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Call for information on paraquat and paraquat-containing substances

10 July 2017

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking information about the composition, use and benefits of using herbicides containing paraquat, to help us develop an application for a reassessment of the approvals and controls applying to paraquat and paraquat-containing substances. We are seeking input from importers, manufacturers, industry, users, Maori, government agencies and other stakeholders.

The EPA has determined that grounds for reassessment exist and will now reassess the benefits and risks to people and the environment arising from use of paraquat. We will then prepare a formal application for a reassessment of paraquat and paraquat-containing substances, using the information from stakeholders and our analysis, which will be considered by a decision-making committee.  

Paraquat has long been used in New Zealand as a general purpose herbicide. It is used in forestry, ground, vine and tree crops, pasture renewal and to remove weeds in drains, waterways and along fence lines. It is acutely toxic to humans. In assessing the risks associated with a new pesticide containing paraquat, the EPA found them to be considerably higher than previously thought. It declined that application, and is using the new risk analysis to inform its application for a reassessment of paraquat and paraquat-containing substances.

The information we are seeking from stakeholders is detailed in the paraquat call for information request (see link below), and includes:
  • details about each formulation, its active ingredient, impurities and typical use

  • how the products are actually used – target crops, time of year, application rates, frequencies and intervals, nature of use

  • benefits of use and availability of alternatives

  • information about incidents or injuries associated with paraquat use.

Paraquat call for information request (pdf, 331 kb)

Please download the feedback form to submit relevant information to reassessments@epa.govt.nz by 5pm on Monday 4 September 2017.

Paraquat feedback form (word, 269 kb)

Paraquat feedback form (pdf, 499 kb)

Once the EPA’s application has been lodged, public submissions will be called for. A public hearing will likely be held, where submitters may appear in person. The decision making committee, usually comprised of three members, will consider all written and oral evidence, plus an analysis compiled by EPA scientists.

The committee has a wide range of options available to it, including banning the substance, approving its use in specified circumstances and/or with specified controls, and approving the substance for general sale and use without further restriction.

For further information please contact the Reassessments Team using the following email address: reassessments@epa.govt.nz.