Crop dusting. A plane sprays chemicals across farm areas. What sort of chemicals?

UPDATED Monday 23 August 2010: Banned US neurotoxic insecticides Diazinon, Chlorpyrifos and others are about to be unleashed over South Australia to protect crops from locust with a possible assistance scheme for farmers who choose to use these chemicals.

Concerns are that farmers and pastoralists may not have evaluated the impact on public health, that using toxins previously banned in other countries, may have on their own health, that of their families and the wider communities including ecological impacts.

The South Australian LGA (Local Government Association) Minutes APPENDIX 1 – Item 5.4 – Annual General Meeting 4th June, 2010. Association Procedural and Policy Decisions, states:

“PIRSA Biosecurity has a Plague Locust Control Plan, which is part of the PIRSA emergency management document set.

Procurement of necessary aircraft and a range of chemicals (Fipronil, Fenitrothion and Metarhizium) are currently underway. Farmers have a range of registered chemicals for locust use including Carbaryl, Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, Fenitrothion, Fipronil and Maldison.

• Direct assistance to farmers in relation to chemical costs is still to be worked through to ensure good governance of expenditure and correct use of chemicals. The Reference Groups will assist in developing the detail of any assistance scheme”.

The US Pesticide Action Network (PANNA) report in 2002 says that banned insecticides, diazinon is particularly hazardous to children. Where studies have been done, evidence from laboratory animals shows that early-life exposure to low doses of this class of chemicals reduces development of neural connections……  High exposures thus remain likely for those living in or near agricultural communities.

Air monitoring of these two pesticides demonstrates that people living near application sites are exposed to levels that exceed acute RELs (Reference Exposure Levels)  for both adults and children. For diazinon, the peak measured concentration 72 feet from the field boundary was 16 times higher than the adult acute REL and 39 times higher than the acute child REL.

Hundreds of thousands….at risk from pesticide drift…Some pesticides in use today are especially dangerous to wildlife.  Two insecticides, carbofuran and diazinon, were involved in 55% of all bird incidents.

The PANNA report of 2002 further says, “Analysis of pesticide air monitoring results and pesticide use data indicates that hundreds of thousands of Californians live where they are at risk of ill health from pesticide drift…..diazinon and chlorpyrifos are being phased out altogether because of the unacceptable risks posed to children from their use.

Due to their occupations, farmers and farmworkers are the most highly exposed groups, but urban and suburban residents are also vulnerable.

In urban areas….. Those who live in suburbs on the agricultural-urban interface or who live or work in agricultural communities face high exposures from agricultural pesticide applications.

Children who live or attend school near farmland are particularly vulnerable.

Organic farmers suffer economic loss when they cannot market their crops as “certified organic” due to pesticide drift from neighboring farms. Airborne pesticides also impact ecosystems, both adjacent to and quite distant from application sites”.

Repeated exposure to low doses may cause muscle twitching, anorexia, malaise, depression, irritability, confusion, anxiety, and dizziness. Damage to the pancreas has developed in some people and in laboratory animals exposed to large amounts of diazinon.

PANNA says: “..Chlorpyrifos and diazinon (containing the carbamate carbaryl) were recently banned by the U.S. EPA and are being phased out altogether because of the  unacceptable risks posed to children from their use. The bad news is that the process is slow…and unfortunately the risks to agricultural workers are often simply overlooked. EPA [USA] has also not followed the letter of the law in its work, failing to fully assess the risks from all routes of exposure and failing to include additional safety factors for children that are required under the 1996 law.

Diazinon is a mutagen. Long-term exposure may damage the developing fetus or cause birth defects, nerve damage and/or liver damage. It has been shown to cause birth defects in chick embryos (parrot beak, abnormal feathering, and development of disproportionately small limbs).  A two generation reproductive study in rats showed that diazinon exposure affected both mothers and offspring. Diazinon caused increased numbers of still births and neonatal deaths in beagle dogs and birth defects in pigs.

In 1999, the Health Effects Division, Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, EPA, reported that “diazinon is one of the leading causes of acute reactions to insecticide use reported as poisoning incidents in the U.S.”

