Fly sprays and animal treatments come under EPA microscope

29 October 2018

We are investigating products containing synthetic pyrethroids as part of our revamped reassessments programme which we announced in mid-October.

Synthetic pyrethroids are insecticides found in some fly sprays, insect repellents, automatic dispensers, bed bug treatments, and animal flea collars and treatments.

We have announced a call for information as it seeks more detail, from New Zealand households and commercial users, on how and where products containing these substances are being used.

General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances Group, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter says:  “Synthetic pyrethroids (which are not the same as the naturally occurring pyrethrins derived from chrysanthemums) are hazardous substances. They should be used with care and product label instructions strictly followed.

“New information from international regulators in the United States, Canada and the European Union has identified certain risks to people and animals from the use of products containing synthetic pyrethroids.  These warrant further investigation.

“This information concerns risks to children from accidental exposure to flea collars and treated carpets, as well as people reporting a burning or prickling sensation, known as paraesthesia, after coming into contact with synthetic pyrethroids,” says Dr Thomson-Carter.

“It is important to clarify that synthetic pyrethroids, and products that contain them, are not banned. The call for information signals the Authority’s first step in exploring whether a reassessment is necessary.

“The public, industry and manufacturers of the chemicals, can support our call for information by completing a response form on our website which will help us build a more detailed picture about their use in New Zealand.

“We have also issued a caution notice which provides concerned members of the public with up-to-date guidance about the safe use of products that contain synthetic pyrethroids,” says Dr Thomson-Carter.

“The call for information will close on 1 February 2019. Once this is completed, the EPA will use this information to determine what the next steps are.”

Information about the EPA reassessments process

Find out more about the call for information

View the caution notice