EPA calls for information on glyphosate
28 April 2021
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is calling for information on the use of the herbicide glyphosate in New Zealand.
This weed killer has been used by home gardeners, farmers, and councils in New Zealand since the 1970s. Although it is commonly known as the active ingredient in Roundup, there are 89 mixtures containing glyphosate that are approved for use in this country.
We are seeking information from New Zealanders – including industry and the general public – about the manufacture, importation, and patterns of use of glyphosate in this country, as well as information on the availability of alternatives, and any impacts on Māori.
Dr Chris Hill, General Manager, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, says “Glyphosate is currently approved for use in the European Union until 15 December 2022, and can be used there until that date.
“The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are in the process of reviewing the classification and approval of glyphosate, with their conclusions set to be released in mid-2022.
“Issuing a call for information now will enable us to have a greater understanding of the New Zealand context by the time the EU findings are published, and ensure we’re better prepared to assess those findings.
“There has been ongoing public debate about the effects of glyphosate on environmental and human health.
“Our position at this time remains that products containing glyphosate are safe to use when all the rules (controls) around their use are followed. This is in line with the current regulatory opinion in Australia, Canada, the European Union and the United States.
“The EPA monitors international developments and continually reviews global research on hazardous substances, including glyphosate, and we have no evidence that risks associated with using glyphosate, or its hazardous nature, have changed. However, we feel the time is right for us to take another look at this substance. This is something we have been considering for some time, and is in line with our stance as a proactive regulator - putting the environment and the health of people front and centre.
“The call for information will provide us with information on how glyphosate is currently being used in New Zealand. It is possible this has changed since we approved its use.
“We want to understand whether products containing glyphosate may be damaging the environment or human health, despite the clear rules in place. We also want to know about the economic benefits of glyphosate’s use, and any potential alternatives. The information gathered will be used to help inform our next steps.”
The call for information will remain open until 5.00 pm on 27 August 2021.