EPA reviewing hydrogen cyanamide rules

30 January 2020

We are initiating a reassessment of the plant growth regulator hydrogen cyanamide, and now seeking information on how and where it is being used in New Zealand.

Hydrogen cyanamide products are used in New Zealand mainly by orchardists, particularly kiwifruit and apple growers, to promote bud formation.

There are six hydrogen cyanamide products registered with NZ Food Safety at the Ministry of Primary Industries. They are:

  • Hi-Cane
  • Treestart
  • Hortcare Hi-break
  • Synergy HC
  • Gro-Chem HC-50
  • Cyan

These products are currently restricted to commercial use only.

In September 2019 an EPA decision-making committee decided that grounds exist to reassess this substance on the basis that there was significant new information contained in a report published by the European Food Safety Authority, relating to the hazards and risks of the substance.

We will be proceeding with a reassessment of hydrogen cyanamide. A reassessment is the formal review under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO), of the rules controlling a substance that is already in use in New Zealand. Hydrogen cyanamide was last reassessed in 2006.

“It is important that we now put the call out for New Zealand specific data and information relating to the use of hydrogen cyanamide. By building a detailed understanding of both the positive and adverse effects of a substance, we can ensure that we have the best available information upon which to make a decision under the HSNO Act,” says Acting General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances and New Organisms group, Gayle Holmes.

“We are seeking specific relevant information, from manufacturers, importers, and industry users as well as the public.

“We want to know how hydrogen cyanamide is being used, the frequency and scale of its use, and the specific mitigation measures that are currently in practice. All the information we gather will inform our reassessment application, which will then enter the statutory reassessment process.”

Reassessments are determined by a decision-making committee, which is made up of members of the EPA’s HSNO Committee. The outcome of reassessments can range from no change to the rules (controls) of use, modifications to controls, restrictions, to revocations of substance approvals.

We welcome any information on uses of the substance that you are aware of.

Submissions close at 5.00 pm, Thursday 30 April 2020.

Read the consultation page