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Major incident of contamination of cattle by chlorfluazuron
in Australia in the 1990s.
No accessible toxicological information accessible on the
November 26, 2002 - European Commission: Chlorfluazuron
is one of 320 pesticides to be withdrawn in July 2003. "Some
320 substances used in plant protection products (PPPs)
- including insecticides, fungicides and herbicides - are
to be withdrawn from the market by 25 July 2003 as part
of the European CommissionÍs new approach to the evaluation
of active substances in plant protection products. This
aims to improve safeguards to ensure that all such products
in use are safe for the environment and human health.
(click on for all fluorinated pesticides)
September 1997. Chlorfluazuron (CFZ) residues
........In the June 1997 issue of
this bulletin, attention was drawn to a class action by New South
Wales and Queensland graziers against the chemical company
ICI and the governments of both these States. The case
involved a massive compensation claim over the contamination of
cattle and meat by CFZ which was widely used in aerial spraying
to control insects in cotton crops. Cotton trash was fed to beef
cattle as a drought food supplement in the early 1990s.
June, the Federal Court found that ICI had breached its duty of
care to graziers who used the feed; to abattoir owners who unwittingly
purchased contaminated cattle; to meat processors and exporters
who owned meat that was contaminated; and to feedlot owners who
incurred expense in holding contaminated cattle in detention.
........The presiding judge found
that ICI had failed to undertake the full
environmental field studies recommended by specialist scientists.
This occurred in spite of numerous expressions of concern about
the environmental hazards of CFZ by ICI scientists in the United
Kingdom over a period of four years. 'ICI
did not know the problems associated with CFZ because, and only
because, it did not take the usual and obvious steps to find them
out,' concluded the judge.
........The judge ruled that the
State governments had not been negligent and could not be held
liable for the negligence of officers who had been involved in
recommending feeding cotton waste to cattle. 'It is not shown
that any officer knew, or ought to have known, that the feeding
of cotton trash might lead to a significant contamination problem,'
said the judge.
of the Technical Committee on Agricultural Chemicals were found
to have acted negligently in their consideration of ICI's application
for clearance to use CFZ.
........However the agreement to
grant clearances was a policy decision and as such the Committee
was granted immunity irrespective of its actions or inactions.
........The judge said the story
was about bureaucracies: one in the private
sector seeking to generate profits from a new product and the
other a public network established to guard against harm from
agricultural chemicals. Each had failed because well qualified
people had examined details without considering the whole picture.
........The damages to be awarded
have yet to be determined by the Federal Court.
Reference: September 1997. Food Safey &
Hygine. A bulletin for the Australian Food Industry. September
1997. Food Science Australia.
1997: Farmers seek compensation over chemical residue in meat
and eighty cattle producers from northern New South Wales and
western Queensland have launched a class action to seek millions
of dollars compensation in the Federal Court from chemical company
ICI and the NSW and Queensland governments. The case involves
contamination of cattle and meat by the chemical chlorafluazuron
(CFZ) which was widely used in aerial spraying to control insects
in cotton crops between 1989 and 1994.
The cattle owners fed their animals with cotton trash and cotton
seed remnants during the prolonged drought early in this decade.
The detection of CFZ residues in meat being processed at a plant
in northern NSW in October 1994 resulted in the immediate quarantine
of about 3,000 beef farms and the rejection of beef exports by
Japan and the United States. Some properties where CFZ contaminated
feed was never used could still have been affected by spray drift
following the aerial application of CFZ it was claimed in the
Legal Counsel for the cattle producers said that CFZ was not registered
for use in any other country at the time. Hence the finding of
any CFZ residue in exported meat would lead to rejection. The
plaintiffs are alleging common law negligence by ICI in failing
to carry out appropriate testing to establish an appropriate withholding
period and to provide adequate warning of risks associated with
use of the chemical. The plaintiffs further allege negligence
on the part of the NSW Department of Agriculture and the Queensland
Department of Primary Industries in allowing the use of CFZ. Counsel
claimed that both State Departments were at the time represented
on the Technical Committee for Agricultural Chemicals (TCAC) and
on the body that replaced it, the Australian Agricultural and
Veterinary Chemicals Committee. The TCAC had cleared CFZ for aerial
application to cotton at the same time the State Departments were
recommending the use of cotton trash for feed.