The MLA (Meat and Lamb Association) has released it’s concerns as to the impact of toxic chemicals on the agricultural industry in Australia, saying:

“As farmers across Australia select their weapons of choice against the plague locust, Meat and Livestock Australia is urging them to consider the potential impacts on our export markets, as many of the chemical control options on offer against locusts will require grain and livestock producers to adhere to strict withholding periods (WHPs) and export intervals (EIs).

During 2008–2009 Australia exported 67 per cent of its total beef production, with an export value of $5 billon and 62% of its sheepmeat production, with an export value of $1.46 billion.

With this in mind, it is important to remain focussed on the bigger picture as locusts start to emerge according to MLA’s Manager Production Integrity and Assurance, Patrick Hutchinson.

“It is critical to carry out best-practice management to protect our agricultural industries as a whole,” he said. According to Mr Hutchinson this extends past chemical choice and encompasses sound record keeping.

“In particular grain and livestock producers need to ensure they are vigilant in filling out their vendor declaration forms when selling any feed grain or oilseeds, fodder or moving or selling livestock that may have been affected by locust control chemicals.”

Livestock can become exposed to chemicals by:
• Direct overspraying of livestock.
• Grazing pastures or crops that have been sprayed or onto which spray has drifted.
• Consuming fodder (hay, silage or grain) that has been sprayed directly or exposed to spray drift.

Regardless of the choice of chemical Mr Hutchinson urges farmers to always check and observe the relevant withholding periods (WHPs) and export intervals (EIs), to keep records of any spraying activities and fill in appropriate vendor declarations correctly when selling stock or supplying feed to other producers.

For further information on the management of crops, pastures and livestock affected by locust control programs visit For more information on vendor declarations or to download livestock feed and fodder declarations go to

Possibly related posts

CPRT: Why do you mention animal cruelty in relation to the NRM?
NIGEL: “They [NRM] endorse 1080 poisoning of wild dogs and dingoes……
My own research reveals these products are banned elsewhere.  “Fipronil was used to control African locusts in Madagascar between 1996 and 1999, the mortality of many bird and mammal species increased, leading the government to withdraw authorisation of its use against locust swarms in February 1999…

12 replies »

  1. Theres probably no point asking the MLA why they didnt mention humans in their concerns about poisons being sprayed and drifting into populated areas. The politicians will conveniently expect an applause for installing an MRI machine in some inconvenient location for the victims of this disgusting enslaught up the track as is the case in this state at the moment.

    How many of us remember watching the crop dusters spray this garbage all over us as kids in the name of economic prosperity? How many of the current generation are degenerating through suspiciously related outcomes?

  2. That’s right Gerard, how long are our memories and why are our state agencies (NRM, PIRSA, EPA, etc) on the one hand saying they are about improving the state and environment and on the other unleashing poisons all over the place – why don’t they be more honest and just line us all up and shoot us! – would be faster, cheaper, and more humane!!!

  3. @ N, Brugman: In most remote areas where things are out of sight and out of mind, organisation like NRM and EPA blend in with Primary Industry..
    Let’s hope the Aussie people have sent a clear message to these agencies hocking off the natural resources with no real environmental authority in attendance, that by having a hung parliament the people are no longer prepared to be led to the gas chamber, which is where country folk have been heading with environmental disasters occuring in this country since the industrial revoluntion began.

    I’m curious as to the particular type of “agent orange” these snipers might be using on our kids. If anyone knows we’ll do our own research on it? If locusts will moving across the country then so will these cancerous poisons. Where’s the EPA?

  4. Dave,
    I did the research and its pretty ugly, and I would concur with Brugman that the Australian population has for a long time been subject to a planned and slow ( let them consume first) death, and Paul Langley ( ex forces ) elaborated on this in the pre-planned testing modalities of radiation zones prior to the SA Nuclear Tests.

    If you live in SA whether you like it or not you are a human guinea pig and some lab in the US is probably waiting for the results – the best products are probably the ones that kill you the most slowly as then the Health System gets a bite out of your apple as does the business sector who want you to live long enough at least to meet your bottom line, sorry…their bottom line!!!

    I volunteered a while back with the NRM hoping to address this stuff in the Northern Flinders and soon discovered they were one of the principle SA INC merchants of the poisons of terror, and despite the glossy PR and the inch thick 2010 plan they don’t look like the type of animal that is capable of changing their spots.

