stopped eating,” he said.

“We now have the science.”

The CSIRO scientists investigated the impact of three common pesticides – bifenthrin, fipronil and imidacloprid – that they discovered in rivers near Mackay and Logan.

The scientists said all pesticide levels in Queensland’s coastal rivers were increasing as farms shifted from older-style organophosphate pesticides to modern neonicotinoid pesticides, following world trends.

CSIRO research shows increasing proportions of pesticides in Queensland streams, though not all to dangerous levels.

CSIRO research shows increasing proportions of pesticides in Queensland streams, though not all to dangerous levels.

Photo: CSIRO

Neonicotinoid pesticides influence receptors in the brains of sucking and chewing insects.

They make up more than 24 per cent of the world’s pesticides and were linked to honey-bee deaths in the United States in the early 2000s.

They are now widely used on Queensland’s cane farms and fruit and vegetable farms, and to control pests.

The CSIRO report found the pesticides had low toxicity to birds and mammals, but higher toxicity to fish and arthropods.

The team of scientists tested the “lethal toxicity” of the pesticides on baby black tiger prawns and found that: “Each of these insecticides was among pesticides detected in some samples collected from shrimp farm intake waters, and at concentrations approaching those that would either impact survival (fipronil) or their feeding rates (bifenthrin and imidacloprid).”

Dr Hook said Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science had decided recently to upgrade water quality guidelines on pesticides, however that could not be confirmed.

A spokesman for Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said the CSIRO research had yet to be evaluated.

“As yet we cannot confirm the accuracy of CSIRO’s conclusions,” the spokesman said.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority described the CSIRO study as an “initial limited study” only.

“The APVMA will continue to monitor and consider any further scientific work on this issue,” a spokesman said.

The APVMA said a review of fipronil began in 2011 because of environmental concerns, while a review of bifenthrin was completed 10 years ago and imidacloprid had never been reviewed.

2018 February: Riverland (South Australia) – Spray Drift. Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Spray drift towards SA vineyards prompts calls for crackdown on crop spraying ‘recklessness’

Feb 28 2018

A regional South Australian wine body is calling for officials to crack down on weed spraying “recklessness”, or banning products, amid a spike in reports of chemical damage due to spray drift.

Biosecurity SA has confirmed a number of cases of spray drift in two of the state’s most prominent wine regions, with five reported cases in the Riverland between mid-January to mid-February, and eight in the Clare Valley.

Spray drift can see chemical particles travel away from its intended target site in certain weather, with some conditions, such as inversions, pushing spray drift up to 70 kilometres.

Such herbicide drift has recently caused headaches for farmers across the country, including damage to cotton crops worth tens of millions of dollars in New South Wales last Christmas.

Executive chairman of Riverland Wine, Chris Byrne, said it was frustrating to see the actions of few impacting upon so many.

“What has been occurring this year seems to have been the result of some carelessness or maybe even just some recklessness,” Mr Byrne said.

“I guess our view here at Riverland Wine is that probably 95 per cent of all users or more are being very careful, diligent or using an alternative product.

“But there are some who do not seem to understand that what they are doing … is causing harm and damage.”

A Riverland wine grape grower, who requested to remain anonymous, told the ABC their patch of young vines was subject to chemical damage from off-target spray drift last year.

“We just noticed all of a sudden that the vines just stopped growing and all the leaves were deformed,” they said.

“We got a few people out to look at it, and they said it was 2,4-D.”

They said with the significant risks posed to wine grape crops, the chemical in question needed to be taken off shelves.

“You go get hail or frost or anything like that and it’s mother nature, that’s part of being on the land,” they said.

“When it is actually caused by someone else and could have been avoided, it gets really annoying.

“If the farmers or whoever is doing it does the right thing then it should not be an issue, but I do not know if there is any way of policing that or stopping that.

A call for more to be done

South Australia’s primary industries body said offences carried a maximum penalty of $35,000, with Biosecurity SA successfully prosecuting an SA farmer of three offences last year.

Riverland Wine’s Chris Byrne said he had written to the state minister in a call for more direct action, with suggestions including a greater focus on auditing spray diaries.

However, he said if no improvements were seen, restricting access to certain sprays and herbicides, like 2,4-D, may be the final avenue left.

“It’s time for a little bit more policing of the situation and, if that does not work, it is probably time to say ‘Look, these products need to be withdrawn from sale or use for certain times of the year,” Mr Byrne said.

“That is a fairly harsh move … we are hopeful we can avoid it because of the fact there are lots of good producers who are compliant.”

In a statement made to the ABC, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) said it was “aware of incidents involving drift of 2,4-D and will continue to consider information regarding industry uses and the continued safety and effectiveness of 2,4-D, with state authorities and industry, as part of the chemical review process”.

Biosecurity SA has been contacted by the ABC for a response.

Education, not chemical bans, the key

Grain growers in South Australia have voiced similar frustration at the small percentage of farmers not abiding by regulations, but said restrictions or bans on sprays was not the answer.

Chairman of Grain Producers SA, Wade Dabinett, said continual education was a vital cog in the process.

“I think there has been plenty of research done out there, so it’s just matter of educating and extending that to our existing members,” Mr Dabinett said.

“This is something the industry has to self-regulate; I would not want to see chemicals banned or further regulation.

Mr Dabinett also welcomed government funding to improve real-time weather data for combatting spray drift, with a pilot network of 40 weather stations across South Australia set to kick-off.

“While we need to have a focus on education, providing our members with far greater information in terms of weather and an alerts system is going to allow us to make better decisions,” he said.

“I think it is a fantastic initiative, and hopefully we will see it rolled out across the state.”

2018 February: Spray Drift Clare Valley (South Australia) – Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Spray drift towards SA vineyards prompts calls for crackdown on crop spraying ‘recklessness’

Feb 28 2018

A regional South Australian wine body is calling for officials to crack down on weed spraying “recklessness”, or banning products, amid a spike in reports of chemical damage due to spray drift.

Biosecurity SA has confirmed a number of cases of spray drift in two of the state’s most prominent wine regions, with five reported cases in the Riverland between mid-January to mid-February, and eight in the Clare Valley.

Spray drift can see chemical particles travel away from its intended target site in certain weather, with some conditions, such as inversions, pushing spray drift up to 70 kilometres.

Such herbicide drift has recently caused headaches for farmers across the country, including damage to cotton crops worth tens of millions of dollars in New South Wales last Christmas.

Executive chairman of Riverland Wine, Chris Byrne, said it was frustrating to see the actions of few impacting upon so many.

“What has been occurring this year seems to have been the result of some carelessness or maybe even just some recklessness,” Mr Byrne said.

“I guess our view here at Riverland Wine is that probably 95 per cent of all users or more are being very careful, diligent or using an alternative product.

“But there are some who do not seem to understand that what they are doing … is causing harm and damage.”

A Riverland wine grape grower, who requested to remain anonymous, told the ABC their patch of young vines was subject to chemical damage from off-target spray drift last year.

“We just noticed all of a sudden that the vines just stopped growing and all the leaves were deformed,” they said.

“We got a few people out to look at it, and they said it was 2,4-D.”

They said with the significant risks posed to wine grape crops, the chemical in question needed to be taken off shelves.

“You go get hail or frost or anything like that and it’s mother nature, that’s part of being on the land,” they said.

“When it is actually caused by someone else and could have been avoided, it gets really annoying.

“If the farmers or whoever is doing it does the right thing then it should not be an issue, but I do not know if there is any way of policing that or stopping that.

A call for more to be done

South Australia’s primary industries body said offences carried a maximum penalty of $35,000, with Biosecurity SA successfully prosecuting an SA farmer of three offences last year.

Riverland Wine’s Chris Byrne said he had written to the state minister in a call for more direct action, with suggestions including a greater focus on auditing spray diaries.

However, he said if no improvements were seen, restricting access to certain sprays and herbicides, like 2,4-D, may be the final avenue left.

“It’s time for a little bit more policing of the situation and, if that does not work, it is probably time to say ‘Look, these products need to be withdrawn from sale or use for certain times of the year,” Mr Byrne said.

“That is a fairly harsh move … we are hopeful we can avoid it because of the fact there are lots of good producers who are compliant.”

In a statement made to the ABC, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) said it was “aware of incidents involving drift of 2,4-D and will continue to consider information regarding industry uses and the continued safety and effectiveness of 2,4-D, with state authorities and industry, as part of the chemical review process”.

Biosecurity SA has been contacted by the ABC for a response.

Education, not chemical bans, the key

Grain growers in South Australia have voiced similar frustration at the small percentage of farmers not abiding by regulations, but said restrictions or bans on sprays was not the answer.

Chairman of Grain Producers SA, Wade Dabinett, said continual education was a vital cog in the process.

“I think there has been plenty of research done out there, so it’s just matter of educating and extending that to our existing members,” Mr Dabinett said.

“This is something the industry has to self-regulate; I would not want to see chemicals banned or further regulation.

Mr Dabinett also welcomed government funding to improve real-time weather data for combatting spray drift, with a pilot network of 40 weather stations across South Australia set to kick-off.

“While we need to have a focus on education, providing our members with far greater information in terms of weather and an alerts system is going to allow us to make better decisions,” he said.

“I think it is a fantastic initiative, and hopefully we will see it rolled out across the state.”

2017 April: Naaracoorte (South Australia) – Spray Drift

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Biosecurity SA investigating spray drift damage in the Riverland and Mid North

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Reports of chemical damage to grape vines caused by spray drift are being investigated by PIRSA Biosecurity SA in both the Clare Valley and Riverland.

Off-target damage to grapevines has been an ongoing issue in viticultural and horticultural areas adjacent to broad acre cropping across Australia over the last decade with the move away from cultivation and towards herbicides for summer weed control,

Certain weather conditions, such as inversions, can result in spray drift damage tens of kilometres from the application site, so producers must consider that sensitive crops may be located some distance away when planning a spray operation.

PIRSA through Biosecurity SA takes this issue very seriously. While investigations can be time consuming and spray drift origins difficult to trace due to rapidly changing weather conditions, Biosecurity SA will pursue all reports of anyone who has either deliberately or negligently caused damage to others by not following regulatory requirements. If caught offences can carry a maximum penalty of $35,000.

In April 2017 Biosecurity SA successfully prosecuted a Naracoorte farmer, who was found guilty of three charges in relation to the spray drift of herbicides and fined $15,000.

February 2018: Riverlands (South Australia) – Spray Drift. Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Biosecurity SA investigating spray drift damage in the Riverland and Mid North

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Reports of chemical damage to grape vines caused by spray drift are being investigated by PIRSA Biosecurity SA in both the Clare Valley and Riverland.

Off-target damage to grapevines has been an ongoing issue in viticultural and horticultural areas adjacent to broad acre cropping across Australia over the last decade with the move away from cultivation and towards herbicides for summer weed control,

Certain weather conditions, such as inversions, can result in spray drift damage tens of kilometres from the application site, so producers must consider that sensitive crops may be located some distance away when planning a spray operation.

PIRSA through Biosecurity SA takes this issue very seriously. While investigations can be time consuming and spray drift origins difficult to trace due to rapidly changing weather conditions, Biosecurity SA will pursue all reports of anyone who has either deliberately or negligently caused damage to others by not following regulatory requirements. If caught offences can carry a maximum penalty of $35,000.

In April 2017 Biosecurity SA successfully prosecuted a Naracoorte farmer, who was found guilty of three charges in relation to the spray drift of herbicides and fined $15,000.

Anyone who suspects spray drift damage is encouraged to call the Chemical Trespass Hotline on 1300 799 684 to report it.

2018 February: 50,000 Bees Poisoned (Paddington NSW)

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Beekeepers and residents frustrated after council poisons up to 50,000 bees (Feb 9 2018)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-09/beehive-poisoned.-by-council-paddington-sydney-residents-fuming/9411092?sf181677529=1

Residents and beekeeping authorities are frustrated after a local council sprayed an urban nest with poison, killing tens of thousands of bees, in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.

Key points:

  • Local resident found dead bees beneath nest, across road
  • Council says it called pest control after a resident complained about the nest
  • Council says it was focused on minimising harm and responding to residents’ requests

Doug Purdie from The Urban Beehive said the nest — which is commonly referred to as a hive — was substantial and up to 50,000 European honey bees would have been killed in the process.

“There’s plenty of people who remove beehives so I’m not sure why the council felt the need to spray it,” he said.

Mr Purdie said local beekeeping authorities will often remove nests and relocate them for free.

“It’s just frustrating that they chose to poison it instead.” he said.

He said nests are usually removed if they are situated in problematic areas, such as near preschools.

However, Mr Purdie said poisoning a nest should be a last resort if it cannot be relocated.

The nest was situated on Glen Street, along a walkway near residential properties.

Local resident Heather Simington was shocked to find thousands of dead bees beneath the nest and across the road.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was speechless,” Ms Simington said.

“The coverage was probably a metre long and half a metre wide and 3 centimetres deep. And that’s just counting the ones under the tree.”

A spokesperson from Woollahra Municipal Council said they called pest control after a resident complained about the nest.

“We had a request to attend the hive from residents who were concerned about the bees,” the spokesperson said.

2018 January: Spray Drift Kills Cotton. Pesticide: 2,4-D

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The Courier 11/1/18 (Narrabri)

Bid to prevent spray drift in future

“We had a good discussion about how to manage the crop from now and more so how we can try and prevent it happening again.”

The late spring and summer rain might have been a blessing to cotton growers counting the cost of a lack of it earlier this year, but it has also turned out to be a curse for some.

About 6000 hectares of cotton in an area from Burren Junction to Rowena and across to Walgett has been lost due to damage from off-target spray drift around Christmas Day.

Most of the major damage has occurred on 12 properties, with some growers facing complete crop loss. Other growers have areas of cotton showing the symptoms of spray damage.

It is a devastating blow following the failure of the winter harvest and a cotton season that promised so much with rain falling at the right time.

But it is a problem that rears its head in those conditions, as the rain is also an opportunity for other farmers to use 2,4-D herbicide to control fallow weeds.

To that end, about 50 local farmers and agronomists attended an emergency meeting called by the Walgett Cotton Growers’ Association in Walgett last Thursday night.

Association vice chairman Bernie Bierhoff said nearly every dryland farmer was represented, either in person or by their agronomist.

“We had a good discussion about how to manage the crop from now and more so how we can try and prevent it happening again,” he said.

2017 December: Spray Drift Damages 6000 hectares of NSW cotton on Christmas Day. Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Spray drift damages 6,000 hectares of NSW cotton on Christmas Day

http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-01-04/spray-drift-damages-6,000-hectares-of-cotton-northern-nsw/9303354
NSW Country Hour

Cotton crops worth tens of millions of dollars in north-west New South Wales have been damaged by spray drift.

Growers have called an emergency meeting to discuss the impact and how to deal with it.

Vice chair of the Walgett Cotton Growers’ Association, Bernie Bierhoff, said about 6,000 hectares on more than a dozen farms are showing signs of damage from an incident on Christmas Day.

The affected area covers about 100 square kilometres around Burren Junction, Rowena and Walgett.

Mr Bierhoff said he was also getting reports of damage in other cotton regions further east and closer to Moree, such as Wee Waa and Bellata.

Spray drift is caused by chemicals being applied in windy conditions and in this case it is thought they may have drifted as far as 70 kilometres away.

Drift from the Phenoxy herbicide (using the active ingredient 2,4-D) has been an ongoing concern for cotton growers dating back to the 1970s.

The rising cost of alternative weed controls such as glyphosate has meant more farmers used phenoxy herbicides, which can devastate a cotton crop even in tiny amounts.

Adam Kay from Cotton Australia is frustrated by this latest incident.

“It is disappointing that a couple of broadacre farmers have not followed the proper advice or attention to detail when spraying out weeds and it has devastated quite a number of cotton crops,” he said.

Bernie Bierhoff said the situation was made more difficult because cotton farmers in the region have been dealing with dry conditions and some will have locked in contracts to deliver at the end of the season.

“Spray drift damage is a terrible blow for the affected cotton growers, who are already struggling with limited access to water for irrigation this season,” Mr Bierhoff said.

“Although the drift has caused varying degrees of severity, some growers believe they are facing complete crop loss, which would simply be devastating for them.”

Insurance is not common for cotton growers, but some may be able to plough in the damaged cotton and plant something else while others may find their crops recover from the damage.

Mr Kay said the industry had spent a lot of money to educate other farmers about being careful when spraying to kill weeds in fallow fields.

He said he was disappointed that some people were not listening.

“We’ve spent a lot of money over the years with advertising, newspaper articles and running workshops on spray application but we still see incidents like this with the phenoxy herbicide.”

2017 August: Paraquat Poisoning (Mangrove Mountain NSW) Pesticide: Paraquat

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Accidental poisoning of NSW Central Coast man leads to calls for ban on toxic herbicide

December 11 2017. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-11/near-fatal-poisoning-central-coast-man-paraquat-ban/9242454

The near-fatal poisoning of a NSW Central Coast man with severe autism who drank a cocktail of highly toxic herbicides left in an unmarked drink bottle has sparked fresh calls for a nationwide ban on Paraquat.

Damien Terry’s survival, after accidentally drinking a combination of the commercial weed killers Paraquat and Diquat, has been described as nothing less than “miraculous”.

The 21-year-old and his carer were visiting a sports oval on Mangrove Mountain in August, when he suddenly started vomiting uncontrollably shortly after returning from the disabled toilet.

He had been poisoned after accidentally sipping the chemicals, which he found in an abandoned soft drink bottle.

Safety warnings displayed on all Paraquat products include that it must be labelled clearly and not placed in drinking containers.

Doctors at Gosford Hospital told his family to prepare for the worst.

“The doctors basically said to us that Damien probably had 12 hours to live,” said Mr Terry’s mother, Julie Terry.

“Their words were ‘nobody’ survives from ingesting Paraquat.

“Obviously you go into a state of shock. Damien looked quite well, although he was vomiting quite significantly, he looked well so it was hard to comprehend that he was as ill as he was.

“At that point … they just said he would have massive organ failure and I just asked them to keep him as comfortable as possible.”

Family speaking out after ordeal

After two agonising weeks in hospital not knowing whether Mr Terry would pull through, he is now on the road to recovery and his family wants to speak out about the dangers of Paraquat.

It is a highly effective weed killer commonly used by farmers across Australia but is also extremely toxic: it only takes a few sips to kill a person and has no antidote.

In 2015, a Queensland farmer died after the deadly herbicide accidentally sprayed into his mouth when he was filling a pressure back-pack pump spray.

Paraquat has caused thousands of deaths worldwide and is banned in more than 30 countries including China, Cambodia and across the European Union.

There is also a debate about its links to Parkinson’s disease.

The poison has been under review by regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, since 1997 due to health and environmental concerns, with a final determination due next year.

The Terrys want a major crackdown on its use and availability but are ultimately seeking a nationwide ban.

“It defies logic in my mind that this is available over the counter for anybody to purchase,” Ms Terry said.

“Everybody knows these days that health and safety is a very common agenda for all of us in the workplace so I feel a bit disillusioned that the authorities didn’t keep an eye on that.”

Support for the campaign

The Terrys call is one that is strongly supported by the National Toxics Network.

“It beggars belief a pesticide of this toxicity would ever be used in a public facility, let alone decanted into a drinking bottle,” said environmental campaigner Jo Immig.

“What it really illustrates is the failure of risk management when it comes to highly dangerous pesticides.

“It’s been banned by 32 other countries and it’s high time the regulator put the needs of people and the planet first … it’s just a very highly toxic chemical that has no place in common use in Australia today.”

Newcastle University environmental contamination expert Professor Ravi Naidu has also questioned why the herbicide was anywhere near the sports ground.

“When Paraquat is applied, that time and at least for 20 days children should not be exposed at all. If they’re exposed then it poses risk,” Professor Naidu said.

He said a national ban on Paraquat would hurt the agriculture industry but agrees it should be more tightly regulated.

“I think the best way forward would be restrictive availability and therefore farmers must demonstrate they have a farm and a need for that and only the amount they need should be available.”

Investigation could take up to three years

A New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) investigation is underway into the poisoning, which could take up to three years.

An EPA spokeswoman said any pesticide misuse resulting in harm to human health is extremely serious.

She said the authority was looking at a range of offences under the pesticides legislation, with a maximum penalty of $60,000 for an individual and up to $120,000 for a corporation for each offence.

Central Coast Council has declined to comment while the incident is being investigated.

Four months on, the Terrys’ lives are returning to normal but they are determined make sure other families are spared the same trauma.

“[Damien’s] recovery has been miraculous — there’s no other word for it. He should be gone,” Ms Terry said.

2017 November: Magpies Poisoned (Coal Point NSW). Pesticides: Fenamiphos, Fenthion

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Coal Point consortium offers $5000 reward for information that leads to conviction of magpie poisoner

http://www.lakesmail.com.au/story/5037240/reward-offered-in-hunt-for-coal-point-magpie-killer/

A $5000 reward has been offered by a Coal Point “consortium” for information leading to a conviction of those responsible for killing 21 magpies at Coal Point with pesticide.

