Second grounds for reassessment on methyl bromide declined

The Environmental Protection Authority has declined an application to determine whether there are grounds for a reassessment of methyl bromide’s flammable gas classification.

This latest decision does not invalidate the grounds for reassessment established earlier this year as a consequence of an application, made by the Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction Inc, based on the volume of methyl bromide being used and imported into New Zealand.

Although those grounds for reassessment have been established, the EPA says it has not yet received any application to reassess methyl bromide.

By October 2020 users of methyl bromide in New Zealand will still need to meet EPA requirements to use recapture technology and safely recover or dispose of the gas used in their fumigation activity.

The General Manager of EPA’s Hazardous Substances Group, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, says a Decision-making Committee was appointed and decided that none of four possible factors required to approve the grounds for reassessment were present.  The application was declined.

“Grounds for reassessment need to be established before any reassessment application can be accepted under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act,” says Dr Thomson-Carter.

“In their application, Pest Management Association of New Zealand presented information that methyl bromide is ‘only flammable in extreme concentrations, extreme heat and a high voltage spark’, and as such should not be considered to be a flammable gas.

“We agree with the supporting information but does not consider that it meets the ‘significant new information’ factor for grounds to change the flammability classification of methyl bromide.”

Anyone can make an application for grounds.  Once grounds are approved, anyone can apply for the subsequent reassessment.

Additional information

  • Methyl bromide was previously reassessed in 2010 following an application by the Chief Executive of the Environmental Risk Management Authority, the predecessor to the Environmental Protection Authority.
  • The key factors which need to be taken into account for grounds for reassessment to be found:
    • Significant new information relating to the effects of the substance becomes available.
    • A change in controls under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
    • Another substance with similar or improved beneficial effects and reduced adverse effects becomes available.
    • Information showing a significant change of use of the substance becomes available.
    • Information showing a significant change in the quantity of the substance manufactured or imported becomes available.

Source: Environmental Protection Authority

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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