Mercury fungicides

In July 1992, the Australian Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Council recommended revoking the clearances for mercury fungicides because of environmental concerns. The main concern lay in the persistence of mercury, which can result in it accumulating to unacceptable concentrations in soils, particularly where heavy and repeated applications are made. Mercury fungicides were used in agriculture to protect seeds and plants from fungal diseases.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA – formerly the NRA) cancelled the registration and associated label approvals for most agricultural products containing mercury in August 1995. The registrations and approvals were cancelled with a 6-month phase-out period. The only exception was the registration of a single liquid fungicide product for use on sugarcane, which was allowed to continue because of the relatively low application rate every 5 to 7 years.

In June 2020, the remaining active constituent approvals containing mercury were voluntarily cancelled at the request of the holder. The remaining product registration was cancelled due to the voluntary cancellation of the active constituent approval, and the holder subsequently voluntarily cancelled the label approvals. Instructions for supply, custody, and use of the cancelled active constituents, product registration, and associated labels are contained in the Gazette notices.

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