Food Safety and Hygiene. A bulletin for the Australian Food Industry
20, 1996 - Cotton InsecticideContaminates Calves
Newborn calves in Australia are still being contaminated with
hazardous levels of the insecticide Helix (chlorfluazuron), two
years after cattle were fed cotton trash containing residues of
After finding high levels of Helix in the cattle, several countries
suspended beef imports from Australia. Government inspectors believe
that the pesticide is being passed to calves through suckling.
Due to a drought in 1994, many Australian farmers were forced
to feed cattle alternative feeds, which in some cases included
cotton trash containing chlorfluazuron residues.
National Toxics Network, an Australian public interest
group, states that Helix was given special government approval
for use on cotton despite being provisionally
registered due to concerns about its persistence in the environment.
Recent research by the Meat Research Corporation
(Australia) found that Helix residues may never disappear from
older cattle, and that farmers may be able to sell contaminated
cattle only for pet food.
In 1995, cattle farmers filed a class action suit against
the Australian government and Crop Care Australasia, the company
that marketed Helix in Australia. The suit seeks compensation
for losses in beef sales resulting from the initial pesticide
contamination, and was filed before anyone knew that losses would
continue in the next generation of cattle. The suit, which represents
approximately 460 cattle farmers, alleges that chlorfluazuron
was registered without adequate testing. Crop Care Australasia
announced last year that it was withdrawing the pesticide from
the Australian market as an "act of good faith."
Farmers in New South Wales and Queensland may file a similar lawsuit
against the Australian government due to cattle contamination
by the organochlorine insecticide endosulfan. The farmers' lawyer
charged that the Australian National Registration Authority labeled
endosulfan inadequately. Approximately 23 farms were placed in
quarantine after inspectors discovered the insecticide in beef
cattle at levels above the maximum residue limit, possibly due
to spray drift contaminating grazing land. In Australia, endosulfan
is used primarily on cotton. Endosulfan has been targeted for
global phaseout by pesticide reform groups worldwide due to its
extreme toxicity (see PANUPS June 16, 1995 and June 16, 1994).
It has also been identified as an endocrine disruptor...
Agrow, February 16, 1996; January 19, 1996; February 3, 1995;
National Toxics Network Sentinel, February 1995.
poisoning for profit -
By Chris Spindler
SYDNEY -- In an all-too-rare finding of blame, the giant chemical
company ICI is facing a pay-out of hundreds of millions of dollars
in compensation to graziers and meat processors. ICI distributed
the insecticide Helix, which was used on cotton crops of northern
NSW and southern Queensland. Cotton waste fed to cattle during
the 1990s drought led to their contamination.
Helix, or CFZ (chlorfluazuron), was voluntarily banned from use
in the cotton industry in 1995.
On June 24, Justice Wilcox of the Federal Court found that ICI
had failed in its duty of care to inform people of the insecticide
in the cotton fodder. In 1994, 60,000 tonnes of meat was recalled
and more than 4700 cattle were put into quarantine.
Around 2500 processors and producers were affected, with losses
ranging from $20,000 to $26 million. Some claimants have died
and others gone broke over the two years it took to sue ICI.
The court found that ICI had demonstrated "wilful blindness"
in failing to carry out appropriate research on the fodder or
appropriate field research into Helix.
Justice Wilcox stated, "A contributing factor to the failures
was that, in its haste for profits, the private organisation cut
research corners and inexcusably suppressed information that might
have alerted the dozing public watchdog".
Wilcox failed to mention government cutbacks and privatisation
of quarantine and food inspection services.
Similar legal actions are under way against other pesticide companies
over the use of the pesticide Endosulphan on lucerne, vegetables
In Melbourne on June 25, Greenpeace protested outside a special
ICI shareholders' meeting. Greenpeace toxics campaigner Matt Ruchel
entered the meeting with a secret tape-recording of a message
calling on shareholders to "make their money talk to protect
Greenpeace wants ICI to clean up its mess in Homebush Bay in Sydney
and other sites around Australia, such as ground water contamination
and hazardous waste stockpiles at ICI Botany.