Coal Point Progress Association said the magpies were found dead on October 9 “around the perimeter of Coal Point School and Rofe Street”.

“The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is asking for the community’s help to catch a suspected bird killer,” a spokesperson for the association said.

“A local consortium is putting up a $5000 reward for information leading to a conviction.”

Laboratory analysis of one of the dead birds by the EPA revealed high concentrations of pesticides including fenamiphos and fenthion, both of which are not readily available to the public.

The EPA is also investigating the recent poisoning of birds at Budgewoi.

The EPA’s director for the Hunter region, Karen Marler, said community information could be the missing piece that helps solve the puzzle.

“Residents in Budgewoi and Warnervale will remember that this time last year, we had similar cases involving corella and magpie deaths. What’s worrying is that our lab analysis is telling us it’s the same pesticide, in the same location, along with a new location only 20km away.

“If you see anyone disposing of food or chemicals near open spaces such as ovals or parks, please call our 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.”

Ms Marler also reminded locals to be vigilant with their pets.

“Residents of Budgewoi, Coal Point and Warnervale should keep a close eye on their pets,” she said.

“We know people have used food in the past to lure and kill birds. Please make sure your pets do not eat anything foreign when on their daily walks.”

It is an offence under the EPA’s legislation to use pesticides in a manner that harms non-target animals.

The maximum penalties for this are $120,000 for an individual.

It is also an offence to cause danger or harm to an animal by littering and maximum penalties are $3,300.

2011-2016? Darwin River Reservoir (NT). Pesticide: Dicamba

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“From 2011 until July 2016, only one sample tested for pesticides has returned a result above the level of detection of the test method. The measured value, 0.0015 mg/L for Dicamba at Darwin is still well below the 2011 ADWG limit of 0.1 mg/L.
Occasionally weed problems in reservoirs and catchments can only be managed effectively through the use of herbicides. Dicamba (Banvel, 3, 6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid) is a moderate to low toxicity herbicide used to control weeds and mimosa in the catchment of Darwin River Reservoir.
Dicamba is moderately persistent in soil and breaks down to very simple substances such as carbon dioxide and water. The reported half life of Dicamba in soil ranges from one to six weeks. This herbicide is applied two to three times a year as part of the mimosa control program.
Although monitored for several years, pesticides have rarely been detected in the Northern Territory water supplies despite limited use in some areas. In consideration of these results,
pesticide monitoring during 2011-16 was restricted to Darwin and Katherine water supplies. These supplies are considered potentially vulnerable to pesticide contamination due to agricultural activities close to production bores and surface water sources.”
Power and Water Corporation – Water Quality Report 2016
https://www.powerwater.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/146237/Water_Quality_Report_2016.PDF

1982 March – Marysville (Vic). Chlordane Treated Eucalyptus Seed

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30 March 1982: Chlordane (an organochlorine) coated eucalyptus seed spread over 3000ha of native forest to regenerate forests by killing ants. Chlordane (2% Chlrodane 18g-36g per ha). 3396ha throughout the east of the state. 2253ha East Gippsland (comprising Cann River, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Omeo, Orbost and Corryong Forest Districts), 350ha North East Victoria (comprising Bright and Mansfield Forest Districts), 336ha Heyfield (comprising Heyfield, Maffra and Erica Forest Districts), 457ha Marysville (comprising Alexandra and Marysville Forest Districts). “The Forest Commission Victoria proposes to conduct a program of aerial seeding during autumn 1982 using coated eucalypts seed to regenerate forests utilised in 1980-82. The seed coating technique involves the addition of the insecticide Chlordane to control the activities of seed harvesting insects. Seed harvesting insects (mostly ants) may remove large quantities of eucalpyt seed from the site prior to germination, thus seriously affecting the amont of regeneration achieved on an area.

1982 March – Mansfield/Bright (Vic) – Chlordane Treated Eucalyptus Seed

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30 March 1982: Chlordane (an organochlorine) coated eucalyptus seed spread over 3000ha of native forest to regenerate forests by killing ants. Chlordane (2% Chlrodane 18g-36g per ha). 3396ha throughout the east of the state. 2253ha East Gippsland (comprising Cann River, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Omeo, Orbost and Corryong Forest Districts), 350ha North East Victoria (comprising Bright and Mansfield Forest Districts), 336ha Heyfield (comprising Heyfield, Maffra and Erica Forest Districts), 457ha Marysville (comprising Alexandra and Marysville Forest Districts). “The Forest Commission Victoria proposes to conduct a program of aerial seeding during autumn 1982 using coated eucalypts seed to regenerate forests utilised in 1980-82. The seed coating technique involves the addition of the insecticide Chlordane to control the activities of seed harvesting insects. Seed harvesting insects (mostly ants) may remove large quantities of eucalpyt seed from the site prior to germination, thus seriously affecting the amont of regeneration achieved on an area.

1982 March – Corryong (Vic) – Chlordane Treated Eucalyptus Seed

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30 March 1982: Chlordane (an organochlorine) coated eucalyptus seed spread over 3000ha of native forest to regenerate forests by killing ants. Chlordane (2% Chlrodane 18g-36g per ha). 3396ha throughout the east of the state. 2253ha East Gippsland (comprising Cann River, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Omeo, Orbost and Corryong Forest Districts), 350ha North East Victoria (comprising Bright and Mansfield Forest Districts), 336ha Heyfield (comprising Heyfield, Maffra and Erica Forest Districts), 457ha Marysville (comprising Alexandra and Marysville Forest Districts). “The Forest Commission Victoria proposes to conduct a program of aerial seeding during autumn 1982 using coated eucalypts seed to regenerate forests utilised in 1980-82. The seed coating technique involves the addition of the insecticide Chlordane to control the activities of seed harvesting insects. Seed harvesting insects (mostly ants) may remove large quantities of eucalpyt seed from the site prior to germination, thus seriously affecting the amont of regeneration achieved on an area.

1982 March – Orbost – Chlordane Treated Eucalyptus Seed

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30 March 1982: Chlordane (an organochlorine) coated eucalyptus seed spread over 3000ha of native forest to regenerate forests by killing ants. Chlordane (2% Chlrodane 18g-36g per ha). 3396ha throughout the east of the state. 2253ha East Gippsland (comprising Cann River, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Omeo, Orbost and Corryong Forest Districts), 350ha North East Victoria (comprising Bright and Mansfield Forest Districts), 336ha Heyfield (comprising Heyfield, Maffra and Erica Forest Districts), 457ha Marysville (comprising Alexandra and Marysville Forest Districts). “The Forest Commission Victoria proposes to conduct a program of aerial seeding during autumn 1982 using coated eucalypts seed to regenerate forests utilised in 1980-82. The seed coating technique involves the addition of the insecticide Chlordane to control the activities of seed harvesting insects. Seed harvesting insects (mostly ants) may remove large quantities of eucalpyt seed from the site prior to germination, thus seriously affecting the amont of regeneration achieved on an area.

1982 March – Omeo (Vic) Chlordane Treated Eucalypt Seed

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30 March 1982: Chlordane (an organochlorine) coated eucalyptus seed spread over 3000ha of native forest to regenerate forests by killing ants. Chlordane (2% Chlrodane 18g-36g per ha). 3396ha throughout the east of the state. 2253ha East Gippsland (comprising Cann River, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Omeo, Orbost and Corryong Forest Districts), 350ha North East Victoria (comprising Bright and Mansfield Forest Districts), 336ha Heyfield (comprising Heyfield, Maffra and Erica Forest Districts), 457ha Marysville (comprising Alexandra and Marysville Forest Districts). “The Forest Commission Victoria proposes to conduct a program of aerial seeding during autumn 1982 using coated eucalypts seed to regenerate forests utilised in 1980-82. The seed coating technique involves the addition of the insecticide Chlordane to control the activities of seed harvesting insects. Seed harvesting insects (mostly ants) may remove large quantities of eucalpyt seed from the site prior to germination, thus seriously affecting the amont of regeneration achieved on an area.

1982 March – Nowa Nowa Vic – Chlordane Treated Eucalyptus Seed

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30 March 1982: Chlordane (an organochlorine) coated eucalyptus seed spread over 3000ha of native forest to regenerate forests by killing ants. Chlordane (2% Chlrodane 18g-36g per ha). 3396ha throughout the east of the state. 2253ha East Gippsland (comprising Cann River, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Omeo, Orbost and Corryong Forest Districts), 350ha North East Victoria (comprising Bright and Mansfield Forest Districts), 336ha Heyfield (comprising Heyfield, Maffra and Erica Forest Districts), 457ha Marysville (comprising Alexandra and Marysville Forest Districts). “The Forest Commission Victoria proposes to conduct a program of aerial seeding during autumn 1982 using coated eucalypts seed to regenerate forests utilised in 1980-82. The seed coating technique involves the addition of the insecticide Chlordane to control the activities of seed harvesting insects. Seed harvesting insects (mostly ants) may remove large quantities of eucalpyt seed from the site prior to germination, thus seriously affecting the amont of regeneration achieved on an area.

1982 March – Bruthen (Vic) Chlordane Treated Eucalyptus Seed

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30 March 1982: Chlordane (an organochlorine) coated eucalyptus seed spread over 3000ha of native forest to regenerate forests by killing ants. Chlordane (2% Chlrodane 18g-36g per ha). 3396ha throughout the east of the state. 2253ha East Gippsland (comprising Cann River, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Omeo, Orbost and Corryong Forest Districts), 350ha North East Victoria (comprising Bright and Mansfield Forest Districts), 336ha Heyfield (comprising Heyfield, Maffra and Erica Forest Districts), 457ha Marysville (comprising Alexandra and Marysville Forest Districts). “The Forest Commission Victoria proposes to conduct a program of aerial seeding during autumn 1982 using coated eucalypts seed to regenerate forests utilised in 1980-82. The seed coating technique involves the addition of the insecticide Chlordane to control the activities of seed harvesting insects. Seed harvesting insects (mostly ants) may remove large quantities of eucalpyt seed from the site prior to germination, thus seriously affecting the amont of regeneration achieved on an area.

1982 March: Cann River (Vic) – Chlordane Treated Eucalyptus Seed

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30 March 1982: Chlordane (an organochlorine) coated eucalyptus seed spread over 3000ha of native forest to regenerate forests by killing ants. Chlordane (2% Chlrodane 18g-36g per ha). 3396ha throughout the east of the state. 2253ha East Gippsland (comprising Cann River, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Omeo, Orbost and Corryong Forest Districts), 350ha North East Victoria (comprising Bright and Mansfield Forest Districts), 336ha Heyfield (comprising Heyfield, Maffra and Erica Forest Districts), 457ha Marysville (comprising Alexandra and Marysville Forest Districts). “The Forest Commission Victoria proposes to conduct a program of aerial seeding during autumn 1982 using coated eucalypts seed to regenerate forests utilised in 1980-82. The seed coating technique involves the addition of the insecticide Chlordane to control the activities of seed harvesting insects. Seed harvesting insects (mostly ants) may remove large quantities of eucalpyt seed from the site prior to germination, thus seriously affecting the amont of regeneration achieved on an area.

2017 October: Friends of the Earth releases Report into Pesticide Pollution of Victorian Drinking Water Supplies.

***PRESS RELEASE***

October 24 2017

Friends of the Earth Releases Report into Pesticide Pollution of  Victorian Drinking Water Supplies

Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth today published results of a statewide survey of pesticide pollution in the State’s drinking water supplies.

The results were sourced from Freedom of Information (FoI) Requests from all of the State’s drinking water authorities. The multiple FOI .requests covered the years 2007 through to 2016.

“This is the first time such a survey has apparently been conducted” said FoE spokesperson Anthony Amis.  “Improved monitoring by some water authorities since 2012, has allowed a more accurate understanding about what pesticides are being washed into water supplies.”

“Over 600 pesticide incidents were detected by Victorian water authorities throughout Victoria during the decade. The incident list would even be higher if all water authorities were more pro-active in coming to terms with these pollution events” .

The most frequent amount of detections (52) were detected in the Yarra River at the offtake to Sugarloaf Reservoir. “Many people presume that all of Melbourne’s drinking water comes from closed forested water catchments. This belief is not correct” Mr Amis said.

The highest level recorded was a detection of the banned insecticide Monocrotophos which was detected in Candowie Reservoir in 2011 at levels 20 times higher than the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.  “The source of this incident, possibly the most significant in a Victorian drinking water supply in 40 years was never investigated” said Mr Amis.

The small community of Girgarre recorded multiple detections for the herbicide 2,4-D for a period of three months in 2010. “FOE is unsure if residents were informed about the pollution .

The most commonly detected pesticides throughout Victoria were the herbicides 2,4-D, Atrazine, Triclopyr, MCPA and Simazine.  FoE is calling for the restriction of these herbicides in water supply catchments.

A total of 46 different pesticides were detected in drinking water supplies over the ten year period. “This is probably a fraction of what is actually out there, but no one is testing for everything that is used. Water authorities need to be informed by pesticide users about what is actually being sprayed in their water supply catchment. At the moment this is not the case”added Mr Amis.

Pesticides were also detected in tap water the greater Melbourne area for the first time. “This is of concern, as FoE is of the view that no pesticides should be detected in water supplies, let alone consumer taps, at any level” Mr Amis concluded.

A copy of the report can be found here: http://www.foe.org.au/vicwaterpesticide

2017 September: Pesticide Contaminates Drinking Water Dam near Ballina. Pesticide: Diazinon

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Pesticide contaminates drinking water dam near Ballina

THE NSW Environment Protection Authority is investigating an incident of potential spray drift near Emigrant Creek Dam north of Ballina.

EPA regional operations manager for the North Coast, Brett Nudd, said the EPA started an investigation after a complaint was made in August highlighting concerns with pesticide application during strong winds.

“The EPA is investigating potential spray drift that has impacted on Emigrant Creek Dam and surrounds as a result of a farmer using the pesticide diazinon,” Mr Nudd said.

“The EPA, and Rous County Council whom operate the Emigrant Creek Dam, have taken water samples from the dam which supplies drinking water to the Ballina and Lennox Head areas.

“While these samples have detected diazinon in the dam, the levels of pesticide detected are well below the Australian Drinking Water Guideline.”

Rous County Council General Manager Kyme Lavelle said the filtration system at the dam is designed to address any pesticide contamination.

“As an added precaution Rous has ceased supply of water from this source and is currently testing its treated water to confirm that the filtration is successfully removing any pesticides,” Mr Lavelle said.

Director North Coast Public Health Unit, Mr Paul Corben also reminded local residents of the importance of maintaining first flush systems on rainwater tanks.

“After prolonged dry periods various contaminants can accumulate on roofs and gutters and it is important that residents prevent the build-up of contaminants from entering their rainwater tank. This can be achieved by using first flush systems or disconnecting the tank inlet,” Mr Corben said.

The EPA is continuing to investigate the incident and reminds anyone using pesticides to read product labels carefully, monitor local weather conditions and communicate with neighbours ahead of time to avoid spray drift incidents.

Anyone with a concern, or knowledge of a spray drift incident or pesticide misuse in their local area, should contact the Environment Line on 131 555.

2017 July: Poisoned Birds Murrumbatemen (NSW). Pesticide: Omethoate

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Poisoned birds in Murrumbateman prompt investigation by NSW Environment Protection Authority

The deaths of about 30 birds in Murrumbateman has prompted the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to investigate the cause.

Nigel Sargent, EPA manager of regional operations, said results from initial tests show that the birds, primarily cockatoos and corellas, have consumed the insecticide omethoate.

“This is used on a variety of agricultural crops and fruit trees for insect pest management,” Mr Sargent said.

He said the results came from analysing a number of dead birds that were sent to Office of Environment and Heritage laboratories as part of the investigations.

Initial autopsies, which showed oat grain in the crops and signs of toxin.

The investigation came after residents initially reported and took a number of the dead birds to Murrumbateman Veterinary Clinic in early July.

Veterinarian Dr Iva Velevska said the clinic is continuing to work with the EPA in its investigation. Since mid July, Wildcare in Queanbeyan has been collecting the birds from the clinic for rehabilitation.

Maryanne Gates, bird coordinator at Wildcare, said she initially contacted the Yass Police Station.

“They advised me to follow it up with the EPA to investigate and confirm that poisoning was involved,” she said.

Ms Gates said the police did conduct extra patrol in Murrumbateman in mid July.

Since July 25, Wildcare has had 11 cockatoos, two corellas, one galah and one raven in its care.

“I had about 30 birds and I’d say there’s many that have died,” Ms Gates said.

“The ones that came in last weekend are now well enough to have been moved to an aviary to continue their recovery,” she said.

“We’re not convinced its stopped. There could be other bodies and people aren’t seeing them.”

At this stage, the EPA has not determined if the poisoning was deliberate. The misuse of pesticides is an offence in NSW and heavy penalties apply, including fines up to $120,000.

August 2017: Bird Deaths Linked to Common Insecticide that is Banned in Europe. Pesticide: Imidacloprid

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Bird deaths linked to common insecticide that is banned in Europe

August 9 2017

A commonly used chemical is being blamed for the deaths of native birds in Victoria.

Lab results obtained by the ABC confirm that the chemical, which is used as an insecticide, killed at least 12 birds near Horsham last month.

The same chemical has been banned in Europe because of concerns it is behind a dramatic decline in bee populations.

Cath De Vaus, from Natimuk a small town western Victoria’s cropping region, started making the grisly discoveries, finding dead birds around her house last month.

She said the deaths had not stopped and the numbers were adding up.

“It’s lovely watching them in the evenings and every morning when you see new dead ones it’s incredibly sad.”

Ms De Vaus, along with other residents, reported the deaths and Agriculture Victoria has been investigating.

Lab results obtained by the ABC confirm traces of imidacloprid, a chemical commonly used in insecticides.

Imidacloprid is used to kill insects and termites, and can often be found in flea control for pets.

Farmers also use it to treat barley and wheat seeds.

In a statement, Agriculture Victoria has acknowledged that while the initial lab results show traces of chemicals used in crop management, there was not clear evidence that this was the single cause of death of the birds.

Associate Professor Vincent Pettigrove, a chemicals expert from the University of Melbourne said imidacloprid affected the nervous system.

“It actually mimics nicotine and it’s really quite toxic to insects and it shouldn’t be toxic to mammals and birds, but in certain circumstances we’ve found many reports of bird deaths associated with the use of this insecticide,” he said.

“Some work in the European Union showed that a sparrow if it ate just one and half beet seeds would be enough to kill the bird.”

European ban in place

In 2013 the European Union put a ban on these kinds of insecticides because of concerns they were behind a dramatic decline in bee populations.

Associate Professor Pettigrove said research published this year backed up the EU’s concerns.

“There was a study in France where they looked at 103 wildlife mortality incidents and they found in 101 cases the birds had some concentrations of imidacloprid in them,” he said.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority were unable to comment on the situation as they had not been advised on the matter.

People urged to report incidents

Associate Professor Pettigrove said he thought it was time to be ”much more vigilant about recording these deaths and trying to understand what is the reason for it”.

“Once the APVMA get a good body of information they’ll have to consider reviewing how this chemical is used,” he said.

Associate Professor Pettigrove said the way to do that was for more people to report incidents to the authorities.

“That will help us develop a better strategy for trying to use this chemical in a more environmentally safe way.”

1998: Bendoc (Vic). Simazine in Soil

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In 1998 organic farmers near Bendoc in East Gippsland found traces of simazine on their property and linked it to plantations established to Harris-Daishowa. In the ruling of the case the magistrate found that the council failed; i) to undertake further sampling to determine the extent of the use of Simazine . . . and the long term impact of simazine on the proposed plantation site and organic farm, ii) to consider whether the prior use and proposed use of Simazine has and will continue to jeopardise the capacity of the organic farm to obtain organic certification from the Biodynamic Farming Association or the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia, iii) to consider whether the proposed use of Simazine and Roundup on the proposed plantation site is simply incompatible with the agricultural practices of the adjacent organic farm, iv) to adequately consider the potential consequences of the use of Simazine and Roundup at the proposed maximum application rates upon the organic farm and nearby watercourses; or v) to specify any requirements for monitoring the effects of the use of Simazine and Roundup and any other effects of the establishment of the timber plantation upon the organic farm and nearby watercourses.

‘Prior to this application, there had been no planning permit conditions relating to the use of herbicides for plantation development. In fact, no individual nor any authority has raised the issue of herbicide use in plantations with Council even though the use there of it clearly indicated in each proposal’.

2017 August: Five Sea Eagles Poisoned – Bairnsdale (Vic). Pesticide: DDE

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Five threatened white-bellied sea eagles die after being poisoned in eastern Victoria

ABC Gippsland 1/8/17

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-01/threatened-sea-eagles-die-from-poison-near-bairnsdale/8762742

A farmer in Bairnsdale could face charges over the fatal poisoning of five white-bellied sea eagles found dead near Bairnsdale last month.

The threatened birds were poisoned after eating corellas that had been illegally baited.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Program Manager, Craig Oldis says necropsy and toxicology tests on two of the sea eagles found traces of the chemical, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), traditionally used in the agricultural and livestock industry.“We believe the eagles have fed on the corella carcasses and succumbed to the poison also.”

DELWP has formally interviewed a Bairnsdale man after speaking with a number of people who live along the Mitchell River near Bairnsdale.

The white-bellied sea eagle is one of Australia’s largest and most spectacular raptors and is common to East Gippsland.

They measure about one metre long and have a similar wing span and flight pattern to the wedge-tailed eagle.

Using poison to destroy protected wildlife attracts fines of up to $15,600 and/or six months imprisonment.

“If a person is convicted in court they may well find themselves going to jail for such a callous and hideous act of cruelty,” Mr Oldis said.

2011 December: Candowie Reservoir (Vic) Phillip Island Water Supply. Pesticide: Monocrotophos

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6/12/11: The insecticide, Monocrotophos was detected at 20ug/L in Candowie Reservoir at inlet to Water Treatment Plant. In the 2004 Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, Monocrotophos had a guideline level of 1ug/L. It did not have a guideline level in the 2011 Guidelines.

The level detected therefore was 20 times higher than the level determined to be “safe” in 2004. Probably the most serious pesticide incident in a domestic water supply in Victoria since the 1970’s. How much was removed during the treatment process? Was the source determined?

“The herbicide/pesticide, monocrotophos exceeded the ADWG health-based
guideline value during the 2011/12 reporting period. Westernport Water were not advised of this exceedence by their consultant laboratory and were therefore unable to take any remedial actions in response to the detection. It is important to note that this result was obtained in the raw water, and the health-based guideline values apply in the treated water.”
http://www.westernportwater.com.au/wp-content/uploads/WebFiles/Services/Water%20quality/DHS%20Water%20quality%20report%202011-12.pdf

 

 

2017 July: Grape Grower Awarded $7million (Spray Drift Case). Pesticides: 2,4-D, Glyphosate, Metsulfuron Methyl

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High price for spraying: Grower awarded more than $7million

A NORTH west Victorian grape grower, whose 60-hectare property was permanently damaged by chemical overspray from a neighbouring property four years ago, has been awarded more than $7 million.

Riverman Orchards, which farms land at Piangil, claimed herbicide spray drift had adversely impacted on its 61.14-hectare vineyard.

The Supreme Court of Victoria was last week told block owner Tony Caccaviello, who had farmed in the Piangil area for his entire life, initially thought the vines had been affected by frost before tests confirmed the damage was the result of chemicals toxic to grapevines and which were not used within a vineyard.

The court heard vetch block owner Rodney James Hayden confirmed his property had been sprayed just days earlier with a mixture containing 2,4-D, glyphosate and metsulfuron-methyl and which included a wetting agent based on ammonium sulphate.

Riverman sought damages for the October, 2013, overspray event for nuisance and negligence.

It asserted that subjecting its vines to the overspray was an unreasonable and substantial interference with its use and enjoyment of the Mallee Block vineyard.

It also asserted the vetch spraying was negligently carried out, principally in the manner in which it was done in the prevailing weather conditions and in the mixture of chemicals chosen.

At the time of the overspray, local winemaker Andrew Peace Wines was purchasing all of the produce from 54.25 hectares of the Mallee Block at annual prices to be agreed each year before harvest.

Riverman claimed its vineyard did not yield the same quantity of fruit and the quality of the fruit produced was poor and that after three seasons it was clear that the vineyard would not recover.

The plaintiff claimed that 8000 vines needed to be removed and replanted to re-establish the vineyard to the standard that it was before October, 2013.

Hayden’s principal submission was that there was in fact no interference by him through spraying activities with the Riverman property, but if there was a spray drift event, the plaintiff’s damage was not caused by exposure to the herbicides used.

He claimed the damage to Mallee Block vines was caused by water stress arising from inadequate irrigation, excessive pruning and general inadequate management, including inappropriate fertilisation.

Hayden submitted that in any event the alleged interference was neither substantial nor unreasonable.

However, Judge John Dixon said he was satisfied that when the defendant sprayed the vetch, multiple spray drifts were created in sufficient concentrations to cause very serious damage to the vines.

Judge Dixon ordered Hayden to pay Riverman $6,543,626.10 in damages and a further $704,587.66 in interest.

2013 September: Wannamai to Geraldton Sick Trees (Western Australia). Pesticide: Metribuzin

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Railway bush reserves are highly important both as ecological corridors and as community assets. With the recent extensive tree decline noticed along the railway between Wannamal to Geraldton involving York Gums, Salmon Gums and Wandoo, investigations led by MCC have followed. Rachel Walmsley, MCC’s NRM Officer said “MCC has organised two stakeholder meetings in the past few months. The initial meeting with Brookfield Rail in January discussed the issue and the community’s concerns on why thousands of trees along the railway suddenly becoming sick in Spring 2013. Outcomes included leaf/soil sampling of affected areas and further investigation by Brookfield Rail.”
A follow up meeting was held in March in Moora between Brookfield Rail and even more concerned stakeholders than the first meeting. Rachel said “Leaf/soil samples results concluded that the residual herbicide chemical Metribuzin is to blame for the tree decline. This has been used by Brookfield Rail with Glyphosate to control weeds including resistant rye grass, and had been used for the previous two years prior to 2013 without ill effects. It is thought the rain events/wet spring may have unfortunately allowed the chemical to infiltrate the soil and reach the tree roots.
The long dry summer has also not helped with tree recovery. “Lengthy discussions were held on Brookfield Rail’s weed spraying protocol including chemicals used, technique and timing. Brookfield Rail said they are reviewing their procedures and that Metribuzin would not be used again on the line. Chemical selection is made in conjunction with the Australian Glyphosate
Sustainability Working Group to avoid weed species developing glyphosate resistance.
Rachel said “Actions to be taken by Brookfield Rail include using a proven nutrient injection technique to bring back a number of prominent sick trees including those through Moora and Coomberdale.” This happened in April with 180 trees being injected. Monitoring by Brookfield Rail will be long term to gauge success. Recovery of a large number of trees is expected
over the autumn/winter but this will be reviewed in the spring. Brookfield Rail will also commit to a wide scale planting program if necessary. This will be discussed at the next meeting in the spring.
http://www.moorecatchment.org.au/Newsletters/Issue%2032%20MCC%20newsletterspring_autumn%202014email.pdf

2017 June: Fish and Eel Kill. Ipswich Qld. Pesticide: Bifenthrin

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Mass pesticide dose killed fish, eels tests confirm

Queensland Times June 29 2017

https://www.qt.com.au/news/lab-tests-confirm-mass-pesticide-dose-killed-fish-/3194755/

FISH and eels found dead in an Ipswich waterway were killed by exposure to pesticides, lab tests have confirmed.

The discovery was made after residents sent samples of the dead animals found at Walloon near the Waterlea development to a government lab for testing.

Those tests showed high levels of the chemical Bifenthrin, commonly used in Queensland to treat timber for termites.

While the mystery of the animals’ cause of death last month has now been solved, the source of the chemical remains unknown.

Waterlea developer said its own investigation pointed to a “localised source”, meaning the chemical was likely dumped directly into the waterway, as opposed to run-off from the nearby development site.

Owen Wesner, who discovered the dead fish and eels, wants answers and assurances the surrounding ground and waterways are not contaminated. He also wants to know there will be no long-term environmental consequences.

“It’s an environmental disaster as far as I am concerned,” Mr Wesner said.

“If pesticides have been dumped there, then it’s an environmental issue that needs to be addressed.

“Who’s to say children don’t swim in that water hole? What if the cattle downstream drink the water? Are the local kangaroos drinking from the water hole? Has the local koala population been affected? People need to understand they can’t dump these chemicals down the drain, if that’s what has happened here. Chemicals like pesticides must be disposed of properly at a council facility.”

The State Government’s Biosecurity Department confirmed the chemical detected Bifenthrin, is an agricultural insecticide used for the control of borers and termites in timber, insect pests in agricultural crops and turf, as well as general pest control.

The State Environment Department was aware of the waterway contamination and said Ipswich City Council had investigated.

Ipswich City Council said its officers attended the area following the fish kill report from residents, but is still awaiting the results of a preliminary investigation.

A spokesperson for Waterlea at Walloon said it worked closely with authorities to determine the origin of the chemicals.

“By examining rain fall logs and other data we determined no water had left our site in the days leading up to the event,” the spokesperson said.

2016 April: Merryn Grove Wantirna. Pesticide: Dicamba

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Dicamba detected at 0.01ug/L Merryn Grove Wantirna April 2016. Source: South East Water FoI

“This is the second instance I’ve seen of a pesticide being detected through consumer taps in Melbourne’s drinking water network. This detection was 10000 times less that safe drinking water guideline. But it is evidence that the treatment process was compromised. Source for water for Wantirna is Silvan Dam, so most likely source of Dicamba could have been spray drift (open aquaducts) from Upper Yarra, O’Shannassy”

2003 February: Letter to Age Vietnam Vets drinking 2,4,5-T. Pesticides: 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T

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How safe are anthrax shots?

Can Defence Minister Hill please explain why those on board HMAS Kanimbla were required to sign a consent form if anthrax vaccinations were as safe as he claims? If years down the track those personnel over in the Gulf start to suffer previously unknown side effects, will that consent form indemnify the Government from any guilt? And will this consequently make those personnel ineligible for medical treatment?

During the Vietnam War, Agent Orange was sprayed to defoliate the jungle, and subsequently the ground troops suffered side effects that not only affected them and their children, but could also continue affecting them for generations to come. Those ground troops are 13 per cent more likely to contract cancer than the general population.

I was on HMAS Sydney during that war, and we apparently drank contaminated desalinated water drawn from the harbour at Vung Tau. The desalination method increased the toxicity of the contaminants to such an extent that I am 58 per cent more likely to contract cancer than the general population. These facts came to light late last year, more than 30 years after the war, and after a lot of sailors had contracted cancer and died mysteriously.

If Robert Hill is so sure the anthrax vaccine is safe, then I’m sure he won’t mind he and his family having the inoculation – and signing a consent form, of course.
J. King, Musgrave Hill, Qld

2012 Oct-Nov: Adjungbilly Creek (NSW). Pesticides: Atrazine, Hexazinone, Simazine

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Forestry NSW Samples from various locations near headwaters of Adjungbilly Creek

11/10/12 8*-Sample N12/027457

Atrazine 0.56µg/L, Hexazinone 0.45µg/L

11/10/12 9A*-Sample N12/027458

Atrazine 1.8µg/L, Hexazinone 0.94µg/L

11/10/12 A CGAGO1 N12/027453

Atrazine 78ug/L, Hexazinone 22µg/L, Simazine 0.26µg/L

11/10/12 C CGAGO N12/027455

Atrazine 0.4ug/L, Hexazinone 0.11µg/L

Office of Environment & Heritage Report 201200381

Wee Jasper State Forest Courajago 

201202974 2 Courajago 15/11/12 OMSSVQ1

Hexazinone 0.6µg/L

201202976 4 Courajago 15/11/12 OMSSVQ1

Atrazine 8.3µg/L Hexazinone 4.8µg/L

201202977 5 Courajago 19/11/12 OMSSVQ1

Atrazine 130µg/kg Hexazinone 43µg/kg

201202978 6 Courajago 15/11/12 OMSSVQ1

Hexazinone 1µg/L

201202980 8 Courajago 15/11/12 OMSSVQ1

Hexazinone 0.5201202978 6 Courajago 15/11/12 OMSSVQ1

Hexazinone 1µg/L

Australian Government NM1 samples 13/11/12

N12/030147: Atrazine 0.3µg/L, Hexazinone 0.16µg/L

N12/030148: Atrazine 0.28µg/L, Hexazinone 0.2µg/L

N12/030149: Atrazine 0.44µg/L, Hexazinone 0.21µg/L

Water C Gago D 

11/10/12 D-CGAG01-Sample N12/027456

Atrazine 31µg/L, Hexazinone 15µg/L, Simazine 0.11µg/L

Atrazine 78µg/L, Hexazinone 22µg/L, Simazine 0.26µg/L

Sample N12/030153 13/11/12: Atrazine 0.91µg/L, Hexazinone 0.85µg/L

Sample N12/031947 21/11/12 Atrazine 0.69µg/L, Hexazinone 0.68µg/L

Sample N12/032831 30/11/12: Hexazinone 0.54µg/L

Water C Gago B

N12/030951 13/11/12 Hexazinone 1.6µg/L

N12/030152 13/11/12 Atrazine 0.19 µg/L, Hexazinone 1.2µg/L

N12/031948 21/11/12 Atrazine 0.2µg/L, Hexazinone 0.49µg/L

N12/032832 30/11/12: Hexazinone 0.49µg/L

Water C Gago C 

N12/031949 13/11/12: Atrazine 0.44µg/L, Hexazinone 0.21µg/L

N12/031949 21/11/12: Atrazine 0.18µg/L, Hexazinone 0.99µg/L

N12/03285 30/11/12: Hexazinone 0.19µg/L

Water C Gago A 

N12/030150 13/11/12 Atrazine 0.12µg/L Hexazinone 0.16µg/L

N12/031950 21/11/2012 Hexazinone 1.1µg/L

N12/032828 30/11/12: Atrazine 0.15µg/L Hexazinone 0.12µg/L

Water G2 

N12/031951 21/11/12 Atrazine 0.12 µg/L, Hexazinone 0.22µg/L

Water C Gag C 

N12/031953: 21/11/2012 Atrazine 0.24 µg/L, Hexazinone 0.16µg/L

Water 20 

N12/030154: 13/11/2012 Atrazine 1.3µg/L, Hexazinone 0.33µg/L

2017 April: ‘Agent Orange’ chemicals at old Nufarm site in Fawkner spark fears over health risks. Pesticides: 2,4,5-T, 2,4-D

Agent Orange’ chemicals at old Nufarm site in Fawkner spark fears over health risks

THE Environment Protection Authority will be asked to inspect a former pesticide factory site in Fawkner that is contaminated with chemicals found in Agent Orange.

Land at 100 and 102 McBryde St was formerly owned by Nufarm Ltd, which produced dioxins and herbicides using chemicals that are the chief ingredients in the substance first used by US troops to defoliate the jungle during the Vietnam War.

The council has referred a planning application for two warehouses on the site to the EPA, which has until Thursday to comment.

Moreland Council has also called on the EPA to examine a clay cap, placed over the soil in the mid 1990s to entrap the contaminants, to determine its condition.

A council report revealed high traces of the carcinogenic chemicals were found at the site after the Nufarm factory closed in 1990.

The report also showed a cancer cluster is believed to have existed in the area of McBryde, Percy and Bruce streets during operation of the factory.

The Herald Sun reported in June 1990 that 20 cancer deaths were recorded at 18 nearby homes.

Brian Snowden, who lives near the property, said he hoped planning permits for construction at the site would be rejected due to health risks.

“What the residents are saying is ‘It’s not on’,” Mr Snowden said.

“Nobody knows the status of this property and nobody has done anything on it since it was capped and sold off.”

An earlier permit application to build warehouses on the lot was denied in 2015, while three similar permits lapsed.

An EPA audit conducted in 1995 led to restrictions for the site, including the clay cap being maintained and a requirement that any soil excavated from deeper than half a metre be tested and disposed of within the authority’s guidelines.

EPA metro manager Daniel Hunt said the authority was yet to receive a request to inspect the clay cap, but was in discussions with the council and a resident.

Anger from Fawkner locals over toxic site poised for redevelopment

 Sunday Age 15/10/17 
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/anger-from-fawkner-locals-over-exagent-orange-site-poised-for-redevelopment-20171013-gz0nv1.html

A plan to redevelop a former Fawkner manufacturing site where the component parts of Agent Orange were once made and stored is heading to the state planning tribunal, despite attempts by residents and a local council to stop it.

Proposed for the site are two warehouses on land once owned by agricultural chemical maker Nufarm.

Nufarm sold the property four decades ago, but from 1957 to 1971 manufactured a range of chemicals, including two components of the weapon Agent Orange.

A Nufarm spokeswoman said that the company had never manufactured Agent Orange. The company also made DDT and arsenic there.

The plant was not connected to the sewerage system until 1968.

For over a decade when there was spillage of the many deadly chemicals manufactured there, they were simply washed via a stormwater drain into the nearby Merri Creek, an environmental report done on the site for Nufarm in 1995 shows.

A residents’ group has been set up to fight the warehouse plan and, with between 50 and 100 members on board, has succeeded in convincing Moreland councillors to reject the plan – despite council officers having recommended it proceed.

The proposed warehouses are to be used for the storage of concrete equipment, trucks and tools, and the need to dig deep across all of the contaminated land may not be necessary.

But the proposal involves digging into a clay cap previously put over the entire site to protect people from chemicals that had leached into the soils. The planned warehouse’s drainage would see a new sewer dug that would need twin 25-metre-long, two-metre deep trenches dug.

The residents’ group, Toxic Free Fawkner, has voiced concerns that remnant chemicals may be disturbed and dispersed when construction is underway.

One resident, Brian Snowden, said the site was “a weeping sore” that had to be fixed rather than redeveloped. Mr Snowden’s mother, Elsie Snowden led the fight to close the factory – which locals said put a stench over the entire suburb when it was open.

The Environment Protection Authority in 1995 ordered Nufarm to test the site after a Greenpeace campaign focused attention on the seriousness of its contamination.

Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings told the Victorian parliament in June that a test done earlier this year by the EPA had found chemicals in the soil around the former factory had not leaked off the site or into the Merri Creek.

But residents were furious the tests were done only off the site – not on some of the contaminated areas that will be excavated if it is redeveloped.

“New and comprehensive testing is needed,” said Moreland councillor Sue Bolton, who has led the charge within Moreland Council to stop the plan.

A cluster of historical cancers in the area were reported in the area in the 1980s, and some residents believe it has never been fully explored properly.

Former nurse and local resident Roma Mawby, aged in her 80s, said many children in the area used to play in Merri Creek directly at the back of the Nufarm factory.

Among those to present to Moreland Council when it voted to oppose the proposal late last month was Roger Pell, principal of Fawkner Primary School. He said his school’s council believed residents in the area had been neglected for too long.

The school council had directed him to make the point to Moreland councillors that, if the development proceeds, “are children going to be safe when they go to school?” Mr Pell said.

“How do we explain to our school community if we have odours and smells coming across our school during the drilling and construction period. What do we say to [parents and children]: ‘Oh it’s safe, there’s nothing wrong with it’?”

A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing on whether the plan should proceed is scheduled for March next year.

