EPA revises kiwifruit spray recommendations

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has updated its recommendations for the reassessment of hydrogen cyanamide, based on significant new information.

Hydrogen cyanamide is widely used in the kiwifruit industry to help buds form by simulating the effects of frost. The EPA is currently reassessing its use in response to new scientific data, and risk assessments completed by overseas regulators.

In 2021, the EPA released draft recommendations and held a public consultation, as part of the reassessment process.

The information received from submitters included research and other scientific evidence that informed the EPA’s risk assessments.

In response to this new information, the EPA has revised its initial recommendations for hydrogen cyanamide.

The key changes are:

– extending the time-limit on using the substance to ten years from the date of a decision

– adjusting the hazard classification so it would not be classed as a suspected carcinogen

– requiring buffer zones

– adding further rules to protect workers

“We’ve drawn from reports on worker and environmental exposure to the substance and thorough assessments carried out by EPA toxicologists and other expert staff to more accurately represent the risks and benefits of using hydrogen cyanamide,” says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms.

A decision-making committee will hold a public hearing in March next year.

It will consider the EPA’s recommendations alongside submissions and other information, and then make a final decision.

A public consultation on hydrogen cyanamide was held from 30 September to 20 December last year.  The EPA received 202 responses, with 43 submitters indicating they wanted to speak at a public hearing.

The EPA found grounds to reassess hydrogen cyanamide in September 2019, following a request by an external applicant. Grounds were established based on significant new information about the adverse effects of the substance, including new scientific data and assessments from other international regulators

Source:  Environmental Protection Authority


Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog