Reassessments of methyl bromide and benzyl alkonium chlorides

The Environmental Protection Authority today released two press statements regarding chemicals used in agriculture and horticulture and for quarantine fumigation.

First, it has initiated an application for a modified reassessment of benzyl alkonium chloride (BAC).

Second, it has produced a timeline to show the progress of an application to reassess methyl bromide.

Submissions on the EPA’s proposed updates to the BAC approvals are now open.

BAC are a family of surfactants used in New Zealand used – for example – in detergents, pesticides, veterinary medicines, timber treatments, and disinfectants.

The modified reassessment seeks to update the hazard classification of BACs after grounds were established based on regulatory reviews in the USA, Canada and Australia and information held in overseas regulatory databases.

“There are approximately 9,000 approvals relating to around 150,000 substances that are used in New Zealand. Part of our role as a regulator is to monitor and review new information generated internationally on these chemicals,” says Acting General Manager of Hazardous Substances, Gayle Holmes.

“This current modified reassessment seeks to determine that, where appropriate, our hazard classifications are aligned globally, and that risks are being managed accordingly.”

A reassessment is a statutory process under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO), which applies to substances that have already been approved for use in New Zealand.  It is a two-step process which requires that grounds to reassess that substance are established first, followed by an application to reassess the substance(s).

Reassessments are determined by a decision-making committee, which is made up of members of our HSNO Committee.

“A modified reassessment looks only at specific aspects of the existing approval(s), and in this case it is the hazard classifications assigned to a number of substances,” Gayle Holmes says. “Under the modified reassessment process, there is no provision to revoke an existing approval.”

Submissions close at 5pm on 27 February 2020.

Consultation information can be seen HERE. 

Further details about the EPA’s reassessment process are HERE. 

With regard to the timeline to show the progress of an application to reassess methyl bromide, the EPA says it has received an application from Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction Inc (the applicant) to reassess methyl bromide, a hazardous substance used in quarantine and pre-shipment fumigations.

Every application under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (the HSNO Act) follows a statutory process towards a decision being made. There are several steps to the processing of any application.

The EPA has determined that this application will follow a modified reassessment process and will include a public notification process, when public submissions will be invited and a public hearing included if requested.

This timeline – it’s HERE – identifies what has happened so far on the application to reassess methyl bromide, and when it happened, in chronological order.

The application documents and submissions for this reassessment can be read HERE.

Source:  Environmental Protection Authority

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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