A resident protest outside the proposed warehouse site recently.A resident protest outside the proposed warehouse site recently. Photo: Chris Hopkins

2006 April/May: Warmies Melbourne. Pesticides: p,p,DDE, p,p,DDD

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Technical Report
Yarra and Maribyrnong estuaries: Investigation of contaminants in fish
EPA Victoria 40 City Road, Southbank Victoria 3006 AUSTRALIA
Publication 1094 January 2007
ISBN 0 7306 7659 5 © EPA Victoria 2007
Warmies
p34 Bream (sample no.37):
p,p,DDE 0.019mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.024mg/kg
Bream (sample no.38):
p,p,DDE 0.001mg/kg, p,p.DDD 0.011mg/kg
Bream (sample no. 39):
p,p,DDD 0.011mg/kg
Mullet (sample no. 47):
p,p,DDE 0.016mg/kg

2006 April/May: South Wharf Dockland. Pesticides p,p,DDE, p,p,DDD, Dieldrin

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Technical Report
Yarra and Maribyrnong estuaries: Investigation of contaminants in fish
EPA Victoria 40 City Road, Southbank Victoria 3006 AUSTRALIA
Publication 1094 January 2007
ISBN 0 7306 7659 5 © EPA Victoria 2007
South Wharf Dockland
p34 Bream (sample no.28):
p,p,DDE 0.013mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.017mg/kg
Bream (sample no.29):
p,p,DDE 0.016mg/kg, p,p.DDD 0.014mg/kg
Mulloway (sample no. 31):
p,p,DDE 0.016mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.016mg/kg
Mullet (sample no. 36):
Dieldrin 0.021mg/kg, p,p,DDE 0.019mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.022mg/kg

2006 April/May: Maribyrnong River Whitehall Impacts of Fauna. Pesticides:

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Technical Report
Yarra and Maribyrnong estuaries: Investigation of contaminants in fish
EPA Victoria 40 City Road, Southbank Victoria 3006 AUSTRALIA
Publication 1094 January 2007
ISBN 0 7306 7659 5 © EPA Victoria 2007
Maribyrnong River Whitehall
p34 Bream (sample no.19):
p,p,DDE 0.018mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.025mg/kg
Bream (sample no.20):
p,p,DDE 0.014mg/kg
Bream (sample no. 21):
p,p,DDE 0.011mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.017mg/kg

 

2006 April/May: Pesticides in Fish etc Yarra River Herring Island. Pesticides: Multiple

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Technical Report
Yarra and Maribyrnong estuaries: Investigation of contaminants in fish
EPA Victoria 40 City Road, Southbank Victoria 3006 AUSTRALIA
Publication 1094 January 2007
ISBN 0 7306 7659 5 © EPA Victoria 2007
Herring Island Yarra River
p34 Bream (sample no.11):
p,p,DDD 0.011mg/kg
Mulloway (sample no.13):
p,p,DDE 0.023mg/kg
Mulloway (sample no. 14):
p,p,DDE 0.016mg/kg
Eel (sample no. 16):
Dieldrin 0.036mg/kg, p,p,DDE 0.035mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.013mg/kg, p,p,DDT 0.012mg/kg
Eel (sample no. 17)
Dieldrin 0.071mg/kg, p,p,DDE 0.056mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.013mg/kg
Eel (sample no. 18)
Heptachlor Epoxide 0.022mg/kg, Dieldrin 0.075mg/kg, p,p,DDE 0.08mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.031mg/kg, Endrin 0.012mg/kg

2006 April/May: Pesticides in Fish etc Maribyrnong River (Armourments). Pesticides: Dieldrin, p,p,DDD, p,p,DDE, p,p,DDT, Endrin

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Technical Report
Yarra and Maribyrnong estuaries: Investigation of contaminants in fish
EPA Victoria 40 City Road, Southbank Victoria 3006 AUSTRALIA
Publication 1094 January 2007
ISBN 0 7306 7659 5 © EPA Victoria 2007
p34 Eel (sample no.7):
Dieldrin 0.059mg/kg, p,p,DDD 0.05mg/kg, p,p,DDE 0.011mg/kg, p,p,DDT 0.01mg/kg, Endrin 0.01mg/kg

2015/16: Upper Nepean System (Site HNED+Site HMAC1 80-125). Pesticide: 2,4-D, Atrazine

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Upper Nepean System Site: HNED

2015/16: 2,4-D: 0.01ug/L

Source: http://www.waternsw.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/123949/Annual-Water-Quality-Monitoring-Report-Appendices.pdf

Upper Nepean System Site: HMAC1 80-125

2014/15: Atrazine: 0.007ug/L

http://www.waternsw.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/70829/WaterNSW-Annual-Water-Quality-Monitoring-Report-2014-15-Appendices.pdf

 

2016 November: Barnaby Joyce says new ANZECC Guidelines will be published in 2017

2 9 NOV 2016 (Letter forwarded from Friends of the Earth)

Dear ***
Thank you for your email of 24 October 2016 to the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for
the Environment and Energy, about the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and
Marine Water Quality (the Guidelines) and their review. Your email was forwarded to me as I
am the minister responsible for the matters you raised.
I am advised the Guidelines are being reviewed by the Australian, New Zealand and
Australian State and Territory governments. A revised version is expected to be released in
2017. A major component of the review is the development of new default guideline values
which determine the conservative levels at which chemicals can be used safely to maintain the
ecological health of various aquatic environments. Default guideline values are included for
simazine and glyphosate in both fresh and marine waters, and for atrazine in fresh water.
Pesticides such as diuron and imidacloprid have also been assigned default guideline values.

It is important to note that the Guidelines are not mandatory and while most states and
territories use them to inform their policies on chemical product regulation, they are not
required to do so. Each state and territory is responsible for communicating how they will
apply the revised Guidelines prior to release. I encourage you to contact your relevant state
authority regarding this information.
Responsibility for the regulation of agricultural chemical products is shared between the
Australian and state and territory governments. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary
Medicines Authority (APVMA) is the independent national regulator for all agricultural
chemical products up to and including the point of sale. It conducts thorough scientific
assessments and chemical reviews, of the potential risks chemical products pose to human
health, the environment and trade.
APVMA’s processes also allow it to respond to new research findings and challenges. For
example, following a review of diuron approvals in 2012, the APVMA cancelled the
registration of some products and amended permitted use patterns for others to reduce risks
related to runoff. I refer you to the APVMA website if you would like to access further
information on its chemical reviews (apvma.gov.au/node/10916).

State and territory governments are responsible for the control of use of agricultural chemical
products. It is their responsibility to ensure that users comply with the APVMA-approved
product instructions, and to take action against breaches of agvet chemical regulations. If you
are aware of agvet chemicals being misused, I encourage you to contact the relevant state
authority.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to the government’s attention. I trust this information is
of assistance.

Yours sincerely
Barnaby Joyce MP

2017 March: Chemical Crop Contamination – Peak Body Ausveg Silent: Propachlor, Prometryn, Metolachlor, Atrazine

Chemical crop contamination: Peak body AusVeg silent

VEGETABLE growers who have lost millions of dollars after using contaminated herbicides have been left without a voice, with the peak industry body, AusVeg, not prepared to comment on the recalls.

A combined 200,000 litres of Ramrod Flowable, Gesagard and Primextra Gold were recalled by agrochemical companies Nufarm, Crop Care and Syngenta on December 8, 2016 and January 20, 2017.

Ramrod Flowable is used on onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, beetroot and grain crops maize, sorghum and sweet corn.

Gesagard is used on carrots, celery, leeks, potatoes, chickpeas, peas, cotton and perennial grass and ryegrass seed crops while Primextra Gold is used on maize, sorghum and sweet corn.

The Weekly Times questioned AusVeg about the recalled herbicides and asked if Nufarm, Crop Care and Syngenta had done enough to inform farmers about the contamination, given the herbicides had caused severe crop losses and soil contamination.

But AusVeg would not comment.

EDITORIAL: COVER-UP DAMAGES OUR IMAGE

AusVeg, which receives levies from Australian vegetable growers to advocate on their behalf, is in a “strategic partnership” with Nufarm and Syngenta.

The AusVeg website says AusVeg is “proud” to partner with Nufarm to “help Australian farmers grow a better tomorrow” and AusVeg’s partnership with Syngenta will have “many positive benefits for growers”.

A Nufarm and Crop Care spokesman said AusVeg and Horticulture Innovation Australia had been informed about the recalled Ramrod, and an AusVeg spokesman confirmed the peak body was aware of the recall and sent two emails to growers informing them about the contamination.

READ MORE: CHEMICALS MAY POSE SERIOUS RISK TO PLANTS

The Weekly Times was unable to find any vegetable growers who had received these emails from AusVeg.

Despite knowing about the recall, AusVeg has not published any information about it on its website nor any media releases with the details.

Horticulture Innovation Australia published a short not­ice about the recall on its website, but did not publish any media releases about the recall.

Horticulture Innovation Australia’s annual national conference, which is run in conjunction with AusVeg, has featured Syngenta as its leading sponsor for the past eight years.

2017 March + 2017 May: Chemical Contamination: Tainted Herbicide Shock. Pesticides: Propachlor, Prometryn, Metolachlor, Atrazine

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Chemical crop contamination: Tainted herbicide shock

EXCLUSIVE: HUNDREDS of farmers across Australia have unwittingly contaminated their crops with tainted herbicides.

The Weekly Times can reveal 200,000 litres of contaminated herbicides had been in supply stores for up to two years, with little effort made by agrochemical companies to inform farmers about the tainted products.

The Weekly Times understands the herbicides were contaminated at manufacturer Accensi’s Brisbane plant, when equipment was allegedly not properly cleaned and a cocktail of chemicals contaminated the product.

Investigations reveal major agrochemical companies Nufarm, Crop Care — which is owned by Nufarm — and Syngenta recalled the contaminated herbicides on December 8, 2016 and January 20 this year, but chose not to publicise the recalls.

The three companies did not advertise the recalls in media outlets or publish media releases about the recalls, which are all recommendations in recall guidelines of the Federal Government’s chemical watchdog, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

The Weekly Times can reveal the APVMA also made little or no effort to inform farmers about the recall.

The AVPMA chose not to publish the recalls on its website and did not make contact with farmers, despite knowing the companies had recalled the tainted herbicide. Instead, suppliers and distributors were left with the responsibility of informing growers.

READ MORE: VEGETATIVE STATE ON RECALL

Farmers who bought the herbicides told The Weekly Times they had not been contacted and had been using them months after recalls were made.

There are fears farmers are still spraying the contaminated herbicides — Ramrod Flowable (Propachlor), Gesagard (Prometryn) and Primextra Gold (Metolachlor/Atrazine) — which are used to control weeds on vegetable and grain crops, pasture and perennial grasses.

With many farmers unaware of the problem, residual testing cannot take place, meaning the contamination’s impact on produce and consumers is unknown.

But The Weekly Times can reveal the contaminated herbicides have costs farmers millions of dollars in crop losses and soil damage and at least five farmers are taking legal action against the chemical companies.

Farmers who have been using the contaminated herbicides but did not want to be named, said it was the worst thing to happen to their businesses. They said they had spent months, and in some cases years, trying to figure out why their crops were dying or not performing.

“A contaminated herbicide is the very last thing I would think of,” one farmer said.

“Every crop we had applied it on, crop after crop, has been affected and in many cases we lost 100 per cent of crops.

“It has caused us so much pain and stress … we are farmers, you know, and don’t deserve this.”

Shepparton agricultural consultant David Bell has been working with some growers to assess the herbicide contamination’s damage to crops and the residual effect on future crops, and to calculate financial losses.

EDITORIAL: COVER-UP DAMAGES OUR IMAGE

Documents seen by The Weekly Times show Nufarm and Crop Care recalled 120,000 litres of Ramrod Flowable herbicide on December 8, 2016, while Syngenta recalled 40,000 litres of Gesagard herbicide and 40,000 litres of Primextra Gold herbicide on January 20, 2017.

Twelve batches of Ramrod Flowable were contaminated, with the first contaminated batch manufactured in February 2015, while four batches of Gesagard were contaminated, with the first contaminated batch manufactured in March 2016.

Primextra Gold was contaminated in four batches, with the first contaminated batch manufactured in August 2015.

The three contaminated herbicides were in supply stores for three to 24 months.

An agronomist who has seen the damage caused by the contaminated herbicides, but did not want to be named, said he couldn’t understand why Nufarm, Crop Care and Syngenta hadn’t done more to contact farmers about the recalls.

“It seems like they’ve tried to cover it up in a bid to avoid compensation … it’s just not right,” he said.

“Farmers don’t have time to be checking the internet for this kind of information, it needs to be communicated in public formats, and phone calls from the companies should be made.”

A Syngenta spokeswoman said contaminated batches of Gesagard and Primextra Gold were voluntarily withdrawn and therefore did not require media advertising. “Given the extremely low levels of contaminants, in consultation with the APVMA, it was decided the most appropriate course of action was to voluntarily withdraw identified batches through distributors,” the spokeswoman said.

“Syngenta has worked closely with the APVMA, distributors, growers and other parties to promptly work towards finding a solution to any issue that has arisen.”

A Nufarm and Crop Care spokesman said the companies became aware of low-level contamination in its Ramrod herbicide in November 2016 after conducting testing.

He said the companies worked with rural merchandise stores to remove affected product and identify farmers that had used the product.

“Crop Care worked with AUSVEG and Horticulture Innovation Australia to directly inform growers of the issue,” the spokesman said.

“A web page was created on the Crop Care website.”

READ MORE: CHEMICALS MAY POSE SERIOUS RISK TO PLANTS

The spokesman was confident all farmers were aware of the recall and said the company had not received any new reports of crop damage since January but confirmed an independent loss adjuster had been appointed to manage compensation cases.

The agrochemical companies would not answer questions about the manufacturer, Accensi, and would not say if they continue to have herbicides manufactured at the Brisbane plant. Accensi did not return calls for comment.

The APVMA, despite being the regulatory body, handballed most questions about the recalls to the agrochemical companies. A spokeswoman said the APVMA does not publish details of voluntary recalls on its website and had not made contact with farmers about the recalls, because it was not its role.

Charles Hart of Shepparton lawyers Dawes and Vary Riordan said if a farmer suffered a loss as a result of crop damage caused by contaminated herbicide then, generally speaking, the farmer will be entitled to recover any financial damages.

“Determining the quantum of any damage can be complex and farmers should seek advice,” a firm spokesman said.

A MAJOR herbicide recall is under way, sparking concerns Australia’s clean and green vegetable industry could be in jeopardy.

The Weekly Times can reveal agrochemical giant Syngenta is recalling 60,000 litres of Gesagard, one of the most common herbicides sprayed on Australian vegetables — including carrots, celery, leaks and peas — to control weeds.

This comes just months after Syngenta recalled 80,000 litres of contaminated herbicides and assured farmers the contamination was an “isolated incident”, and that further herbicides, including Gesagard, had been “rigorously” tested and met “stringent quality standards”.

Documents seen by The Weekly Times show the 60,000 litres of Gesagard were allegedly contaminated during the manufacturing process at Accensi in Brisbane and contained chemicals such as atrazine.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website says atrazine is “toxic to many vegetables”.

The tainted Gesagard has been on retail shelves and unwittingly sprayed by Australian farmers for up to 3½ years.

The Weekly Times can also reveal Syngenta continued to sell batches of Gesagard despite knowing they were contaminated.

RELATED COVERAGE: WRONGED GROWERS HIT HARD

Documents seen by The Weekly Times show that on April 24 Syngenta received test results from Agrisolutions, an independent chemical testing company, that found at least 10,000 litres of Gesagard were contaminated.

But on May 8, Syngenta told The Weekly Times Gesagard batches that had been tested were not contaminated.

On the same day The Weekly Times questioned the APVMA about the Gesagard contamination, but the government chemical regulator would not comment.

The Weekly Times informed Syngenta last Friday it intended to publish a story about the contamination. Only then did Syngenta confirm 60,000 litres of Gesagard was contaminated. A Syngenta spokeswoman said the Gesagard had been “recently” recalled, but would not provide the exact date.

The spokeswoman said the recall had been communicated to Syngenta’s customers but a major outlet said it was not aware of the recall.

One retailer, who did not want to be named, said Syngenta told him a month ago Gesagard was not contaminated.

Neither APVMA nor Syngenta’s websites contain any information about the Gesagard recall. Gesagard is sold in 20-litre drums and was still for sale in a retail store in Victoria on Saturday.

This is the second major herbicide contamination recall in Australia this year.

2016 December: Spray Drift causes Widespread Damage to CSIRO cotton plots. Pesticide: Glyphosate

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Severe spray drift damage serves as a warning to prevent off-target spray drift

Media release: 23 December 2016

Local farmers have been warned to be vigilant of off-target spray drift, following widespread damage to CSIRO experimental cotton plots at the Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) near Narrabri.

CSIRO Lead Cotton Breeder Dr Warwick Stiller, who leads the breeding program, reported severe damage to all of CSIRO’s experimental conventional cotton plots in November after a Group M herbicide drifted from its intended target.

The damage to the crop is so severe, it will impact the industry’s cotton breeding program.

“These plots underpin the Australian cotton industry’s entire breeding program and pipeline for the release of future varieties. The impact on these plants is so severe that I am not confident we will see these experiments through to the end of the season,” Dr Stiller says.

“I have been part of the CSIRO cotton breeding team for more than 20 years, and this is the worst spray drift damage I have witnessed on site. CSIRO’s conventional cotton breeding lines do not contain resistance genes for glyphosate, which makes our plots susceptible to damage.”

The NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) Adam Gilligan, Regional Director North, says spray drift often travels a considerable distance because of changes in wind strength or direction.

“Our message to all users is a simple one – read product labels carefully, monitor local weather conditions and tell your neighbours ahead of time if you are spraying,” Mr Gilligan says.

“If you are impacted, report it to the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.”

“Herbicides and pesticides are important in agricultural operations, but it is vital these products are handled and used with care.”

Cotton Australia Regional Manager Paul Sloman says all farmers, regardless of what chemical is applied, are encouraged to use best practice guides and tools to prevent damage to nearby farms.

“Unfortunately, this event serves as a timely reminder about the potential dangers of spraying,” Mr Sloman says.

1960’s: Warriewood Valley (NSW). Death Valley/Poisoned Paddocks. Pesticides: DDT, Dieldrin

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By the 1960s, however, the glasshouses began to disappear because of the loss of traditional markets and competition from growers in Queensland, along with increasing residential development.

At the same time, the “glass city” and “crystal valley” monikers came to be replaced by more unpleasant ones, including “death valley” and “poisoned paddocks” as growers became aware of the deadly effects of the chemicals including DDT and dieldrin that had been used in the valley for years.

There were claims that between 10 and 20 growers had died as the result of chemical poisoning, although the Health Department denied there had been any increase in deaths related to the use of chemicals in the valley.

The valley was also known for its numerous stables and a riding school called Boots and Saddles but today there are thought to be no more than 15 horses left in the area.

Today the rural atmosphere of Warriewood and some of the most fertile soil on the peninsula has largely disappeared under the concrete and bitumen of suburban development.

Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/manly-daily/valleys-rich-soil-once-made-it-the-beaches-market-garden-mecca/news-story/6447560c11efa5c69060bcd608325378

2012-2016: Wodonga Creek. Pesticides: 2,4-D, Atrazine, Diazinon, Hexazinone, Malathion, MCPA, Simazine, Triclopyr

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Date Location Pesticide Value µg/L
5/06/2013 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap 2,4-D 0.03
26/10/2016 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap 2,4-D 0.01
8/11/2012 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap Atrazine 0.02
8/11/2012 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap Diazinon 0.01
8/11/2012 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap Hexazinone 0.02
8/11/2012 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap Malathion 0.02
8/11/2012 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap MCPA 0.01
26/10/2016 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap MCPA 0.01
23/10/2013 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap Simazine 0.04
26/10/2016 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap Simazine 0.04
5/06/2013 Wodonga Creek P.S. at tap Triclopyr 0.02

2012-2016: Walkers Saddle Yackandandah. Pesticides: Hexazinone, Triclopyr

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Date Location Pesticide Value µg/L
7/11/2012 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.02
4/06/2013 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.03
30/07/2013 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.02
21/01/2014 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.04
29/07/2014 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.02
28/01/2015 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.04
29/07/2015 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.03
26/01/2016 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.04
29/07/2014 Walker’s Saddle Basin at outlet – Yackandandah Triclopyr 0.02

2012-2016: Nine Mile Creek Yackandandah. Pesticides: Hexazinone, Triclopyr

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Date Location Pesticide Value µg/L
7/11/2012 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.03
4/06/2013 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.03
30/07/2013 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.02
21/01/2014 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.04
29/07/2014 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.02
28/01/2015 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.04
29/07/2015 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.02
26/01/2016 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Hexazinone 0.03
29/07/2014 Nine Mile Creek, Yackandandah Triclopyr 0.02

2012-2016: Murray River at Tap at Inlet to Treatment Plant, Wahgunyah. Pesticides: Atrazine, MCPA, Simazine, Terbutryn

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Date Location Pesticide Value µg/L
8/11/2012 Murray River at tap at inlet to treatment plant Wahgunyah Atrazine 0.01
25/07/2013 Murray River at tap at inlet to treatment plant Wahgunyah Atrazine 0.03
30/10/2014 Murray River at tap at inlet to treatment plant Wahgunyah Atrazine 0.01
24/10/2013 Murray River at tap at inlet to treatment plant Wahgunyah MCPA 0.01
27/10/2016 Murray River at tap at inlet to treatment plant Wahgunyah MCPA 0.01
27/10/2016 Murray River at tap at inlet to treatment plant Wahgunyah Simazine 0.04
25/07/2013 Murray River at tap at inlet to treatment plant Wahgunyah Terbutryn 0.01

2012-2016: Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP. Pesticides: Atrazine, MCPA, Simazine

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Date Location Pesticide Value µg/L
15/11/2012 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP Atrazine 0.01
13/06/2013 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP Atrazine 0.03
25/07/2013 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP Atrazine 0.01
30/07/2015 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP Atrazine 0.04
28/07/2016 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP Atrazine 0.05
13/06/2013 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP MCPA 0.04
13/06/2013 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP Simazine 0.04
30/07/2015 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP Simazine 0.03
28/07/2016 Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga WTP Simazine 0.04

2012-2016: Lake Hume at Bethanga Bridge, Bellbridge

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Date Location Pesticide Value µg/L
12/10/2016 Lake Hume at Bethanga Bridge, Bellbridge Atrazine 0.01
8/11/2012 Lake Hume at Bethanga Bridge, Bellbridge MCPA 0.01
14/10/2015 Lake Hume at Bethanga Bridge, Bellbridge MCPA 0.01
12/10/2016 Lake Hume at Bethanga Bridge, Bellbridge Simazine 0.05
12/10/2016 Lake Hume at Bethanga Bridge, Bellbridge Terbufos 0.01

2010-2016: Thorpdale (Vic). Pesticides: Triclopyr

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Date Location Pesticide Value µg/L
12/05/2010 Thorpdale Triclopyr 0.01
15/03/2011 Thorpdale Triclopyr 0.01
8/11/2011 Thorpdale 2,4-D 0.05
8/11/2011 Thorpdale 4CPA 0.03
8/11/2011 Thorpdale Dicamba 0.11
8/11/2011 Thorpdale MCPA 0.42
8/11/2011 Thorpdale Mecoprop 0.04
8/11/2011 Thorpdale Triclopyr 0.04
21/02/2012 Thorpdale Picloram 0.14
21/02/2012 Thorpdale Triclopyr 0.25
8/05/2012 Thorpdale Triclopyr 0.01
15/11/2012 Thorpdale Triclopyr 0.02
11/02/2016 Thorpdale Triclopyr 0.02

2009-2016: Moe. Pesticides: Dinoseb, Triclopyr, MCPA, 2,4-D, Mecoprop

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Date Location Pesticide Value µg/L
11/11/2009 Moe Dinoseb 1
12/05/2010 Moe Triclopyr 0.01
11/11/2010 Moe Dinoseb 1
10/02/2011 Moe MCPA 0.11
10/02/2011 Moe Triclopyr 0.03
10/02/2011 Moe 2,4-D 0.01
10/02/2011 Moe Triclopyr 0.02
15/02/2012 Moe Triclopyr 0.05
12/11/2012 Moe 2,4-D 0.06
10/02/2016 Moe Triclopyr 0.22
10/02/2016 Moe MCPA 0.39
10/02/2016 Moe Mecoprop 0.02
10/02/2016 Moe Triclopyr 0.01
12/05/2016 Moe Triclopyr 0.12

2015: Roper River (NT) Mt McMinn Station. Pesticides: Diuron, Tebuthiuron

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Schult, J. 2016. Pesticide and nutrient monitoring in the Roper River region during the 2015 dry season. Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Report No. 20/2016D. Palmerston. (passive samplers)

Site 6 Roper River Mt McMinn Station

TDCPP Isomers: 0.71ng/L (flame retardant used in plastic foams)

Diuron: 0.07ng/L

Tebuthiuron 0.12ng/L

2015: Roper River (NT). Pesticides: DEET, Tebuthiuron

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Schult, J. 2016. Pesticide and nutrient monitoring in the Roper River region during the 2015 dry season. Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Report No. 20/2016D. Palmerston. (passive samplers)

Site 5 Roper River

DEET: 20ng/L

Tonalid: 0.02ng/L (musk fragrance)

TDCPP Isomers: 3ng/L (flame retardant used in plastic foams)

Tebuthiuron 0.12ng/L

 

2015: Rainbow Springs (NT). Pesticides: DEET, Diuron, Tebuthiuron.

