Views sought on reassessment of methyl bromide

18 July 2019

The Environmental Protection Authority is seeking submissions on an application for the reassessment of the hazardous substance methyl bromide.

Methyl bromide is used as a fumigant in the quarantine and pre-shipment treatment of logs, produce, flowers and other goods.

The EPA’s chemical reassessment programme reviews hazardous substances already approved in New Zealand. Under New Zealand law, a chemical's approval does not expire. Reassessment is the only formal legal process we can use to review the approval of a chemical classed as a hazardous substance.

In April 2018, the EPA decided that grounds existed for a reassessment of methyl bromide, following an application by Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction Inc (STIMBR).

Grounds to reassess were granted based on data that showed New Zealand’s use of the fumigant has increased from over 400 tonnes a year in 2010, to more than 600 tonnes in 2016. One of the criteria to meet grounds for reassessment under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act is a significant change in the quantity of substance imported into, or manufactured in, New Zealand.

Earlier this year, STIMBR applied for a reassessment of the approval for methyl bromide. The EPA is processing this application as a modified reassessment. This means that the reassessment will only consider specific aspects of the approval, such as the required controls.

The approval to import or manufacture methyl bromide cannot be revoked in this type of reassessment.

Users of methyl bromide in New Zealand are required to recapture and safely dispose of the gas used in their fumigation activity from October 2020. The timeframe was set by the 2010 reassessment decision, to allow for the development, acquisition and installation of suitable equipment for recapture.

Submissions on the reassessment application close at 5.00 pm on 29 August 2019.

Visit the consultation page for more information, including submission guidelines and a timeline.

See information on the chemical reassessment programme.