Suspected low and no-use chemicals under scrutiny
25 March 2021
Public feedback is sought as part of a fact-finding exercise on the use of 16 hazardous substances, many of which appear to have fallen into disuse in New Zealand.
These are active ingredients in products used to kill bugs and insects in orchards, vineyards, vegetable and cereal crops. They are officially known as organophosphate and carbamate substances (OPCs).
The 16 include carbaryl – a pesticide once considered a go-to for stone fruit, pipfruit, and avocado orchardists. The latest information available to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) indicates usage has dropped, as carbaryl products have been withdrawn from sale.
We are also calling for information on the use of:
- fenitrothion (used in household insect pest products)
- fenthion (found in flea treatment for pets)
- maldison (commercial use insecticides used in fruit, vegetable and cereal crops, and pasture)
- propoxur (household insect pest and flea control products).
Together with carbaryl, these are on the EPA’s Priority Chemicals List, which details the substances that we believe are most in need of review in New Zealand.
“Our initial information points to the manufacturing and usage of the 16 OPCs falling away over time. We need to hear whether these substances remain in use and, if so, how and in what volume,” says the EPA’s General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, Dr Chris Hill.
“If the risks outweigh the benefits, we must consider whether the approvals for these highly toxic substances should be revoked altogether. If not, there is potential for tighter usage rules to be imposed."
The EPA regulates agrichemicals, household chemicals and other dangerous goods and substances under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act. As well as evaluating and approving substances, we can reassess and make new decisions about whether the hazard classifications and controls (usage rules) need to be updated.
Submissions close at 5.00pm on 28 May 2021.