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Schult, J. 2016. Pesticide and nutrient monitoring in the Roper River region during the 2015 dry season. Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Report No. 20/2016D. Palmerston. (passive samplers)

Site 2 Rainbow Springs

DEET: 8.7ng/L

Tonalid: 0.02ng/L (musk fragrance)

Diuron: 0.06ng/L

Tebuthiuron 0.02ng/L

Carbamazepine: 0.01ng/L (anti-convulsant drug)

2015 Bitter Springs (NT). Pesticides: DEET, Piperonyl Butoxide, Imidacloprid, Tebuthiuron

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Schult, J. 2016. Pesticide and nutrient monitoring in the Roper River region during the 2015 dry season. Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Report No. 20/2016D. Palmerston. (passive samplers)

Site 1 Bitter Springs

DEET: 110ng/L

Galoxolide: 0.39ng/L (musk fragrance)

Tonalid: 0.07ng/L (musk fragrance)

Piperonyl Butoxide: 2.4ng/L

Imidacloprid: 0.04ng/L

Tebuthiuron 0.22ng/L

Carbamazepine: 0.02ng/L (anti-convulsant drug)

2016 October: Motor Neurone Disease: Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (NSW)

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Motor Neurone Disease is killing too many people in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. SBS travelled to Australia’s fruit bowl with a leading neurologist who is attempting to solve a tragic medical mystery. The answer, or part of it, lies in what humans are doing to the environment.
By

Rick Feneley, Will Reid

Source: The Feed

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/health/thefeed/article/2016/10/03/bastard-disease-mia-0
5 Oct 2016   UPDATED 7 Oct 2016

The oranges in Joe Pasin’s orchard are glowing orbs on their branches, radiant against the heavy grey sky as we roll down his long driveway.

“Joe grew the most magnificent oranges that you’ve ever tasted,” says the man behind the wheel, Dominic Rowe, a neurology professor from Sydney’s Macquarie University.

We pull up at the farm house Joe built with his own hands, a monument to a post-war immigration success story, an Italian family’s labour of love lasting 66 years.

Rowe climbs out of the driver’s seat. He’s immediately greeted by the wide-open arms of Joe’s wife, Mim. He’s become accustomed to visiting this Riverina town of Griffith to investigate a cruel and fatal disease, and to these prolonged hugs with Mim Pasin.

“You’ve lost weight,” he chides her gently. “You need to eat.”

Only a week before this meeting, Mim and her three adult children held a memorial mass to commemorate the first anniversary of Joe’s death. He died of motor neurone disease in September last year, less than 10 months after he was diagnosed.

Mim recalls that day in Sydney: “He just listened and he said, ‘Well, Doctor, I’ve got my death sentence.’”

MND, a disease of the central nervous system, is indeed a death sentence. It will kill as many as 800 Australians this year. Another 800 will be diagnosed, from which point they will have on average – with the best of care – a few years to live.

In those long months, the disease will attack the nerve cells controlling the muscles that allow people to move, speak, swallow, breathe and, ultimately, stay alive.

“His speech began to slur and he started having cramps on his hands,” says Mim. “And then, gradually, food [became difficult]. Breathing wasn’t as quick [to go].”

At 70, Joe wasn’t one for quitting. Even now his work boots remain on the shoe rack by the back door, where he left them when he came inside from his beloved tractor for the last time. And his equally beloved blanket is still on the couch where, that night, his breathing began to fail and he finally relented, agreeing it was time for hospital. He died a week later.

“Just a few months before our 50th wedding anniversary,” Mim says. “So we didn’t make it.”

Inheriting a faulty gene is the cause of MND in 10 per cent of the affected population.

“But the 900-pound gorilla,” says Dom Rowe, “is the 90 per cent of patients who have sporadic motor neurone disease. Why do people develop this disease out of the blue?”

People like Joe Pasin. His MND was sporadic, not inherited.

And why have so many more of them been developing sporadic MND over the past 30 years?

In Australia, Rowe says: “It’s gone, as a cause of death, from one in 500 in 1985 to about one in 200 in 2013. This is not a statistical aberration. This is a fact. Motor neurone disease kills 250 per cent more Australians than it did in 1986. This cannot be genetic. It has to be environmental.”

A disproportionate number of them are dying here in the MIA, the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

Mim Pasin has heard some of the scientific conjecture about the possible triggers for the disease. Might it be linked to toxic blue-green algae, a regular blight on the waterways in these parts? Might it be herbicides or pesticides? Joe was exposed to them all.

“They were mixing chemicals with no mask,” Mim says, “and they would be spraying … you get drenched sometimes. And I did it too.

“Now,” she wonders, “has that got anything to do with it?”

That’s why Dom Rowe is here and why he keeps coming back: to look for the answers. At his clinic at Macquarie University, he cares for more than 200 MND sufferers, about 10 per cent of all Australians currently living – and dying – with the disease.

But he also collaborates with scientists at Macquarie’s Motor Neurone Disease Research Centre, the largest facility of its kind in Australia and among the biggest in the world. The science, at last, appears to be zeroing in on one of the great mysteries of modern medicine. And the people of the Riverina are pitching in to help.

MND in the MIA

“This is a bastard of a disease. It attacks you mercilessly. It’s relentless.”

Five minutes down the road from the Pasin farm, on the shores of Lake Wayangan, Professor Rowe gives us a crash course in the theories. But sometimes it is hard to separate the science from the emotion.

“This is personal,” he agrees. “You know, yesterday one of my patients died – a 26-year-old mother. This is awful … I hate this disease with a passion … I would give my eye teeth to make this disease go away.”

Rowe realised that too many of his patients were harking from the Riverina – from towns such as Leeton, Narrandera, Hay, Lake Cargelligo, Barellan and Wagga Wagga as well as Griffith.

MND has a prevalence of one in 14,000 in Australia. The “incidence” of the disease – that is, new cases each year – is one in 42,000.

Griffith has a population of just 25,000 and yet 12 of its residents have MND. That doesn’t account for the cases in surrounding towns.

Does this amount to a cluster? The observations require epidemiological investigation and proof, Rowe cautions, but his team has no doubt the region is a hot spot, experiencing at least a two to threefold higher incidence of the disease.

But why?

Rowe gestures to the lake behind him. “This here represents perhaps several of the factors that may be involved in the increased incidence of motor neurone disease. We have agriculture, with fertilization and nutrients into the water table. We have a lake that didn’t exist before it was dammed. We have water that has introduced species such as European carp and increased turbidity in the water. All of these factors lead to cyanobacterial blooms. In fact, last summer this lake was closed because of blue-green algal blooms.”

In that mouthful, Rowe has summarized a slab of his team’s investigations.

So-called “blue-green algae” is not algae at all. It is a bacteria. Specifically, it is cyanobacteria, and this produces one of the main suspected culprits behind MND, a false amino acid called BMAA – or beta-methylamino-alanine. It is a neurotoxin that can cause cellular dysfunction and death.

After World War II, an alarming rate of the disease was observed in the Chamorro people in the US protectorate of Guam. Their diet included flour from nuts taken from cycad plants, which contained BMAA. They also consumed fruit bats that fed on these cycads.

“This has been observed in many places around the world, including southern Florida, in the lakes of north-eastern America and some in France,” Rowe says. “In southern France, around the Thau Lagoon, if you live downwind of the lagoon, within a five-kilometre distance of the edge of the lagoon, your risk of motor neurone disease goes up fivefold.

“If it’s unfit for recreation, is it fit for irrigation?”

“This is not just a theory. There is a lot of science in how BMAA is a dangerous toxin in our food chain.”

He gestures again to Lake Wayangan: “The cyanobacterial or algal blooms that we see in this lake have led to it being closed for recreational water sports; indeed, even last summer.

“If we think about Murrumbidgee irrigation, there are megalitres of water that sit in canals with high turbidity and cyanobacteria and increased nutrients. So in comparison to Lake Wayangan, the amount of water in here is miniscule compared to the water in the Riverina that may indeed have identical factors that make this water unfit for recreation.

“If it’s unfit for recreation, is it fit for irrigation?”

Then there are the herbicides and pesticides. While farming run-off contributes to blue-green algae, the chemicals themselves are under investigation at the Macquarie research centre. So is lead.

One of Rowe’s colleagues at Macquarie is Frenchman Gilles Guillemin, an internationally renowned expert in neuro-inflammation and neuro-toxicity. Guillemin has previously collaborated in the identification of a biomarker for people prone to commit suicide, and he helped develop biomarkers for the sub-types of multiple sclerosis. Now he is attempting to find a biomarker for sporadic MND.

Like Rowe, Guillemin suspects the answer will be not one environmental culprit but several. And like Rowe, his investigations have made him a regular visitor to Griffith, to the extent that he has joined locals in fishing competitions. Not only does he collect samples from residents to take back to the lab – their skin, blood, plasma, hair – but he takes home the carp they land. He sends the fish to France for testing.

“I’ve lost a few of these people already … It’s really becoming personal for me.”

Guillemin points to other apparent MND hotspots in agricultural areas around Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Ballina and Tamworth, but the focus for now is on the Riverina. It’s a good region to study because its population is very stable. Relatively few people move in or move out, so any changes in the incidence of the disease can be analysed more accurately.

In the process, the friendships Guillemin makes are powerful motivation to find answers.

“I’ve lost a few of these people already,” he tells SBS at the Macquarie laboratory. “And it’s – it’s really hard. I can’t tell you. They become, you have this relationship. You know them, they ask you questions and after a time they cannot speak to you anymore. So they just send you emails or texts to ask you questions, and then you find out they’re gone. It’s really becoming personal for me.”

Rowe puts it this way: “Joe’s motor neurone disease was sporadic, out of the blue, a one-in-42,000 chance of developing a disease that we think was triggered by the environment – the environment on the shores of which he farmed and lived for 60 years.”

A family’s burden

Sisters Tania Magoci and Michelle Vearing spent much of their childhood swimming in Lake Wayangan and in Barrenbox Swamp on their family’s rice farm near Griffith. Tania is 37, Michelle 41. They can still make each other laugh like little girls, and they’re doing it now while perched on stools at Michelle’s kitchen bench in Griffith, leafing through old photo albums.

Tania is a cackler, but Michelle confides, “We still have moments where we cry a lot.”

Their grandfather was diagnosed with MND in 1995. His symptoms started in his arms and legs. He died two and a half years later.

The family had never heard of the disease. They had no idea it might be genetic until 2007.

“I noticed slurring in Mum’s speech,” Michelle recalls. “And I said to her, ‘Mum, have you been to the dentist to see why you’re talking like that … and she burst into tears. And I said, ‘You know what this is, don’t you?’”

Their mother Karen’s motor neurone disease, having started in her mouth, progressed more rapidly than if it had begun in her limbs. She lost her speech. She was dead in a year.

Michelle remembers that first conversation: “We cried and we hugged, and that’s when the reality hit that, you know, this is a disease that’s going to affect all of us. And it’s something that has frightened us ever since.”

By the time of their mother’s diagnosis, Michelle and Tania already had their own families. Both had two children.

Michelle and Tania also have another sister and a brother. They came to understand the statistical realities. Each had a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the disease. Two of the four siblings could expect bad news at some point.

It came too soon for Tania Magoci. She was diagnosed on February 11, 2011, when she was 32.

“I was a hairdresser and I was dropping my scissors and I was dropping my comb,” Tania says. “I had a lot of twitching everywhere.”

She made an appointment to see Professor Dominic Rowe in Sydney. She has been forever grateful for his forthright brand of compassion.

“He swore. He said, ‘I’m sorry, Tania, but you’ve got this beeping MND disease … You’ve got this f—ing disease, this bastard of a disease. And then just he grabbed my hands and then he cuddled me. He said, ‘But we’re going to beat this. You’re going to break the record, aren’t ya?’ I said, ‘Yep, don’t worry, Dom, I’m going to break the record.’”

“I want to find the gene for my children”

The record in Australia, Tania adds, is to live 18 years beyond diagnosis. There are very rare exceptions, such as theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who has lived with MND for more than 50 years. Tania will take whatever time she can get with husband Jason and their kids, 15-year-old Jordan and 13-year-old Lovinia.

Rowe tells SBS: “Tania, fortunately, thus far has a slow and indolent progression of this bastard.”

As yet, the Macquarie team has not found the faulty gene affecting her family. Rowe believes they are close, but they cannot yet test for it among her siblings and children.

“I want to find the gene for my children,” Tania says, “because I know one of them’s going to get it.”

The statistics are almost that brutal, though not quite. There is a 25 per cent chance that neither child will get MND. However, there is also a 25 per cent chance that both will get the disease.

For now, there is one way to break the chain of inherited motor neurone disease: in vitro fertilisation for the next generation of child bearers.

“To know that albatross hanging around their neck is cut loose, so that their children will never have MND, is an enormous relief,” Rowe says.

The IVF defence alone could save 80 lives a year in Australia – the 10 per cent of MND deaths that result from a faulty familial gene.

“Unfortunately,” Rowe adds, “as is often the case in health funding, Medicare doesn’t yet support identifying these faulty genes, and only partially helps in funding in vitro fertilisation for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. This will catch up, but at the moment we have to fund that testing out of donations.”

Rowe’s team raises more than $1 million a year to help keep its research ticking over and to run a multi-disciplinary clinic to at Macquarie for MND sufferers so they can see speech pathologists, physiotherapists, dieticians, counsellors and more specialists under the one roof – and under a heavily subsidised rate. It is the kind of care that Medicare does not afford them.

Tania and Michelle are among the MND fundraising army. Tania established the local MND support group, and Michelle has taken on its presidency.

It is possible, say Rowe and Guillemin, that the environmental culprits – when they are identified – may not only hold answers for sporadic MND. They may also be triggers for people who inherit a predisposition to the disease. “The science,” says Rowe, “will have to do the talking.”

A cure would be great, but Tania would settle for a treatment that allows patients to live a long life with the disease.

“I don’t want anyone to be diagnosed anymore and told, ‘See you later. Go home, you’re going to die.’” she says. This is effectively what her mother was told. “I just don’t want that anymore. I just want to have some bit of hope.”

Now there is a little hope. As a direct result of the fundraising efforts, the research centre at Macquarie is about to launch separate drug trials for people with sporadic and familial MND. Early days, says Rowe, but these and further drugs in development hold some promise of slowing or even stopping the disease.

 A town like Lake Cargelligo

Ninety minutes’ drive north of Griffith we come to Lake Cargelligo. The sign says “Population 1300”. Locals say it’s down to about 1000. And yet this little town has four residents with motor neurone disease, and another two with symptoms who are yet to be diagnosed.

Around a picnic table by the lake in Liberty Park, three of the MND patients and the son of the fourth are meeting as a group for the first time.

They include Suzie Fisher, a 66-year-old nurse who works in Aboriginal health care. She is the ninth member of her family over four generations to suffer MND, but she is animated as she tells the group: “At Macquarie University, they’ve got the fish down in the lab, and they’ve got lights that light up. And they are 70 per cent to a cure …

“So while it’s not going to help us sitting around this table, well, [it could help] this little grandperson and the next generation.”

She points to the baby grandson of Tim Trembath, who spent 30 years working for State Water, a career on the local lakes and rivers, before he was diagnosed with sporadic MND in early 2013.

“I drink through a straw,” says Tim, 59. “I can’t lift a cup of coffee or anything like that. Y’know, can’t pull my own trousers up.

“There’s the blue-green algae theory that would fit me fairly well,” he says. “I’ve been in and out of the water a lot of the times, dealt with the blue-green algae. I’ve seen really poisonous blooms where it looks like someone’s tipped blue or silver paint on the water.

“I’ve also been exposed to chemicals. When I was on the farm, as a teenager, I recall actually mixing the chemicals with my hands. There was no OH&S stuff or that. Put my arm in a drum and stir it around.”

Suzie Fisher says: “The nurse in me made me aware that I had motor neurone disease a very long time ago.”

“The muscles eventually die. A little bit of us dies every day.”

But having watched her aunt die of MND 38 years ago, she did not want to know. The formal diagnosis came only three and a half years ago. She she counts herself “lucky” that her disease has had a slow progression.

“People think it’s a disease of the muscles but it’s not. Motor neurone comes from your head, and it’s a failure of the nerves going down and sending reflexes out to get the muscles to work. And the muscles eventually die. A little bit of us dies every day.

“I look after my 89-year-old mum. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three Christmases ago, but I honestly believe that she’s living to look after me.

“Some nights I can’t get out of the chair, and this 89-year-old lady has a walker in front of her and helps me. We don’t talk about motor neurone disease in the house because it makes her cry. And I really hope that Mum goes before me because it would be terrible for her.”

Don Ridley is here by the lake to represent his father, Col, who ran a sheep and cereal farm for close to 50 years. Col’s in hospital and too ill to make it today. The Ridleys hadn’t heard of MND until they saw the news that AFL legend Neale Daniher had the disease.

Daniher gained fame with Essondon but he was raised down the road from Lake Cargelligo, at Ungarie. Another son of the Riverina with the bastard disease, Daniher has become patron of the Cure for MND Foundation. Its ice bucket challenge, for which AFL stars and others volunteer to be dunked in big pools of ice, has brought headlines, awareness and donations to the cause.

We take a short drive out of town with another farmer, 79-year-old Albert Brown – the fourth member of this group – to the wheat and sheep property he ran for 60 years until he was diagnosed with sporadic MND last November.

In Albert’s words

“Someone from a newspaper called me up last year and asked me why I was still working,” says Albert Brown. “I told ’em, ‘I’ve got a government to keep.’”

In a good year on this farm, he’ll have us know, the taxman could take $250,000 from him. And he hefted most of the crop on his shoulders – in bags heavier than a big man.

“I never drank in my life and I never smoked in my life. Maybe I should have. Years ago I’d lump 180-pound bags of wheat, y’know, sort of thing.

“I couldn’t lift an empty bag now. No strength at all left in me.

“I was layin’ on the bed one night and the wife looks at me back and says it was like water flowin’ across me back, you know, the way it was twitchin’ all the time.

“It’s started on me speech and swallowing, too, it has. I gotta blend me meat … I gotta keep me food pretty sloppy, with gravies and all that sort of thing, to get it down.”

