Registered vs Unregistered Pesticides

Registration of Pesticides | APVMA | AgVet Legislation

I receive a lot of technical enquiries from the public about how to control timber decay. Mostly, it’s from someone have needs to repair an issue they have or wish to prevent it from occurring. There is one thing that crops up occasionally which is a concern; they sometimes mention they’ve heard of, or been recommended a product by someone. When asked the products name, I’ve never heard of it. A quick check on the APVMA’s Pubcris database often shows that it’s not a registered product! All products that are designed to kill another living thing are classified as pesticides under the AgVet legislation. So why is the registration of pesticides so important?

APVMA approval number indicates the timber preservative product is registered for use

The APVMA approval number indicates the product product is registered for use. It is located on the back panel of the label.

In Australia and indeed most countries, these products fall under the agricultural banner. As timber preservatives are designed to kill living organisms, the Federal Government has passed legislation that requires all such products to be registered. This is to ensure that:

  • its works as stated in the real world
  • its end user safety is evaluated:
    – does it need to be a restricted use product?
    – is it safe for general use?
  • its environmental impact is minimal
  • are there any special restrictions required

This registration process is an expensive proposition. Multiple trials are required to ensure that the above points are all met, meaning registration costs for a single product can be significant.

If a product that’s being assessed is so hazardous or persistent that it doesn’t meet the requirements, then registration is not granted. In addition the regulatory body, the APVMA, periodically review products or active ingredients. These reviews are thorough scientific based risk assessments and decide the chemicals suitability for use. In one such example, a review was conducted in 2005 for CCA based primary wood preservatives. The APVMA determined that the Arsenic and Chromium present in CCA, posed too high a risk to the public. So CCA was banned for use in domestic situations, though it can still be used in restricted “commercial” situations.

As you can see, the AgVet legislation sets a framework to guarantee the public’s interest with the use of timber preservatives and other pesticides.

So here’s the thing, the wood preservation industry in Australia is relatively small. We are all aware of each other. All of Preschem’s key competitors such as TimTech, ITLS-TWA,¬† Osmose and Lonza are reputable. You are guaranteed wood preservative products from these companies are registered with the APVMA.

If you use a non registered product, you run the risk that either the product doesn’t work as stated or is actually a significant health or environmental risk. There’s no independent scientific assessment to verify these crucial points.

Do yourself and the environment a favor, check the label and buy it only if it’s registered.