On June 24 in Sydney, Greenpeace activists planted two-metre high
warning signs in waters in front of ICI's plant on Homebush Bay
to highlight contamination by heavy metals and phthalates produced
by ICI on the site.
Greenpeace is calling on ICI to commit funds to a multimillion
dollar joint project between the NSW state government and the
giant investment bank Bankers Trust to clean up Homebush Bay,
one of the world's most polluted waterways.
• See aso Overview
of economic fallout from the contamination of Australian meat;
by Tony St. Clair of the Federated Farmers of NZ.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the rate of decline of chlorfluazuron
(CFZ) concentration in the fat of cattle.
DESIGN: A field depletion study.
ANIMALS: Fifteen steers that had become
contaminated with CFZ through eating cotton trash or cotton leaf
pellets derived from CFZ-treated cotton crops.
PROCEDURE: Fat samples were collected from the cattle at about
3 week intervals according to a schedule where each animal was
sampled on four occasions up to 340 days after removal from the
contaminated feed source.
RESULTS: When the effects of dilution are
removed CFZ concentrations were found to decline slowly for about
200 days. Depletion was minimal between 200 and 340 days.
CONCLUSION: According to this trial, CFZ-contaminated, nonlactating
cattle which have finished growing will remain contaminated. Field
experience has not supported this conclusion.
Ref: Aust Vet J. 1998 Jan;76(1):54-6.
of decline of chlorfluazuron concentration in the fat of cattle.
Spence SA, Murison R, Harden S. NSW Agriculture, Wollongbar Agricultural
on for all fluorinated pesticides)
71422- 67-8] was evaluated for reproductive toxicity. The
test material was administered at dietary concentrations of 0,
2000, or 10000 ppm to 11-13 male and 11-13 female CRJ:CD rats
per test group for 13 weeks before pairing and through 2 cycles
of mating, gestation, and lactation periods. Body weights of treated
animals were comparable to controls. A statistically
significant increase of liver/body weight ratio was seen in treated
females. A slight reduction was observed in parameters
of reproductive performance in the second (F1B) mating, including
mating index, fecundity index, and male
and female fertility index. A statistically
significant increase in fetal liver/body weight ratio was observed
at all treatment levels. No other parameters were examined.
Ref: 1992 - INITIAL SUBMISSION: IKI-7899: PRELIMINARY REPRODUCTION
STUDY IN RATS BY DIETARY ADMINISTRATION (FINAL REPORT) WITH COVER
LETTER DATED 03-27-92; from ISHIHARA SANGYO KAISHA LTD. Report
available from The National Technical Information Service; Order
No. NTIS/OTS0535939. EPA/OTS; Doc #88-920001555. [From Toxline
on for all fluorinated pesticides)
This study was conducted to investigate the toxicity of
aldicarb, cypermethrin, profenofos, chlorfluazuron,
atrazine, and metalaxyl toward mature Aporrectodea caliginosa
earthworms. The effects of the LC(25) values of these pesticides
on the growth rate in relation to glucose, soluble protein,
and activities of glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT),
glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (GPT), acid phosphatase (AcP),
and alkaline phosphatase (AIP) were also studied. The results
showed that aldicarb was the most toxic of the tested pesticides,
followed in order by cypermethrin, profenofos, chlorfluazuron,
atrazine, and metalaxyl. A reduction
in growth rate was observed in all pesticide-treated worms,
which was accompanied by a decrease in soluble protein and
an increase in transaminases and phosphatases. Relationships
between growth rate, protein content, transaminases, and
phosphatases provided strong evidence for the involvement
of pesticidal contamination in the biochemical changes in
earthworms, which can be used as a bioindicator of soil
contamination by pesticides. Copyright 2003 Wiley
Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 18: 338-346, 2003.
toxicity and biochemical responses of certain pesticides
to the mature earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa under laboratory
Mosleh YY, Ismail SM, Ahmed MT, Ahmed