Albert wonders about the cause of his illness. He remembers his days in the fields, holding up a flag for the crop dusters, “and you were covered in chemical all day long, you were”.

And the sheep troughs. “When the sun shines on ’em they get blue-green algae and you gotta clean ’em out every now and then. Sometimes, if you didn’t have a shovel, you’d just get your hands in and rake it out. No gloves on, sort of thing.

“They’re doin’ a lot of research in it, but we won’t find out. Probably someone else will, later on.”

He laughs.

“But that’s about all I know about that motor neurone. Well, I’d never heard about it until Tim [Trembath] – the bloke you met in town the other day – he wrote a bit in the local news and I said, ‘Geeze, I hope I haven’t got that bloody disease’. But that’s what it was. Most farmers diagnose themselves. They say, ‘I’ll be right. She’ll be right, mate.’ That’s the saying, isn’t it? ‘She’ll be right.’ But it’s not right.”

When it came to his diagnosis, Albert – like Tania Magoci in Griffith – appreciated the straight-shooting of his neurologist, Dom Rowe.

“He told me it was a f—wit of a disease.

“I had weight comin’ off me. Bones, and skinny all the time.

“It’s a bastard of a thing, yeah.”

Ghost fish

Thousands of fish swim in Dr Nicholas Cole’s tanks at the Motor Neurone Disease Research Centre at Macquarie University. They’re not carp but tiny, transparent zebra fish.

The biomedical researcher injects fish eggs with the human gene that causes MND. He also injects them with environmental toxins that are among suspected causes the disease.

This species grows from egg to fully fledged fish within days. “And because they are transparent,” Cole says, “we can see the nerves grow in real time in the living animal.”

With fluorescent proteins, Cole and his team can colour-code cells, tissue, nerves and muscle. They can watch nerves grow from the spinal chord and anchor into muscle. They track the rapid death of motor neurones. As they die they glow yellow in the see-through “ghost fish”.

“The ultimate aim,” says Cole, “is is to make a fish which develops MND quite rapidly and we can then treat lots and lots of fish with different compounds from drug libraries to try to find one that may give us a cure.”

“It’s breathtaking to watch,” says Dom Rowe, “as a neurologist fascinated with the human nervous system. The fact that you can see through these fish to watch their nervous system develop – to how genetic abnormalities perturb normal development and damage motor neurones.”

Joe Pasin’s legacy

Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Pasin was five years old when his family immigrated from Italy and settled in Griffith. His father worked as a labourer before he bought his own patch just out of town and planted a “fruit salad” orchard.

Joe started his working life as a bricklayer. He met newly arrived Miriam Visentin, from another Italian immigrant family, and the two married when he was 21, she 19. While they raised three children, they expanded the farm. Joe decided to specialise in oranges. Among his proudest achievements was inventing the Pasin early navel, which they pick each May, ahead of the competition.

The family still collects royalties from other growers of Joe’s legacy orange.

“That will be in history,” Mim says. “That’s got Joe stamped on it.”

Dom Rowe has tasted all the Pasin varieties. Walking through the groves, arm in arm with Mim, he picks himself a blood orange, peels it, quarters it and shares it around.

“I knew that if I didn’t honour my promise to come and visit Joe at his orchid, he would have had my guts for garters.”

In any case, “For us to understand the environmental factors that are involved in motor neurone disease, we can’t just sit in the office, the clinic or the laboratory seven hours away. You have to come down, see people in their environment, actually take samples from people who can’t get to us in Sydney. And those samples are part of our biobank at Macquarie, which is a tremendous biological resource.”

“The most important thing,” Mim says, “is that they find a cure for this disease. It won’t save Joe. It won’t bring him back.”

But that is her prayer.

She shows us Joe’s blanket.

“It’s a comfort because, to me, Joe is still there. Even though I don’t see him, he’s still there and that’s his blanket. His shoes, his boots that he had on when he was on the farm that morning, they’re still on the verandah where he left them. And the heavy jacket, it’s hooked on there. Haven’t washed it. And it’s still there with his beanie … The wallet is still on the bench in our bedroom with his glasses. So that’s that.”

Except for the Pasin early navel.

“Pasin navels will stay forever. Yes, yes.”

2009: Mildura (Lake Hawthorn etc). Pesticides: Methidathion, Chlorothalonil, Simazine, Chlorpyrifos

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Source: GHD Lower Murray Water Report for Monitoring of Irrigation Drainage Water

Stage 1 Report October 2009

p24 Table 2 Contaminants Posing A Potential High Risk To Aquatic Ecosystems in the Mallee

Methidathion: 0.98ug/L Lake Hawthorn, Catchment 8, Murray River, Cardross Lakes

Chlorothalonil: 7.9ug/L Lake Hawthorn and Bruces Bend

Simazine: 38ug/L Cardross Lakes, Lake Hawthorn, Murray River

Chlorpyrifos: 1.46ug/L Nangiloc-Colignan, river drainage outfalls, Bruces Bend, Lake Hawthorn

http://malleecma.vic.gov.au/jobs-tenders/tenders/Monitoring%20of%20Irrigation%20Drainage%20Water%20Stage%201%20Report%20October%202009.pdf

2008 February: (Toowong) Soils Tests Fail to Solve ABC Cancer Mystery. Pesticides: DDT, Dieldrin

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Soil tests fail to solve ABC cancer mystery

Georgina Robinson | February 26, 2008 – 3:16PM

Soil testing at the ABC’s abandoned Brisbane studios has found staff there were not exposed to excessive levels of pesticides and other chemicals.

A report released yesterday found levels of pesticides and metals including arsenic, cadmium, nickel and lead at the Toowong site, in the city’s inner-west, were well below national contamination guidelines.

It was the latest probe into the Toowong studios, which were abandoned in December 2006 after an investigation found breast cancer rates in workers at the site were six times the national average.

At least 17 women who worked there have been diagnosed with the disease, with the most recent known case confirmed less than three months ago.

The study took samples from two locations, a production desk most of the diagnosed women worked at and a substation on the site.

Testing showed chemical concentrations at the production desk were “generally higher” than at the substation, but still much lower than recommended levels.

The sampling also looked at concentrations of PCBs, a group of banned organic compounds, but found no evidence of any major leaks at the substation.

And levels of the banned pesticide dieldrin, which is similar to DDT, were found to be very low at both locations.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/queensland/soil-tests-fail-to-solve-abc-cancer-mystery/2008/02/26/1203788321532.html

2013 June: Dieldrin Concerns in Telstra Communication Pits

Union raises fears that Telstra communication pits contain deadly banned pesticide dieldrin

5 June 2013

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/beta/2013-06-05/fears-workers-exposed-to-pesticide-dieldrin-in-telstra-pits/4735762

A new threat has emerged for contract workers digging up communication pits owned by Telstra, with the pits found to possibly contain the deadly banned pesticide dieldrin.

The Communications Workers Union in Victoria has raised concerns workers could have been exposed to dieldrin that Telstra sprayed on its cables to stop termites.

The dieldrin link was flagged after recent reports about the disturbance of asbestos in the pits caused widespread concern about the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Dieldrin is banned in most countries and was phased out in Australia in the early 1990s.

After once being widely used in agriculture and timber products, the toxic chemical has been linked with Parkinson’s disease and can trigger comas.

The union says it raised concerns about both asbestos and dieldrin with NBN Co at a meeting in August 2010.

A spokeswoman for Telstra confirmed dieldrin had been used but says it had stopped using the chemical well before the 1990s.

“We do not believe it is an issue however we will seek advice from chemical experts and relevant government authorities on the issue,” Telstra later said in a statement.

Experts say dieldrin exposure in telecommunications pits is unlikely to be as harmful as asbestos but they still urge action.

Professor Malcolm Sim said there could still be a concern about insecticides in the soil.

“They’re very persistent and as I said they can accumulate in the body and that was the main reason they were phased out,” he said.

A spokesman for NBN Co referred the ABC back to Telstra and was trying to track down more information.

2017 February: Darlington Point NSW – Beehive Loss due to Insecticide Drift from Cotton Farms

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‘Devastating’ beehive losses due to insecticide drift from cotton farms, keeper says

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-18/bee-loses-due-to-chemical-use-by-cotton-industry-keeper-says/8276130

The pollinator in one of Australia’s key food bowls claims he can no longer base his 2,000 hive operation in the region because of chemical use by the emerging cotton industry.

Harold Saxvik’s family has been keeping bees at Darlington Point in the New South Wales Riverina for more than 80 years.

In 2013, he lost 500 hives to insecticide spray drift which he believes came from nearby cotton farms.

Since then he has been moving his bees to avoid any risk but he said it had become unworkable.

“To go out and see all your hives or your bees dead on the ground is really devastating,” he said.

“You think, ‘Do I keep going, and what’s the future in bee keeping if this is going to keep happening?’ So we made the decision to move all our hives away from the area.”

This year Mr Saxvik contracted 15,000 beehives from around Australia for the booming almond industry, which is expected to triple production in the next few years.

According to the Almond Board of Australia, the crop earned $1 billion in 2015.

Prices have fallen since then but the nut was still Australia’s third largest horticulture export.

Mr Saxvik’s company helps pollinate more than a dozen other crops in the Riverina, including crucial vegetable seed for growers around Australia.

“We produced tens of millions of dollars worth of seed … 80 per cent of our production of bees was for seed pollination and now it’s come to the stage where we’re going to have to move all our plant and all our hives,” he said.

Cotton is thriving in the Southern Rivers region with a $250 million harvest expected from the Murrumbidgee, Murray and Lachlan Rivers this season.

Ironically it is the development of a genetically modified cotton variety which uses far less insecticide that has led to the growth of the industry in a region previously considered too temperate for the crop.

Bolgard cotton needs to be sprayed as few as three times a growing season compared to up to 20 times for conventional cotton.

Cotton Australia’s chief executive officer Adam Kay said the industry had made huge reductions in chemical use and was recognised internationally for its environmental stewardship.

“It’s a fantastic story,” Mr Kay said.

“For the last 15 years we’ve been able to, through concerted research and development effort, reduce the amount of pesticide that the industry uses by over 90 per cent.

“That reduction has really been recognised globally to the extent that it’s starting to pull through Australian cotton with some of the major retailers and brand owners.”

He said the industry contributed to about $60 million a year in research into new softer chemicals that were safe for bees and other beneficial insects.

“Look it’s certainly right through everything we do in our pesticide guides and our best practise management program,” Mr Kay said.

“Bees feature there to make sure growers are aware and do due diligence to make sure if there are any hives in the area around their crop.”

‘A light drift will kill thousands of hives’

The president of the New South Wales Apiarist’s Association, Neil Bingley, said the cotton industry needed to do more.

“The cotton industry thinks that we’re a small industry but when you take the pollination of all the other horticultural crops, we’re a major player and Cotton Australia does not have the right to drive us out,” Mr Bingley said.

He believes some cotton growers along the Murrumbidgee are still spraying up to nine times a season.

“Our biggest concern is the Fipronil. It doesn’t take much of that spray at all, a light drift will kill thousands of hives,” Mr Bingley said.

Fipronil and a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids have been restricted by the European Union because of their potential harm to pollinators, but the science is controversial and the EU’s Food Safety Authority is currently reviewing these restrictions.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority said the chemicals were all safe to use as recommended by their manufacturers.

Crop Life Australia, which represents the plant science industry, said the EU restrictions had done nothing but harm farmers.

Crop Life Australia CEO Matthew Cossey said Australia had one of the world’s healthiest bee colonies despite the use of these insecticides.

“We’ve seen in Europe, where neonics got blamed for a range of things, banning them took about 600 million pounds Sterling out of production, it didn’t have an impact,” Mr Cossey said.

“There’s multiple threats to bees and to other pollinators, but bees specifically and they are varroa mite, the small hive beetle, over work, a whole range of issues.

“They [bees] are critical to farming and that’s why working together I think we get the best outcomes.”…

Watch Sean Murphy’s report on Landline this Sunday at noon.

2014/15: Cattle Creek (Qld). Pesticide: Atrazine

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Agricultural chemical levels compared to water quality guidelines for 95% ecosystem protection: In 2011, no Diuron, Atrazine or Endosulfan sulphates were measured at any of the water sampling sites. In 2014, only Atrazine was detected, and only near the exit point of Cattle Creek before the Walsh. The amount of Atrazine measured was 0.011 mg/L, only
just below the Australian and New Zealand fresh water quality guideline trigger value of 0.013 mg/L.
Northern Gulf Regional Management Group Annual Report 2014-15 (p32)

2017 February: Benerembah NSW. Spray drift. Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Off-target weed herbicide spray drift damages more than half of NSW’s cotton crops

More than half the cotton crops planted across southern NSW have been damaged by off-target weed herbicide spray drift, according to Cotton Australia.

About 30,000 hectares of the 57,000 hectares of cotton growing across the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan areas had been affected.

Cotton Australia’s regional manager in Griffith, Honi Anderson, said drift from Group I herbicides such as 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) being used to control summer weeds in fallow paddocks was harming cotton crops.

“In the crops that I’ve looked at it’s definitely Group I damage, but it’s very difficult to pinpoint what crops or what fallow situations it’s coming from,” Ms Anderson said.

“The weather conditions have not been helping keep those sprays effectively stay on the property they are intended for.”

Ms Anderson said the damage was extremely widespread this season and very few crops had not been impacted.

“In some crops the damage is low to moderate, some would be quite severe and in others it’s quite patchy,” she said.

Ms Anderson said she had been flooded with calls over the past six weeks from growers and agronomists identifying damage.

“Depending on the severity, it looks quite ugly and it’s quite distinctive,” she said.

“It’s like a witches hand effect on the leaf, the leaf shrivels up and cups over.

“Low level damage can just be a slight cupping and bubbling of the leaf.”

Ms Anderson called for growers, agronomists and contractors to utilise the online Cotton Map tool which identified the location of cotton crops.

“It’s important growers are communicating with their neighbours that they are growing cotton as it’s a very sensitive crop,” she said.

The full impact of the off-target spray drift would not be known until picking.

“Some of the plants I have seen with severe damage are throwing squares off and that is definitely going to have an impact on yield,” Ms Anderson said.

“Other crops, where damage is quite light, it shouldn’t have an impact.

“But the compounding issue is crops were generally planted late due to it being wet, so that coupled with spray drift issues isn’t helping yield potential.”

Cotton crop cops it

Murrumbidgee grower Ben Dal Broi reported moderate damage occurred in the 100 hectares of cotton growing on his Benerembah property.

“We’re hoping that we might be able to get away with very light damage at picking, but the thing that concerns me is that should we have another event it could be much more damaging and that would really affect our profitability,” Mr Dal Brio said.

He said the impact of off-target spray drift was much worse on his property this season due to the wet summer and croppers spraying weeds.

“People need to be very careful about the conditions they spray under, they need to very careful when they spray at night — particularly when there is a temperature inversion as the chemical can drift a long way and affect crops a distance away,” Mr Dal Broi said.

He said it had been a harder season for cotton than the two prior seasons, but still hopes to average 10 bales a hectare.

“We had a slower start with the wet winter and it was very difficult to get on the paddocks and get beds up and prepared for sowing,” he said.

“So the cotton was planted later, and then we had some insect damage so we lost some of the fruit.

“But since then it has been much warmer and the crop had lifted its head and is powering away.”

2017 February: Half of NSW’s cotton crop impacted by spray drift. Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Off-target weed herbicide spray drift damages more than half of NSW’s cotton crops

More than half the cotton crops planted across southern NSW have been damaged by off-target weed herbicide spray drift, according to Cotton Australia.

About 30,000 hectares of the 57,000 hectares of cotton growing across the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan areas had been affected.

Cotton Australia’s regional manager in Griffith, Honi Anderson, said drift from Group I herbicides such as 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) being used to control summer weeds in fallow paddocks was harming cotton crops.

“In the crops that I’ve looked at it’s definitely Group I damage, but it’s very difficult to pinpoint what crops or what fallow situations it’s coming from,” Ms Anderson said.

“The weather conditions have not been helping keep those sprays effectively stay on the property they are intended for.”

Ms Anderson said the damage was extremely widespread this season and very few crops had not been impacted.

“In some crops the damage is low to moderate, some would be quite severe and in others it’s quite patchy,” she said.

Ms Anderson said she had been flooded with calls over the past six weeks from growers and agronomists identifying damage.

“Depending on the severity, it looks quite ugly and it’s quite distinctive,” she said.

“It’s like a witches hand effect on the leaf, the leaf shrivels up and cups over.

“Low level damage can just be a slight cupping and bubbling of the leaf.”

Ms Anderson called for growers, agronomists and contractors to utilise the online Cotton Map tool which identified the location of cotton crops.

“It’s important growers are communicating with their neighbours that they are growing cotton as it’s a very sensitive crop,” she said.

The full impact of the off-target spray drift would not be known until picking.

“Some of the plants I have seen with severe damage are throwing squares off and that is definitely going to have an impact on yield,” Ms Anderson said.

“Other crops, where damage is quite light, it shouldn’t have an impact.

“But the compounding issue is crops were generally planted late due to it being wet, so that coupled with spray drift issues isn’t helping yield potential.”

Cotton crop cops it

Murrumbidgee grower Ben Dal Broi reported moderate damage occurred in the 100 hectares of cotton growing on his Benerembah property.

“We’re hoping that we might be able to get away with very light damage at picking, but the thing that concerns me is that should we have another event it could be much more damaging and that would really affect our profitability,” Mr Dal Brio said.

He said the impact of off-target spray drift was much worse on his property this season due to the wet summer and croppers spraying weeds.

“People need to be very careful about the conditions they spray under, they need to very careful when they spray at night — particularly when there is a temperature inversion as the chemical can drift a long way and affect crops a distance away,” Mr Dal Broi said.

He said it had been a harder season for cotton than the two prior seasons, but still hopes to average 10 bales a hectare.

“We had a slower start with the wet winter and it was very difficult to get on the paddocks and get beds up and prepared for sowing,” he said.

“So the cotton was planted later, and then we had some insect damage so we lost some of the fruit.

“But since then it has been much warmer and the crop had lifted its head and is powering away.”

1999: Port of Newcastle Phosphine Gas Fumigant

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REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE

STANDING COMMITTEE ON STATE DEVELOPMENT

INQUIRY INTO THE USE AND MANAGEMENT

OF PESTICIDES IN NEW SOUTH WALES

At Dubbo on Monday 26 July 1999

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/DBAssets/InquiryReport/ReportAcrobat/6009/transcript%20002.pdf

Mr YEO:

Not really, not on that. I think Sam has covered it pretty well. I am following a different line. I would like to deal with a problem that we have with fumigants in our community. I have worked within this industry for 33 years, and I would like to follow the subject of fumigants phosphene, phostoxin and those sorts of gases that are used on the farm. They are a very toxic sort of a gas, and if you run through the first page of the submission you will see what the boiling point of this gas is. It is 87.4 at room temperature. It is highly poisonous.

If we go to the next page, you will see – and this is very important – the safe working is 0.03 parts per million in any one 8-hour working period. This phosphine gas is in pelletised form, or it is in liquid gases. It is very highly used in the grain industry. The trucks have been detected at our storages at up to 380 parts per million, which is 380-odd times the safe working of this gas. Now, these trucks are passing through the city, townships and other small towns.

In the submission you can see the effects of the gas. It severely irritates the nose, throat, respiratory passages, and causing coughs and shortage of breath, et cetera. It causes deep lung damage. It irritates the eyes, the nose and the throat and the nervous system. It causes headaches, nausea, vomiting. People become confused, have double vision, have an unsteady walk, and suffer tremors and stutters. It can be fatal. It affects the liver and kidneys, the heart, and causes a drop in blood pressure.

So, if you could take those matters on board. If a person is following these trucks for long distances and the truck has a contamination at those parts per million and it is escaping when that transport operator is travelling to the seaboard or to the end user of that product, the driver or passengers in the following vehicle could become drowsy and sleepy, and that could cause some major problems. Severe single exposure can cause any of the above. It is a lethal gas.

We in the industry certainly are having our problems with it. About 14 months ago we had a site opened. There were seven semitrailers turned up to deliver their grain. The first truck got past the inspection point; that grain was delivered into rail trucks; we then tested the second truck and got 100 parts per million of phosphine gas. We then checked the rail truck that that grain had gone into, and it was at 298 parts per million. Those trucks left our site and returned to the farm, a distance of 120 kilometres. So the enormity of that danger to the community or anyone travelling in the event that that truck tipped over, for the rescue workers, et cetera, is obvious. It is a major issue. There should be some means of convicting these people who are wilfullyand deliberating doing this.