    That organisation and others in the state ( and others) endorse animal cruelty and the horrific use of poisons banned elsewhere so how can we differentiate our experience as humans from the situation of the jews in Germany being lined up either for extermination or experimentation…they wear they same mark and appear to be the same beast.

    Luckily Outback South Australians ( indigenous and trouble maker) are waking up, but it will be hard to find or sue these governments or individual politicians after they have used their massive bank account to escape to some tropical island – hopefully they will endure a more horrible kharma than the fictional characters in the US Production of ‘LOST’, these people are certainly that.

    I did send further information on all this poison to the editors of this paper and am waiting for a response?…..but if the staff are too busy then you can do the research for yourself on the US banned substance Diazinon (2000) which we are about to be fed breakfast now or in spring…personally I would rather put a locust on the BBQ then be led to this toxic gas chamber!!!

    My advise to Australians this Spring….leave the country for at least 6 months and stock up on european tinned food and you may survive without ending up in the cancer ward of these lovely public death beds we call hospitals.



  5. Wouldnt it better for all Australians if we didnt have to deal with the possible problem of the wind changing during a crop dusting (or bombing) experiment?

    This might not just affect the irrelevent regional people and the aborigines, but some us in larger towns? I have to agree these people are beauties. This old stockpile of redundant poisons must be going cheap!!

    How can diazinon affect my health?
    Most diazinon that is ingested will enter the bloodstream….

    Most cases of unintentional diazinon poisoning in people have resulted from short exposures to very high concentrations of the material. These very high levels have occasionally resulted in death.

    Diazinon affects mainly the nervous system regardless of the route of exposure. Some mild signs and symptoms of poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, feelings of anxiety, constriction of the pupils, and blurred vision. More severe symptoms include nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, slow pulse, diarrhea, pinpoint pupils, difficulty breathing, coma, and possibly death. These effects also occur in animals exposed to high doses of diazinon.

    How can diazinon affect children?
    Diazinon affects the nervous system in children and adults alike. Therefore, children exposed to diazinon will likely experience the same signs and symptoms observed in exposed adults (see above). However, we do not know whether children are more susceptible than adults to diazinon toxicity. In animals, exposure levels that affected the health of the pregnant mothers caused developmental effects in their newborn babies.

    Content source: Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry

  6. We were having this debacle a month ago over here. Have transferred some material from this website. Lotsa concerned citizens.

    Since the election the Greens will surely have some input into this before the current mob defoliate the population and our ecosystems entirely.

    Theres a list of health damages these nerve agents create in humans at the bottom.

    From: eumong ® 28/07/2010 10:29:28 PM
    Subject: $43 Million Victorian Foodbowl Poisoning Campaign post id: 468115

    The Victorian Government plans to poison the state on a scale never seen before to attempt to eliminate Native Locusts. The Agriculture minister has declared Native Locusts as “Exotic Pests”, which means it is now illegal to have locusts on your land. All this is happenning because computer modelling has determined that Locusts will cause losses in Agricultural production, but no examples of historical losses are quoted. These are a few of the outrageous things happenning or planned for this spring:

    1. The state government plans to spray 600,000 hectares of National Park and Nature reserve with pesticides.

    2. The “Exotic Pest” declaration by the Agriculture minister means that the government can enter private land and apply pesticides without the landowners consent. Landholders then must pay for this poisoning. Landholders have no right to refuse to allow spraying because Native Locusts are now considered a “bio-security risk”.

    3. There are plans to allow private individuals to spray toxic pesticides on public roads without any approval required.

    4. Thousands of Litres of toxic pesticides will be paid for and supplied by the government. Some of these pesticides have been banned in many other countries in the world. Here is some information on known side effects of a few of the pesticides listed for Locust control on the DPI website.

    Source: CSE India

    Malathion and its oxygen analog malaoxon are both quite carcinogenic and have been linked with increased incidence of leukemia in mammals. Chronic health effects include: suspected mutagen and teratogen, delayed neurotoxin, allergic reactions, behavioral effects, ulcers, eye damage, abnormal brain waves and immuno-suppression

    May cause mutations (genetic changes) in living cells. It is a possible teratogen & may damage the kidneys and nervous systems. Within the stomach produces N-nitrocarbaryl, a well known carcinogen, Non-hodkins Lymphoma, brain cancer.

