Find out more about the use and control of 1080 and our role in the regulation of 1080.
What is 1080?
Its chemical name is sodium fluoroacetate and it’s used to control pest species, like possums, rats, and stoats. It is a man-made reproduction of a naturally occurring toxin. Some plants contain the toxin naturally, particularly in Western Australia, South America, and South Africa. In New Zealand, it was first used for pest control in 1964. 1080 is poisonous to all mammals, including humans.
1080 is a vital part of the work to control Tuberculosis (TB) in cows and deer – making it crucial to our agricultural industries. 1080 is also a critical tool for the pest control needed to protect New Zealand's native plants and wildlife.
1080 is currently needed by land managers to protect large areas of forest and native wildlife from possums, rats, stoats, and the diseases they spread.
New Zealand’s biodiversity reflects the essence of New Zealand and is a key contributor to our national economy. 1080 plays an important role in helping protect this biodiversity by helping reduce the impact of introduced mammals on our natural environment.
Control of 1080
Use of 1080 is strictly controlled in New Zealand under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) 1996.
You can search our databases for other documents, records, and technical information relating to 1080.
The 2007 reassessment
A reassessment of 1080 for use in pest control was completed by the then Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA – known since 2011 as the EPA) in August 2007. A reassessment process found that the benefits of using 1080 outweighed the adverse effects. A decision was made to continue using 1080 with additional controls.
The reassessment recommended that management practices around aerial drops of 1080 be standardised around best practice. As part of this, communication guidelines were developed.
EPA role and 1080
We require operators to provide us with details of every aerial 1080 operation and each year we publish a report using this information. These reports show that people are following the rules in place for dealing with 1080.
The watchlist on aerial 1080 operations in New Zealand was established in our 2007 decision which approved the continued use of 1080 under tighter conditions. This site contains reports submitted by operators after aerial 1080 operations from 2008.
1080 in conservation
Many conservation advocacy groups support the use of 1080, including Forest & Bird. 1080 breaks down quickly in the environment.
In her review of the use of 1080, the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) said that while alternatives to 1080 have their place, none come close to replacing 1080.
1080 and farming
1080 also protects New Zealand's multi-billion dollar dairy, beef, and deer industries. Possums carry TB and they in turn infect cows and deer. If left uncontrolled, TB infection in our cattle and deer herds could seriously affect New Zealand’s pastoral production, export market access, and economy.
OSPRI's TBfree programme manages the implementation of the National Pest Management Plan for Bovine TB, with the aim of eradicating the disease from New Zealand.