The other day a truck was detected at the Port of Newcastle. A truck was detected there with phosphine at a rate of more than 100 parts per million. That truck had travelled from the Central West of New South Wales all the way to that port, a distance of 400 or 500 kilometres. I am very concerned about that, and so should this Committee be very concerned about the prospect of death or serious risk, in case of accidents, to people who are following these vehicles. There were six trucks returned to the farm, and again those drivers complained of exactly what this meeting was saying: nausea, double vision and whatever. These vehicles are grossing 42 tonnes.

The document is regarding the proper use of fumigants. These fumigants can be readily obtained off the shelf at any of the farm suppliers around town. There should be some regulation to control this problem. It was only 14 months ago that a child ate one of these tablets and was killed immediately. What the truck operators are doing now is loading the trucks with grain that is infested with live insects. The quickest way to activate the fumigants is to place them in a tin with a few holes and add water. As you can see, it is very combustible.

2012 July: Pesticide Linked to Parkinsons Disease. Pesticide: Paraquat

Pesticide linked to Parkinson’s disease

Flash version 9 or above required to view video: Get flash.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation h

ttp://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3545855.htm

Broadcast: 13/07/2012

Reporter: Kirrin McKechnie

Scientists have called for a ban on a pesticide with links to Parkinson’s disease and have warned more people may get sick.

Transcript

STEVE CANNANE, PRESENTER: There are calls to ban a pesticide with links to Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat is under review by the pesticides authority but scientists warn many more people could get sick while’s decision is being made.

Kirrin McKechnie has the story.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE, REPORTER: It is a herbicide used extensively in agriculture. But the move is on to try to ban Paraquat.

DARYL SMEATON, PARKINSON’S AUSTRALIA: The use of chemicals is important in agriculture, we know that. But we’ve got to make sure those that have a bad reputation aren’t used.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: Paraquat has such a bad reputation it is banned in 32 countries, including across Europe and parts of south-east Asia. Scientists say the chemical has known links to Parkinson’s disease.

JOHN POWER, FLINDERS UNIVERSITY: Once you’ve got Parkinson’s you’ve lost a certain number of brain cells in the particular area of the brain related to movement. A number of chemicals, Paraquat, Maneb, Rotonome, all target those cells. And destroy them.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: Parkinson’s Australia is now planning a national campaign to force the Commonwealth to act. It is warning the Federal Government it could face compensation claims if it doesn’t.

DARYL SMEATON: That’s certainly part of the questions that we have to raise with government. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority admits Paraquat has been under review since 1997, but visit investigations are still ongoing. As it makes up its mind, scientists are urging better education about the dangers.

JOHN POWER: Lots of farmers have huge sheds full of drums of this and it has to be… if it was me I would be gowned and gloves and goggles and masks, because all these chemicals are toxic of

DARYL SMEATON: The evidence is growing day by day.

KIRRIN MCKECHNIE: So, he says, is the incidence of Parkinson’s in farming communities.

Do you have a comment or a story idea? Get in touch with the Lateline team by clicking here.

2016 April: Parkinsons Cluster in Victoria’s North West: Horsham, Northern Grampians

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http://www.canberratimes.com.au/video/video-news/video-national-news/parkinsons-disease-cluster-discovered-in-states-northwest-20160411-4daao.html

Parkinson’s disease cluster discovered in state’s north-west

Associate Professor David Finkelstein talks to 3AW about the link between the disease and pesticides used in the Victorian region for barley, chickpea and lentil farming.

Study finds Parkinsons cluster in regional Victoria

Tom Nightingale reported this story on Monday, April 11, 2016

MICHAEL BRISSENDON: New research has found a cluster of Parkinson’s disease cases in rural northwest Victoria, raising concerns of a possible link with pesticides used in farming.

Tom Nightingale reports.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: They knew the rule; now they’ve found the exception.

Numerous studies had found Parkinson’s disease was equally as prevalent in the city and the bush.

Then researchers looked at rates around Victoria’s Wimmera area.

ASHLEY BUSH: There is a cluster of higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease that would be expected for the average age of the population. And it’s about double what would be expected.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: Professor Ashley Bush was one the researchers.

He says pesticides used to produce chickpeas, beans and lentils could be responsible.

ASHLEY BUSH: Pesticides, various kinds of pesticides can cause the type of brain damage that leads to Parkinson’s disease.

That exposure would have occurred decades earlier, probably so it’s possible that things have changed indeed, so there’s quite a bit of investigation to go on to try to work this out.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: Associate Professor David Finkelstein is with Parkinson’s Victoria.

He says the findings from Monash University and the Florey Institute are the first in Australia.

DAVID FINKELSTEIN: Other rural farming communities, especially in the States, have done a lot of research and they’ve found that pesticides have been linked with an increased incidence of Parkinson’s.

If you give these pesticides to animals in the laboratory they get Parkinsonism.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: He wants Parkinson’s disease to be a research priority so it gets a short term boost in funding.

DAVID FINKELSTEIN: Parkinson’s slips through the cracks for funding. It doesn’t fit in the national health disability scheme because people get it generally after the age of 60, it’s a chronic disease, and it, so it slips through the cracks.

What we’re saying is if you put it, give it the appropriate attention it deserves, it will actually save the money for people because it will keep people in the workforce for longer.

TOM NIGHTINGALE: The report’s executive summary is being released today to coincide with World Parkinson’s Day.

The full study will be released later this year.

MICHAEL BRISSENDED: Tom Nightingale with that report.

2012 November: Adjungbilly Creek NSW. Pesticide: Atrazine

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ADJUNGBILLY CREEK CONTAMINATION
Page: 17170

The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I provide the following response to a question asked of me today by the Hon. Mick Veitch concerning the herbicide atrazine:

        Following recent routine stream water sampling in the Tumut region, Forests NSW detected a concentration of atrazine in two samples that exceeded the Australian Drinking Water Standards [ADWS]. Forests NSW use atrazine in combination with other chemicals to control weeds in newly established pine plantations. This is an authorised use of this herbicide and atrazine is a widely used herbicide. Atrazine is highly mobile in water and as such Forests NSW is careful to ensure that it does not enter waterways but also tests after application so it is aware if it has been carried into minor streams and waterways by unforseen rainfall events.
      In accordance with Forests NSW herbicide policy and the Environment Protection Authority [EPA] protocol, Forests NSW notified the Environment Protection Authority, WorkCover, the Greater Southern Area Health Service and the Gundagai Shire Council of the event. Forests NSW also notified as many downstream neighbours as possible as soon as possible. Sampling of water at the neighbours’ pumping points is being undertaken for atrazine so that these neighbours can resume using the water as soon as clearance can be given. The atrazine will be carried downstream and, as it does so, it will be diluted to below hazardous concentrations. A heightened sampling regime is being instituted to monitor the concentrations of atrazine in watercourses. Contingency plans are in place in the event measured concentrations exceed the standards. Forests NSW is continuing to investigate the cause of these incidents and to monitor for the presence of atrazine in the affected streams.

Source: Parliament of NSW Hansard 21/11/2012

http://23.101.218.132/Prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC20121121066?open&refNavID=HA8_1

2010 December: Urgent Action Needed on Dioxins: Pesticides: Multiple

6 December 2010

 

Source: https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2010/12/urgent-action-needed-dioxins-says-toxicologist

The environmental scientist whose work on dioxins last year prompted governments around the world to suspend the use of some pesticides says there is more to the problem and authorities need to act urgently.

Although dioxins have been banned from the ingredients of pesticides in Australia for more than a decade, many dioxins emerged in the manufacturing process and there was no end-stage monitoring to protect consumers and the public, said University of Queensland scientist Dr Caroline Gaus.

Numerous environmental and health issues were associated with undeclared dioxin impurities, said Dr Gaus, an environmental toxicologist with the National Research Institute for Environmental Toxicology (ENTOX).

Little information was available about the impurities because they were created during the production process so were not original ingredients.

“We estimate that the amount of these impurities is relatively high compared to other current dioxin sources, but this cannot be adequately quantified due to the commercial protection of data on pesticides use in Australia and internationally,” Dr Gaus said.

She said pesticides with impurities used in high volumes represented a previously neglected but significant and concerning source of dioxins in the environment. They also posed a risk to the health of people handling pesticides, and to consumers.

“Some of these pesticides contained high concentrations of dioxins, comparable to those known from pesticides which are banned or restricted for use in most countries since the 1980s and 90s,” she said.

Dioxins are linked to a range of cancers and are considered one of the most toxic man-made chemicals. They can cause adverse health effects in humans and wildlife including cancer, and act on development, reproduction and the endocrine system.

Research by Dr Gaus and PhD student Eva Holt last year showed that a wide range of currently used and globally marketed pesticides contained dioxin impurities, despite the widespread belief that modern pesticides were no longer a significant dioxin source.

As a result of their work, a new wave of suspensions, recalls, restrictions and government reviews on pesticide formulations is under way worldwide, including in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The study analysed 23 different pesticide formulations, containing 15 different active ingredients currently used in Australia (plus four formulations that are no longer registered for use in Australia), including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. Dioxins were detected in all samples, including some commonly used products. Researchers estimate approximately 200 pesticides have the potential to contain dioxins.

The pesticides are used on crops including cotton, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, beans and peanuts, as well as in parks and recreation areas, at turf farms and plant nurseries.

“In view of the global manufacturing, distribution and use of pesticides, international regulation and monitoring strategies should be developed and implemented to identify, evaluate, and target pesticide dioxin sources at the manufacturing stage,” Dr Gaus said.

Some Recent Restrictions

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) suspended all formulations containing quintozene (pentachloronitrobenzene) from use in April this year due to risk to workers applying the pesticide, which was commonly used on golf courses. The fungicide is under review in New Zealand where it is used on bulbs and turf. The manufacturer recently initiated a voluntary recall of product containing quintozene. The APVMA has recently suspended the pesticide PCNB from sale and a stop sale order has been issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

About Dioxins

• Dioxins are toxic compounds which have adverse health effects in humans and wildlife. They can elicit adverse health effects at low levels (cancer, immunotoxicity, reproduction, endocrine function, development).

• These toxicants are managed under the international Stockholm Convention treaty which aims to protect human health and the environment by reducing and eliminating dioxin release to the environment. More than 150 countries, including Australia, have ratified the Stockholm Convention treaty since 2004.

• Most chlorinated pesticides have the potential to contain dioxins if manufactured under certain conditions and processes (e.g. > 150 ºC, alkaline conditions, process including chlorine) – the US EPA lists 161 chemicals (but it is not complete – PCNB for example is not listed). Thus, pesticides were considered historical sources of dioxins and contemporary monitoring data in most current-use pesticides are lacking.

• Dioxin impurities can vary between manufacturing facility, batch, year and country due to variations in production processes and conditions.

About the Research

• 23 different formulations containing 15 different active ingredients currently used in Australia (plus 4 formulations that are no longer registered for use in Australia), including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, were analysed. Dioxins were detected in all samples. These include commonly used pesticides, such as PCNB, MCPA, 2,4-D, chlorothalonil and triclopyr/picloram. Others are Fluroxypyr, Mecoprop, Flumetsulam, Imazamox, Prochloraz, Fenamisphos, Chlorpyrifos, Lindane; 2,4-D; 2,4-DB; Chlorthal amd Quintozene.

• Some of these pesticide formulations contained high concentrations of dioxins, comparable to those known from pesticides which are banned or restricted for use in most countries since the 1980/90s.

•Highest dioxin (1,100-2,000 mg/tonne AI) and TEQ (2,400-5,700 µg/tonne AI) concentrations were found in the fungicide quintozene (also known as pentachloronitrobenzene (PCNB)).

• Dioxin concentrations in PCNB are comparable to those known from the banned pesticides 2,4,5-T (trichlorophenoxyacetic acid; the key ingredient of Agent Orange). Note: TEQ concentrations in PCNB are at the lower end for those known for 2,4,5-T (approaching the 7,000 µg/tonne used under the Stockholm Convention to estimate historical dioxin releases via past use of 2,4,5-T).

• There are about 6000 pesticide products on the market in Australia (containing ~2000 different active ingredients) – the UQ/ENTOX scientists analysed only a small proportion (0.4 per cent) of these.

• Dioxin concentrations in other pesticides analysed ranged from 61-190 ug TEQ/tonne AI. Impurity concentrations may vary considerably depending on the conditions employed during pesticide production and should therefore be monitored regularly.

• As many pesticides are used in high volumes, they can represent previously neglected but important sources of dioxins to the environment and pose a risk to the health of people handling pesticides.

• Based on these findings, the APVMA have recently suspended the pesticide PCNB, due to dioxin contamination and the associated risks to pesticide applicators. Similarly, the US EPA have issued a stop sale order for PCNB.

• The estimated release of dioxins from the use of PCNB is 27 g TEQ/year (10-90th percentile range: 14-110 g TEQ/year). The dioxin release from this pesticide alone ranks among the top 5 dioxin sources to land in Australia (range 28-110 g TEQ/year).

• The greatest source of uncertainty with these estimates is the lack of information on pesticide use volumes in Australia, which is commercial in confidence and thus not publicly available. This is why the dioxin release associated with many of the pesticides analysed by the UQ/ENTOX scientists could not be estimated to date (has to be modelled)

• The cumulative dioxin release associated with high volume-use of different pesticides may be an important source of dioxins, even if pesticides contain lower dioxin levels than PCNB, e.g. if all pesticide products were contaminated at levels ranging from 100-10,000 µg TEQ/tonne AI and used at a total of 200,000 tonnes per year, then the annual dioxin release would be between 20 and 2000 g TEQ/year.

Note: data on the amount of pesticides used in Australia is not publicly available (commercial in confidence), total pesticide use may be considerably higher than 200,000 tonnes (approximately 2.25 million tonnes of pesticides a year are used in the USA, including 1.18 million tonnes per year of chlorine and hypochlorite pesticides).

The study was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant and undertaken by the National Research Institute for Environmental Toxicology, University of Queensland (Eva Holt, Caroline Gaus) in collaboration with the National Measurement Institute in Sydney (Gavin Stevenson) and collaborators from Germany (Roland Weber).

The United Nations Environmental Protection Agency has used the data from the study to develop a burden of toxicology measure for use worldwide. It helps identify and prioritise dioxin sources.

Media inquiries: Marlene McKendry – 0401 99 6847

2015 July: Brisbane ‘Pest Bomb’ Explosion.

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‘Large volume’ of pest bombs cause explosion at Brisbane restaurant, buckling front wall and blowing off rear door

 

Brisbane restaurant owners have inadvertently caused an explosion at their shop after overusing pest bombs.

Authorities were called to the Glamorous Wok at Sunnybank just after 10pm and found the bottom section of the front wall buckled out and rear door blown off.

The owners had planted 24 cans of pest repellent inside the store.

Acacia Ridge Fire and Emergency Services station officer Michael Yates said they were originally told the owners had laid “some 12 pest bombs inside the premises”.

“I sent a couple fire-fighters in with atmospheric test equipment and a thermal imaging camera to make sure there was no residue vapours; there wasn’t any signs of fire. Police then did a secondary sweep of the building and found 24 pest bombs,” Mr Yates said.

“There is structural damage to the restaurant … the front door was buckled out and the rear door was blown out.”

He said pest bomb explosions were not very common.

“This [kind of explosion] usually happens with a gas leak. I haven’t in my 20-year career seen a pest bomb explosion,” Mr Yates said.

“What happens with these they have hydrocarbon propellant within the aerosol and they go up into the air and kill the bugs but they’re extremely flammable and may present an explosion hazard.

Obviously if you’re going to set off 24 that’s a large volume of propellant so it obviously found an ignition source and caused an vapour explosion which expands out with a sudden rush, which is why the front of the restaurant buckled out.”

2012-2016: Toora (Vic) Water Supply. Pesticides: Triclopyr, 2,4,6-T, Picloram

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Clear Water Storage Water 27/03/2012 Triclopyr 0.15ug/L
Clear Water Storage Water 29/04/2013 Triclopyr 0.02ug/L
Clear Water Storage Water 18/03/2014 Triclopyr 0.04ug/L
Untreated Source Water 21/04/2015 2,4,6-T 0.1ug/L
Untreated Source Water 21/04/2015 Picloram 0.27ug/L
Untreated Source Water 21/04/2015 Triclopyr 2.6ug/L
WTP Filtered Water 12/05/2015 Picloram 0.07ug/L
WTP Filtered Water 12/05/2015 Triclopyr 0.53ug/L
Untreated Source Water 12/05/2015 Triclopyr 0.27ug/L
Untreated Source Water 19/04/2016 Triclopyr 0.12ug/L

2012-2016: Meeniyan Water Supply (Vic). Pesticides: Triclopyr, 2,4-D

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Clear Water Storage Water 27/03/2012 Triclopyr 0.06ug/L
Clear Water Storage Water 29/04/2013 Triclopyr 0.06ug/L
Clear Water Storage Water 18/03/2014 Triclopyr 0.06ug/L
Untreated Source Water 17/11/2014 Triclopyr 0.01ug/L
Untreated Source Water 21/04/2015 Triclopyr 0.07ug/L
Untreated Source Water 16/11/2015 2,4-D 0.02ug/L
Untreated Source Water 16/11/2015 Triclopyr 0.02ug/L
Untreated Source Water 19/04/2016 2,4-D 0.06ug/L
Untreated Source Water 19/04/2016 Triclopyr 0.09ug/L

1992: Wandin (Vic) Dieldrin “Control Area”

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2.2 Potato growing
Potato growing in the Gembrook area has historically been the main form of agriculture in theNorthern Ranges Green Wedge, with an excellent reputation for high quality produce based onstrong consumer demand for brushed potatoes from the red soil country. In 1995 Gembrook accounted for around 4 per cent of Victoria’s potato growing area, producing around 10,000 tonnes and occupying around 400 hectares.
Unfortunately the area has been faced with majordifficulties over the last 30 years. Dieldrin is present in the red soils and much of the area is also affected by an organism called the potato cyst nematode (PCN). These two separate problems have combined to create an immensely difficult situation for many growers, some of whom are concerned about their future in the industry and their future options for retirement.
Potato cyst nematode is common in Europe while Australia has generally remained free of the problem. It consists of a microscopic organism which lives in the soil and attacks the roots of potatoes and some other plants. It is not a human health issue except it reduces crop yields, increases production costs and reduces the value of potatoes grown in the area. It was discovered in Western Australia in 1983, in Wandin (1991) and then in Gembrook in 1992. Since 1992 the Department of Primary Industries has declared four “Control Areas” in Victoria – at Thorpdale, Koo Wee Rup, Wandin and Gembrook – and movement into and out of these areas is restricted and export to interstate markets has been banned. The effects on the Gembrook potato industry have been devastating as Gembrook’s main market was interstate and as a consequence half the growers left theindustry and the production of potatoes declined in the study area by half.

At present only 12 potato growers now remain in the study area. Another problem in the study area is dieldrin, as a result of widespread use of the pesticide between1950 and 1980. At the time dieldrin was hailed as an effective pesticide which could   replace Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and it was used widely across the world. It was subsequently found to build up to toxic levels in animals and humans and was withdrawn from use in 1987. The level of dieldrin soil contamination does drop over time – reportedly 30-50 years before it is graded at a safe level – although the levels re main at unacceptable levels in the Gembrook area.Whilst soil contamination does not directly affect the growing of potatoes and other vegetables, itlimits options for cattle, ducks and free range chickens (but not for horses and sheep). Cattle whichgraze on contaminated dieldrin soils must be agisted on “clean” soils for six months before they can obtain a clean bill of health and be sold at market.

Source: Northern Ranges Green Wedge Management Plan Issues Paper June 2010http://www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/files/Strategic_planning/SP_GWMP_NorthernRanges_IssuesPaper_2010-06.pdf

1992: Koo Wee Rup (Vic) Dieldrin “Control Area”

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2.2 Potato growing
Potato growing in the Gembrook area has historically been the main form of agriculture in theNorthern Ranges Green Wedge, with an excellent reputation for high quality produce based onstrong consumer demand for brushed potatoes from the red soil country. In 1995 Gembrook accounted for around 4 per cent of Victoria’s potato growing area, producing around 10,000 tonnes and occupying around 400 hectares.
Unfortunately the area has been faced with majordifficulties over the last 30 years. Dieldrin is present in the red soils and much of the area is also affected by an organism called the potato cyst nematode (PCN). These two separate problems have combined to create an immensely difficult situation for many growers, some of whom are concerned about their future in the industry and their future options for retirement.
Potato cyst nematode is common in Europe while Australia has generally remained free of the problem. It consists of a microscopic organism which lives in the soil and attacks the roots of potatoes and some other plants. It is not a human health issue except it reduces crop yields, increases production costs and reduces the value of potatoes grown in the area. It was discovered in Western Australia in 1983, in Wandin (1991) and then in Gembrook in 1992. Since 1992 the Department of Primary Industries has declared four “Control Areas” in Victoria – at Thorpdale, Koo Wee Rup, Wandin and Gembrook – and movement into and out of these areas is restricted and export to interstate markets has been banned. The effects on the Gembrook potato industry have been devastating as Gembrook’s main market was interstate and as a consequence half the growers left theindustry and the production of potatoes declined in the study area by half.