    Human epidemiological evidence indicates fenitrothion causes eye effects such as retinal degeneration and myopia. Chronic exposure to Fenitrothion can cause frontal lobe impairment. Organo-phosphates are suspected of causing neurologic deficits.

    Chronic neurobehavioral effects like persistent headaches, blurred vision, unusual fatigue or muscle weakness, and problems with mental function including memory, concentration, depression, and irritability.

    Linked with Non Hodkins lymphoma

  7. Did you say Greens?

    I wrote extensively to the ‘Greens’ party (VIC) about the locust toxins planned for use in Brumby’s ‘War on Locusts’ way back in June- anyone want a copy?

    There was no response…of course!…the Greens are about as genuine as the hoax organic locust control alternative Greenguard.

    When people wake up to the fact that the Greens represent the apathetic egos of fat middle class guilt then we can move on to the next step of actually doing something.

    Please don’t fall for the trick that the Greens or Greenguard are going to save the planet…its up to YOU folks :)


  8. Whats confusing me is that the Australian government is testing for levels of diazion in food product based on its own measure, while the rest of the world has declared it unsafe and banned it? Does this mean that our government is deliberately poisoning us and if they are WHY???

    Diazinon Testing (2007 – 2008) – Technical Report
    Testing was undertaken in 2007-2008 as part of the APVMA’s Quality Assurance
    Scheme for Agricultural Chemicals (AgQA Scheme). This testing was conducted to
    establish the quality of the active constituents diazinon incorporated into formulated
    agricultrual product, in particular the concentration of the toxicologically significant
    impurity (O,S-TEPP and S,S-TEPP).
    The results from APVMA testing are compared with the records held by registrant
    pursuant to the conditions of registration for each product. This comparison allows
    the APVMA to establish the validity of provided active constituent batch analysis
    O,S-TEPP and S,S-TEPP Levels

    Click to access diazinon_technical_report.pdf

  9. Agreed Andrea and other contributors, looking at the internet resources the agricultural departments are in contradiction of published scientific information.

    The approach of the Australian governments to the plague is covered in an informative US site : Cheap, US banned, neurotoxic, insecticides Diazinon & Chlorpyrifos will be used in Australia to fight the locust plague. How harmful are these chemicals?

    I quote some of the research gathered by Helen Barrat in the article because it seems to raise serious questions about the concept of ‘withholding periods’ – Fiprinol is used in grain storage and has a half life of 3 – 7 months so escapes the logic of these periods meaning grain and the livestock and humans that consume it is unsafe regardless.

    “Fipronil is a relatively new insecticide belonging to the phenyl pyrazole class of pesticides. It acts as an insecticide with contact and stomach action by disrupting the insect central nervous system via the aminobutryic acid (GABA) regulated chloride channel. While it takes 7–10 days to kill the insect, it does possess good residual effect.”

    “Fipronil degrades slowly in water and sediment; its half-life on treated vegetation has been determined at 3–7 months, depending on the substrate and the habitat where it is applied (Belayneh, 1998). When fipronil was used to control African locusts in Madagascar between 1996 and 1999, the mortality of many bird and mammal species increased, leading the government to withdraw authorisation for its use against locust swarms in February 1999 (PLAAG, 1999).”

    Now for the cruncher and perhaps the raison d’etre of the concerns of the meat industry lobby the subject of this story. Is this approach a veiled form of economic sabotage to help bring to fruition the aspirations of the Free Trade Agreement? Whether this thesis is right or wrong the implications will be the same and no doubt assist the pushers of that agreement to further erode Australian markets and open up the board for more imports of foreign product, not sound economics at all but who ever said the FTO was based on this premise after all?

    So even if the plague ( a result of open plain mono culture farming – a point forgotten so far) was not occuring, the lesson that has come to light is that we in Australia are not protected by the chemical bans which have been put in place elsewhere in the world, and even though our food is about to become very unsafe, it already was, and thats a pretty well validated conclusion which should have many Australians rushing off to the organic food shops to access basically safe food, free from the residues of these banned chemicals.

