Using chemicals safely and effectively

When registering chemicals, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) evaluates the effectiveness of the chemical and the impacts to human health, crops, animals and the environment.

Where there are increased risks to human health, the environment and trade, additional controls are applied through restrictions on how and where products can be used.

Certain chemical products have been declared restricted chemical products (RCPs) because of the special training and other occupational safety requirements needed for handling or using these chemicals.

To use chemicals responsibly, you must follow the instructions on the registered product label or permit issued by APVMA. It is very important to:

  • use the correct, registered product
  • follow the instructions on the label
  • read the material data safety sheet (MDSS)
  • use the correct equipment to apply the chemicals
  • make sure you have the correct licence and permit, if one is required
  • understand and meet your work health and safety obligations
  • keep accurate records
  • refer to the Agricultural chemical users' manual for information about using agricultural chemicals appropriately and effectively.

Minimising off-target spray drift

Agricultural chemicals may become airborne and drift outside the intended area when sprayed - this should be avoided. Spray drift can damage plants, environment, property and the health of animals and people.

Learn more about minimising the impacts of spray drift and reporting chemical spray drift.

APVMA also has information on assessing and managing spray drift.

Herbicide application techniques

Depending on the species you're trying to control, and other factors, some techniques for applying herbicides to control weeds and vegetative growth are more suitable than others.

Techniques include:

  • foliar spraying
  • basal bark spraying
  • stem injection
  • cut stump
  • cut and swab
  • stem scraper
  • wick applicators.

Learn more about each of these weed application methods.

Pest animal control techniques

To control invasive pests and animals using chemicals, you should choose the most appropriate application method for the situation:

Chemical residues

Agricultural and veterinary chemicals break down after application but some residues do remain on crops or in animals. It is important to follow the withholding period to make sure the residues are not at unacceptable levels. The National Residue Survey monitors chemical residues in food products.

Residue monitoring programs support access to key export markets and confirming Australia's status as a producer of clean food. These programs encourage good agricultural practices, help to identify any potential problems and indicate where corrective action may be required.

Learn more about:

Managing the risks of chemicals and contaminants

You can manage the risk of unacceptable chemical residues by using chemicals according to the instructions on the label or permit.

Biosecurity Queensland, in conjunction with other government agencies, develops and implements monitoring, detection and management programs to further manage the risks posed by chemical residues.

Learn more about monitoring and regulating chemical residues and contaminants.

Biosecurity Queensland also runs veterinary and chemical residue laboratories.

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