Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dioxin Found in Imported Phenoxy Herbicides in Australia

There has been a monster fuss over dioxin in the phenoxy herbicides used in the 1970s.  Agent Orange, helicopters, defoliation.....Vietnam era one says.........the manufacturers do it better now.

The good ones do.............but with a race to the lowest cost product for the ultra competition which drives the cost issue in agriculture and horticulture in Australia..............guess what?  Imported product has suddenly appeared on the scene with plenty of dioxin present as a by product of the production of technical grade 2,4-D and 2,4,5 -T.  Same  quality control issue as the 1970s, one would suspect.

Phenoxy herbicides are not banned and many do a great job at low rates, and modest cost.  Combination products are widely used - eg 2,4-D and MCPA or dicamba, and often in horticulture and even home garden use as turf herbicides.  2,4-D was probably the first real herbicide and has been used since the 1950s.

But the costs have fallen and there are many manufacturers in China, and some it now seems are really cutting corners.

Yes, Australia has probably not done enough monitoring of ongoing imported products either. 

As is often the case, initial supply is fine - meets specifications etc.  As volume goes up.......sadly, quality plummets!  Or a different lower cost producer replaces the decent producer who is meeting quality requirements and the exporter [ often not the producer] says little.......but quality is going down, but not enough to indicate the product is not doing its job. 

It is the by product that is the problem - dioxin.
Herbicide spraying - Vietnam war era.

It is deadly stuff.............look it up eg wikipedia, plenty of detailed reports on line.  It is VERY NASTY!

It is unclear how widespread the problem is in Australia, but some believe that it is not major, restricted to some importers and formulators using lower cost product to drive their sales into the market.  It might take some time to sort out, but as a guide.........BEWARE if using phenoxy herbicides.  You should be now anyway.

Everyone seems to have thought the dioxin issue was dead and buried.........and with quality technical product from quality manufacturers it broadly had not been an issue for many years.  However, it is back.

It is interesting to also speculate how much poor technical product also went into other Asian countries - Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Cambodia etc where cost is probably an even bigger concern.  They are unlikely to have respected regulators to get on top of this issue.

Is it any wonder many do not trust Chinese product?  Whether agricultural chemical or baby formula, seems immaterial - they are suspect, and one wonders why Chinese want our rural products???

See -


UPDATE - also see this article from later in the week after the blog written.

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