At present only 12 potato growers now remain in the study area. Another problem in the study area is dieldrin, as a result of widespread use of the pesticide between1950 and 1980. At the time dieldrin was hailed as an effective pesticide which could   replace Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and it was used widely across the world. It was subsequently found to build up to toxic levels in animals and humans and was withdrawn from use in 1987. The level of dieldrin soil contamination does drop over time – reportedly 30-50 years before it is graded at a safe level – although the levels re main at unacceptable levels in the Gembrook area.Whilst soil contamination does not directly affect the growing of potatoes and other vegetables, itlimits options for cattle, ducks and free range chickens (but not for horses and sheep). Cattle whichgraze on contaminated dieldrin soils must be agisted on “clean” soils for six months before they can obtain a clean bill of health and be sold at market.

Source: Northern Ranges Green Wedge Management Plan Issues Paper June 2010http://www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/files/Strategic_planning/SP_GWMP_NorthernRanges_IssuesPaper_2010-06.pdf

1992: Thorpdale (Vic) Dieldrin “Control Area”

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2.2 Potato growing
Potato growing in the Gembrook area has historically been the main form of agriculture in theNorthern Ranges Green Wedge, with an excellent reputation for high quality produce based onstrong consumer demand for brushed potatoes from the red soil country. In 1995 Gembrook accounted for around 4 per cent of Victoria’s potato growing area, producing around 10,000 tonnes and occupying around 400 hectares.
Unfortunately the area has been faced with majordifficulties over the last 30 years. Dieldrin is present in the red soils and much of the area is also affected by an organism called the potato cyst nematode (PCN). These two separate problems have combined to create an immensely difficult situation for many growers, some of whom are concerned about their future in the industry and their future options for retirement.
Potato cyst nematode is common in Europe while Australia has generally remained free of the problem. It consists of a microscopic organism which lives in the soil and attacks the roots of potatoes and some other plants. It is not a human health issue except it reduces crop yields, increases production costs and reduces the value of potatoes grown in the area. It was discovered in Western Australia in 1983, in Wandin (1991) and then in Gembrook in 1992. Since 1992 the Department of Primary Industries has declared four “Control Areas” in Victoria – at Thorpdale, Koo Wee Rup, Wandin and Gembrook – and movement into and out of these areas is restricted and export to interstate markets has been banned. The effects on the Gembrook potato industry have been devastating as Gembrook’s main market was interstate and as a consequence half the growers left theindustry and the production of potatoes declined in the study area by half.

At present only 12 potato growers now remain in the study area. Another problem in the study area is dieldrin, as a result of widespread use of the pesticide between1950 and 1980. At the time dieldrin was hailed as an effective pesticide which could   replace Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and it was used widely across the world. It was subsequently found to build up to toxic levels in animals and humans and was withdrawn from use in 1987. The level of dieldrin soil contamination does drop over time – reportedly 30-50 years before it is graded at a safe level – although the levels re main at unacceptable levels in the Gembrook area.Whilst soil contamination does not directly affect the growing of potatoes and other vegetables, itlimits options for cattle, ducks and free range chickens (but not for horses and sheep). Cattle whichgraze on contaminated dieldrin soils must be agisted on “clean” soils for six months before they can obtain a clean bill of health and be sold at market.

Source: Northern Ranges Green Wedge Management Plan Issues Paper June 2010http://www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/files/Strategic_planning/SP_GWMP_NorthernRanges_IssuesPaper_2010-06.pdf

2016 September: Study Confirms Widespread Pesticide Pollution of Australian Waterways

Study Confirms Widepsread Pesticide Pollution of Australian Waterways

2016 September: http://www.archive.foe.org.au/sites/default/files/Pesticides%20Detections%20in%20Australian%20Waterways.pdf

Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth (FoE) today called on increased restrictions and bans on pesticides which continue to pollute Australian waterways. FoE also called for significant increases in the number of pesticide guideline levels published in ecological and drinking water guidelines in Australia.

These calls are based on a review of data revealing widespread pesticide pollution across Australia.

“Our research revealed almost 200 pesticides have been detected in over 3,500 locations in Australian waterways over the years” Friends of the Earth spokesperson Anthony Amis said. “This information was gained from published scientific reports and Freedom of Information applications from a variety of water authorities”.

“It is worrying that almost all of these pesticides have no ecological guidelines, and 40% don’t have drinking water guidelines” Mr Amis added.”FoE wants the most commonly detected pesticides to be banned from use within Australia”.

“95% of pesticides used in Australia and detected in waterways do not have ecological guidelines, meaning that if traces of the pesticide leach off land and into waterways there are limited mechanisms, including legal means, available to determine ecological effect of the pesticide on the waterway and the legal consequences of such pollution”. Mr Amis said. “Essentially many pesticide users are allowed to pollute waterways without due consequences and this has been the state of play for decades. Many waterways are treated as nothing more than agricultural drains” he added.

“Over 40% of pesticides that have been detected in Australian waterways do not have guideline limits under the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, making it difficult to determine possible health impacts associated with people who are exposed to that particular pesticide. Because there is no Australian Government authority that monitors biocide use, water authorities often do not know what is being used within their water supplies and what to test for. This further complicates the issue”.

Friends of the Earth is recommending that the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), who publish the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, should contact every water authority across the country to get access to their water pollution data. In this way, the NHMRC can then better determine which pesticides require guidelines based on actual pesticide pollution events.

FoE is also calling on the National Environment Protection Council and the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand to urgently update ANZECC Ecological Guidelines, some of which have not been updated in almost two decades. ”A mountain of scientific research on pesticides and other pollutants has been published since the ANZECC Guidelines were last produced” Mr Amis added.

FoE is also recommending bans and label changes for pesticides commonly detected in waterways, particularly the herbicides Atrazine and Simazine, which represent 20% of pesticides entering waterways.

A copy of the report can be found here:

http://www.archive.foe.org.au/sites/default/files/Pesticides%20Detections%20in%20Australian%20Waterways.pdf

2016 September: Birds poisoned at Budgewoi and Warnerville NSW. Pesticide: Fenitrothion

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EPA, council seeking information to catch bird killer at Budgewoi and Warnervale

September 28, 2016
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/central-coast/epa-council-seeking-information-to-catch-bird-killer-at-budgewoi-and-warnervale/news-story/e26742cd07cf2813b0734ad38bf9888a

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has received reports of dozens of bird deaths at Warnervale and Budgewoi.

EPA acting director Hunter Karen Marler said the bird deaths were disturbing and the EPA was investigating with Central Coast Council.

“The EPA received reports of dead corellas at Warnervale and dead magpies at Budgewoi over the past two weeks,” Ms Marler said.

“Officers from the EPA and council inspected the areas and collected dead birds of different species for analysis at the EPA’s laboratories in Sydney.

“Preliminary results indicate the birds have been poisoned with the same pesticide, fenamiphos. This pesticide is not readily available to the public.

“The EPA conducted a letterbox drop to local residents in both areas seeking any information that may assist the EPA’s investigation.”

Ms Marler said the EPA received video evidence of the birds being poisoned by a member of the public on Monday.

“The EPA has reviewed the footage which appears to show a dark-coloured Ford Ranger with the driver appearing to throw an object out of the moving vehicle.

“The video footage is distressing — it shows magpies and other birds flying to the meat and then becoming severely affected within minutes of ingesting the poison. Dead magpies are visible on the road verge and birds can be seen falling out of trees as they succumb to the poison.

“An EPA officer attended the scene on Monday and found numerous pieces of meat, which smelt strongly of pesticide, in the area seen in the footage.”

Central Coast Council’s noxious weeds and pest species officer Paul Marynissen said it was distressing to see so many native birds being attacked.

“We’ve received a number of reports of many dead birds who have eaten this poisoned meat.

“Residents living in the Budgewoi, Warnervale and Woongarrah areas, also need to keep an eye on their pets and make sure they don’t eat anything foreign when on their daily walks. This poisoned meat is not only harmful to our local birds but also our pets and children,” Mr Marynissen said.

The EPA has provided information taken from the video footage to both the NSW Police and the RSPCA and is conducting its own investigations.

It is an offence under the EPA’s legislation to use pesticides in a manner that harms non-target animals. The maximum penalties for this are $120,000 for an individual. It is also an offence to cause danger or harm to an animal by littering and maximum penalties are $3300.

The EPA and Central Coast Council is appealing for people to come forward with information which may assist. They are particularly interested in hearing from the owner of the dark coloured Ford Ranger seen in the vicinity of Highberry St, Woongarrah, on Saturday, September 24.

Details: EPA Environment Line on 131 555.

2012: 50 bird killed near Mudgee NSW. Pesticide: Mevinphos

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Pesticide kills nearly 50 birds

A man who killed 46 birds, the majority of which were native, by misusing a pesticide when attempting to control problem pigeons was convicted and ordered to pay nearly $10,000 in Mudgee Local Court last Wednesday.

Clark Lennard Bell, 66, pleaded guilty to the charges of ‘Use pesticide as to harm non-target animal/plant’, ‘Not understand label before using registered pesticide’, and ‘Possess/use restricted pesticide without authority’.

He was fined $3500, ordered to pay professional costs of $3500 and a further $2500 to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Since 2009 the Mudgee mill where Bell was general manager has had trouble with pigeons entering, roosting and defecating in the building.

Bell tried a range of methods to rid the mill of the birds without success.

In July last year he found a 20 to 30 year old insecticide in the shed on the site of the mill which he used to bait the pigeons.

The substance was Phosdrin Insecticide, a restricted pesticide which Bell didn’t have the authority to use, which didn’t have the full label, and which has never been approved for use on birds.

Around this time, members and players of the nearby Mudgee Golf Club started to notice dead cockatoos and galahs on the course, along with several more dead birds and pigeons around the adjacent railway tracks.

In total 46 birds were found dead, 25 cockatoos, 12 galahs and nine pigeons.

Bell’s solicitor, Stephen Flynn, told the court that his client’s actions were “reckless as oppose to deliberate” and that he was “amateurishly attempting to solve a problem to the business”.

Ms Junor of the EPA said that Phosdrin Insecticide is a particularly dangerous pesticide and that there must have been “an awareness in the mind of the defendant that his actions were unlawful”.

Magistrate Michael Allen said the incident was “reckless conduct” and “unsophisticated” but “accepts there was no intention to harm anything beyond pest pigeons”.

However he went on to say there needs to be “a significant deterrent” to breaching regulations aimed at protecting native animals.

“There needs to be greater care given to the land that these people derive their living from,” he said.

2011: 52 Bolgas Poisoned in North Queensland

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Queensland farmer fined $18,000 for poisoning 52 brolgas

Updated

A far north Queensland farmer has been fined $18,000 over the poisoning deaths of 52 protected brolgas on a southern Tablelands property.

The birds died from eating corn laced with organophosphate pesticide at Mandalee station at Innot Hot Springs in 2011.

Cairns magistrate Suzette Coates found 72-year-old Richard Thiele, the director of the company that operates the station, Osprey Australia, responsible for the deaths.

She rejected Thiele’s plea of not guilty for breaching the Nature Conservation Act, along with his defence that anyone could have baited the birds because the public had easy access to the 2,300-hectare property.

Photos of the dead birds in various stages of decomposition were shown in court.

A chemist gave evidence describing the toxicity of a pesticide in the stomach contents of the birds as being exceedingly high.

2014 May: Residents Fight Plans for $100m Pesticide Plant at Lara. Pesticide: Paraquat

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By NOEL MURPHYSource: http://geelongindy.com.au/indy/2014-05-29/residents-fight-plans-for-100m-pesticide-plant-at-lara/

TWO hundred anxious Lara residents have petitioned City Hall over a new pesticide plant expected to generate 45 jobs and $100 million a year for the local economy.
The Accensi plant, with separate sites on McManus and Broderick Rds, is set to open by November in City Hall’s Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct.
But Lara Resident Action Group has lashed out at a lack of notification about the chemical plant to 50 households within a kilometre of the site.
The group also voiced fears about safety and environment regulations for the project.
Spokesman Rob Leonard said residents in the dark about the pesticides to be manufactured feared they might include Paraquat, banned in 32 other countries.
“Residents are more than disturbed, they’re up in arms,” Mr Leonard said.
“They’re worrying about property values, about their kids’ health, everyone’s health. A chemical plant like this is making Lara feel unsafe to live in.
“If it leaks it will go into the water drainage system next door. If it’s airborne it will go over schools.”
Mr Leonard released a letter to City Hall from WorkSafe major hazards manager Geoff Cooke, explaning WorkSafe’s opinion that Paraquatm“should be classified as very toxic”.
However, the letter said Accensi believed Paraquat should be classified as toxic, meaning the proposed facility “would be beblow the major hazard threshold”.
The petion said the signatories understood they lived next to Industrial 2-zoned land, so they had “an expectation of industrial-type development”..
“But it is of deep concern to us that there has been an approval of a chemical plant within 200 to 1000 metres of our properties without any notification.
“Some of our dwellings/properties are within 200 metres of the proposed development site and still no notification was/has been received.”
City Hall planning and tourism general manager Peter Bettess said zoning made Accensi’s site exempt from objection and appeal rights.
The Independent was unable to obtain comment from Accensi.

2015 April: Yarra Valley Strawberries. Pesticide: Methyl Bromide

Australian growers say strawberries are safe to eat after revelations of pesticide use in the industry

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/outer-east/australian-growers-say-strawberries-are-safe-to-eat-after-revelations-of-pesticide-use-in-the-industry/news-story/b8fef5bd3bf690babbc2f690724039a4

YARRA Valley strawberry farmers have reassured consumers their produce is safe to eat after reports that Australian strawberry plants were being treated with a restricted chemical.

On Monday, theABC reported the Toolangi Certified Strawberry Runner Growers Co-op was using methyl bromide as a pesticide for its runner plants.

The co-op produces nursery plants which are supplied to commercial strawberry growers across Australia.

In 1989, the United Nations agreed to phase out some uses of methyl bromide because of its damaging effects to the ozone layer.

Under a UN exemption, runner growers are allowed to use the chemical in small amounts to control soil-borne diseases and pests. But commercial strawberry growers stopped using methyl bromide more than 10 years ago.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Are you worried about pesticide use on fresh produce? Tell us below

Australian Strawberry Growers Association president Sam Violi said he was highly concerned the report painted commercial growers with the same brush as runner growers.

Mr Violi, who owns Coldstream’s Golden Vale strawberry farm, said he was worried sales of Yarra Valley strawberries would fall just weeks after the industry experienced a spike after the Nanna’s imported frozen berries hepatitis scare.

“So many of our growers are concerned about the public getting the wrong information,” Mr Violi said.

“Our message is that our strawberries are safe to eat.

“Methyl bromide is not sprayed on the fruit. It is only used as a soil fumigant in production and we only get the plants 12 months after that.”

Co-op managing director George Weda said methyl bromide was still being used by runner growers because there were “no effective alternatives”.

Mr Weda said growers were making considerable efforts to reduce the use of the chemical but warned against a total ban until an alternative was found.

He said if methyl bromide was banned, runner growers would not be able to supply commercial growers with healthy plants, which would lead to a decline in yields and encourage imports.

But Environmental Justice Australia chief executive Brendan Sydes said it was a “real failure” that the runner industry had not come up with an alternative.

“We believe that if people knew more about this issue they’d be very concerned that the strawberries they’re consuming are contributing to this significant environmental issue,” Mr Sydes said.

2016 February: National Study into Pesticides and Parkinsons Disease

Research to examine links between most common pesticides and conditions such as Parkinson’s and cancer

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-17/chemicals-pesticide-organophosphates-research-farmer-health/7175340?pfmredir=sm

Updated

Chemical drums for recycling Scientists are examining links between exposure to the most widely used pesticides in Australia and degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease

The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) will test farmers’ exposure to organophosphate pesticides over 12 months and document the effect on the farmers’ nervous systems.

Flinders University toxicologist Associate Professor John Edwards said aggressive cancers, neurological and psychotic conditions had been linked to long-term exposure, but very little research had been done.

What we’re trying to show to farmers is that the level of exposure they may have had today will have an impact on them.

Associate Professor John Edwards, toxicologist

“What we do know is that farmers and pesticide sprayers are at risk of some cancers,” he said.

“We don’t know which pesticides are the contributors to that disease and we don’t know whether it’s the mixture of chemicals or other lifestyle factors that might contribute.

“It’s still quite a speculative argument to say that farmers are more at risk of Parkinson’s due to their exposure to insecticides, and one of the problems there is that the design of the studies that have been done to look for this link are relatively poor.”

The 12-month program is only a first step towards answering these bigger questions but Professor Edwards hopes it will prompt funding and interest for further research.

Attacking the nervous system

Organophosphates attack an insect’s nervous system, causing instant death.

The question is whether they are doing something similar to humans over time.

“We find that it is relatively safe, provided exposure is limited,” Associate Professor Edwards said.

“However, the problem for humans is that it’s an accumulated toxin; that is, the effect accumulates over time with repeated exposure.

“What we’re trying to show to farmers is that the level of exposure they may have had today will have an impact on them.

“Even if they don’t have any symptoms now, they may then accumulate an effect with a subsequent exposure in a week or two or a month later.”

Pesticides banned overseas, but ‘vital’ to Australian agriculture

Organophosphates have been banned in the United States and restricted in the United Kingdom and Europe.

But in Australia the chemicals are regularly used in a list of industries including sheep, beef, grain and dairy.

Associate Professor Edwards said it was hard to imagine agricultural production without them.

“Remember that Australia is very, very buggy,” he said.

“We have probably a greater need for effective insecticides in Australia and especially in agriculture.

“The benefits in this case could outweigh the risk … the trick here is to be able to use them safely.”

Associate Professor Edwards said education was more important than regulation, stressing restrictions or bans could prompt a dangerous black market.

“When chemicals are banned and farmers still want to use them for economic reasons, because it helps their crop, they will find ways around the ban,” he said.

Years after organochloride pesticide DDT [dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane] was banned in Australia, Associate Professor Edwards was called out to a number of chemical spills.

“I remember someone had bought a 44-gallon drum of DDT even though it was banned,” he said.

“It was so old, the drum was rusty and when he got it home it burst open and spilled all over their yard.

“The next day we got a second call because another drum was found, which had done the same thing.”

Research to empower farmers, encourage safe management

Farmers who participate in the research will be tested every month over 12 months, and will receive instant feedback on their exposure levels.

The test involves measuring the level of cholinesterase enzymes, which are needed for the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Organophosphates inhibit cholinesterase, and regular tests will detail the impact of chemical use on a farmers’ enzyme levels.

Associate Professor Edwards said information about the invisible impacts would empower farmers to improve safety standards.

“What it becomes is a matter of farmers recognising the practices that they undertake, which increases their risk,” he said.

“So a part of what we’re doing is also an estimate of their exposure by talking to them about what they’ve been doing during each interval.”

The NCFH is calling on farmers in western Victoria to participate in the research and will set up three localities of interest in the Wimmera and south-west.

2010 June – 2011 March: Wunghnu: Pesticides detected: 2,4-D, Atrazine, Simazine

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Date Town Level Pesticide
24/06/2010 Wunghnu 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid 0.8 μg/L
9/09/2010 Wunghnu Atrazine 1.2 μg/L
9/09/2010 Wunghnu Simazine 1 μg/L
16/09/2010 Wunghnu Simazine 0.8 μg/L
16/09/2010 Wunghnu Atrazine 0.8 μg/L
24/02/2011 Wunghnu 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid 0.8 μg/L
7/03/2011 Wunghnu 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid 0.7 μg/L
7/03/2011 Wunghnu WTP 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid 0.6 μg/L
10/03/2011 Wunghnu 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid 0.5 μg/L
10/03/2011 Wunghnu WTP 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid 0.5 μg/L

2011 September-December: Bonnie Doon (Vic). Pesticide: Atrazine

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Date Town Level Pesticide
20/09/2011 Bonnie Doon RAW 0.1 μg/L Atrazine
4/10/2011 Bonnie Doon 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
4/10/2011 Bonnie Doon RAW 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
4/10/2011 Bonnie Doon WTP 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
11/10/2011 Bonnie Doon 0.3 μg/L Atrazine
11/10/2011 Bonnie Doon RAW 0.3 μg/L Atrazine
11/10/2011 Bonnie Doon WTP 0.3 μg/L Atrazine
25/10/2011 Bonnie Doon 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
25/10/2011 Bonnie Doon WTP 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
25/10/2011 Bonnie Doon WTP 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
22/11/2011 Bonnie Doon RAW 0.1 μg/L Atrazine
6/12/2011 Bonnie Doon 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
6/12/2011 Bonnie Doon RAW 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
6/12/2011 Bonnie Doon WTP 0.2 μg/L Atrazine
20/12/2011 Bonnie Doon RAW 0.1 μg/L Atrazine