Adverse Effects
CAS No.71422-67-8

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Activity: Insecticide

Adverse Effects:

• Major incident of contamination of cattle by chlorfluazuron in Australia in the 1990s.

* No accessible toxicological information accessible on the web.

• November 26, 2002 - European Commission: Chlorfluazuron is one of 320 pesticides to be withdrawn in July 2003.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320 substances used in plant protection products (PPPs) - including insecticides, fungicides and herbicides - are to be withdrawn from the market by 25 July 2003 as part of the European CommissionÍs new approach to the evaluation of active substances in plant protection products.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.

Contamination (click on for all fluorinated pesticides)

September 1997. Chlorfluazuron (CFZ) residues in meat.
........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.
........In 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.
........Officers 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.

June 1997: Farmers seek compensation over chemical residue in meat
Four hundred 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 Federal Court.
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.
Ref: Food Safety and Hygiene. A bulletin for the Australian Food Industry June 1997.

May 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 the pesticide
. 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...
Sources: Agrow, February 16, 1996; January 19, 1996; February 3, 1995; National Toxics Network Sentinel, February 1995.

ICI: 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 and cereals.
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 the environment".
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.
Rate of decline of chlorfluazuron concentration in the fat of cattle. Spence SA, Murison R, Harden S. NSW Agriculture, Wollongbar Agricultural Institute.

Liver (click on for all fluorinated pesticides)

Abstract: [Chlorfluazuron, 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 at Toxnet]

Environmental (click on for all fluorinated pesticides)

Abstract: 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.
Ref: Environ Toxicol. 2003 Oct;18(5):338-46.
Comparative toxicity and biochemical responses of certain pesticides to the mature earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa under laboratory conditions.
Mosleh YY, Ismail SM, Ahmed MT, Ahmed YM.

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