  10. Looks like you may be spot on Graham!!

    Economic sabotage via the releasing of poison on the people and environment – how sinister!

    Just read this in todays Age:

    Craig Emerson joins US drive for free trade in bid to revive Doha
    Sid Maher From: The Australian September 23, 2010 12:00AM

    AUSTRALIA will be at the forefront of a US-inspired drive to kick-start stalled world trade talks by using an alliance of trans-Pacific nations.

    New Trade Minister Craig Emerson said he emerged from top-level meetings with Obama administration officials in Washington DC this week “genuinely encouraged” by the US government’s will to revitalise a major round of trade liberalisation.

    If successful, the move could greatly lower barriers to exports of manufactured goods and services, as well as agricultural products, and provide a boon to Australian exporters.

    The move is partly driven by domestic US political considerations as the Obama administration, which is facing congressional elections in November, looks to boost its economy and combat high unemployment by driving exports.

  11. Yes, on the mark Graham, the Free Trade Agreement is about as poison as it gets and the Free Trade Crap has been spun out by the media again just at the time no thinking purchaser of grain from OZ would consider buying the chemical cocktail of grains on offer…this is the US and its pathetic OZ junior partner peddling junk economics and poison products when the worlds nations and communities should indeed be pursuing protectionism of their food and their economies and so it begs the question of why our trade Minister is using pathetic and worn out rhetoric to defend a US Plan which makes no economic sense and which is all attuned to a global new world order based on petro-chemical stupidity farming which ignores the ridiculous economics and health risk associated with it…this announcement by the way is more evidence that Jillian Gillard is as big a puppet as Rudd and they simply have used her feminine voting appeal to continue the charade of democracy in this country – both sides pursue wars on innocent people and both sides pursue agricultural policies which both poison and remove food security from the people – the game is up – how dumb are we not to realise that any government that sprays poison on the food supply of the nation must be just a little suspect – hell – what are they putting in the water to make us so bloody apathetic and STUPID?

    Heres the last crap news item describing the campaign for Australia to go all the way with Obama on the New World Order agenda of supplying toxic food aplenty to the nations:

    Emerson holds the line on free trade
    Dennis Shanahan, Political Editor From: The Australian October 04, 2010 12:00AM
    TRADE Minister Craig Emerson has declared the Gillard government will not give in to environmental blackmail or bogus green protectionism.

    This is just because Labor is in an alliance with the Greens.

    Facing fears of a double-dip global recession, a growing European deficit crisis, a sluggish US economy and uncertain predictions about China’s growth, Emerson has made it clear Australia must trade out of trouble.

    What’s more, he believes the US understands the need to expand world markets and increase free trade to avoid another global financial crisis, or worse. As a result, Emerson is drawing a line in the sand over threats to free trade through a new push for trade barriers through the guise of environmental protectionism.

    Last year, in the US, Kevin Rudd warned of the first threats to impose trade barriers on the basis of whether economies were taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    The then prime minister reported that France was leading a movement to restrict trade from countries without an carbon emissions trading scheme and warned of potential trade imposts on Australia. He argued that an emissions trading scheme was in Australia’s international trading interest.

    While arguing that a carbon price in Australia would help deter such threats, Emerson made it clear yesterday on Sky TV’s Australian Agenda that he would not brook attempts to raise trade barriers in the name of environmental concerns.

    Emerson rejected any move towards “green protectionism” and vowed to use world trade laws to fight any tendency to rebuild or create trade barriers.

    “We won’t cop governments cloaking protectionism in this sort of green cloak of respectability, where it’s just old protectionism,” Emerson said.

    He is arguing that Australia’s trading reputation and barriers can’t be put at risk by attempts to link trade and green objectives.

    Emerson has vowed to fight to re-inject life into stalled global trade talks with the objective of expanding world markets.

    Labor is negotiating with the Greens on a carbon tax and faces weeks of parliamentary debate dominated by the Greens’ social agenda on same-sex marriage and euthanasia; but Emerson is trying to continue Australia’s long, bipartisan history of leading the free trade agenda.

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