This content is current only at the time of printing. This document was printed on 24 June 2021. A current copy is located at http://www.plural-consulting.com/node/76826
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1. What is 1080?
Sodium fluoroacetate, commonly known as 1080, is a vertebrate poison used for the control of feral pests, including rabbits, foxes, wild dogs and pigs. Its use in controlling feral pests plays an important role in the protection of Australian native animals.
Sodium fluoroacetate is in Schedule 7 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons and is a restricted chemical product. It is only available to specialised suppliers and authorised users who are trained to handle it safely.
2. How does it work?
1080 is the ‘salt’ form of the naturally occurring organofluorine compound fluoroacetate. When ingested, fluoroacetate is metabolised into another compound, fluorocitrate, which interferes with the body’s energy metabolism.
Because 1080 needs to be ingested, absorbed and then converted into fluorocitrate to become toxic, there is a delay between the ingestion of 1080 and signs of toxicity. In mammals, this delay can be between 30 minutes and 20 hours, depending on a number of factors; however signs of poisoning commonly occur after about 30 minutes following ingestion. The initial signs of poisoning include vomiting, anxiety and shaking, and the poisoning can progress to death.
1080 is applied to food materials such as carrot pieces, oats, meat or offal. These poisoned baits are distributed in the habitats of the feral pests to be controlled.
The decision to use 1080 in a particular area rests with the local land management authority. The illegal or intentional misuse of these products is a matter for the jurisdiction where the conduct has occurred. Information about the state and territory authorities responsible for the control of use of registered chemical products can be found on the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) website.
Use patterns for 1080 vary across Australia, and are tailored to the pest and the ecosystem in which 1080 is used. 1080 is one of a suite of tools available to land management authorities to control feral pests.
The use of 1080 in Australia is regulated by the APVMA up to the point of retail sale. Supply of 1080 products is strictly regulated, and clear guidelines are provided to govern its use in all states and territories.
The following state and territory government agencies are responsible for regulating the use of 1080:
- New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
- Agriculture Victoria
- Queensland Health
- Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
- South Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regions
- Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
- Australian Capital Territory Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate
- Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
4. The role of the APVMA
Before a chemical product like 1080 can be sold or manufactured in Australia, it must first undergo scientific assessment by the APVMA to check its safety and whether it works as expected and claimed by the manufacturer. These checks are designed to protect the health and safety of people, animals and the environment. If a product meets the legislative criteria for safety and efficacy, it is registered for use in Australia.
Chemical reviews can be initiated when new scientific evidence indicates a previously unknown risk. The APVMA chemical review of 1080 in 2008 resulted in new conditions imposed on 1080 products and updates to product labels to ensure they met safety and efficacy criteria. Further information is available in the final regulatory decision report which can be accessed on our website.
5. Further information for users
Users should refer to the guidelines provided by the states and territories to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements and reduce potential harm to off-target species.
6. Advice for pet owners
If you suspect your pet has ingested 1080, you should consult your veterinarian immediately and report the incident to the relevant state or territory authority.