Public responses on glyphosate weedkiller published

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has publicly released the 465 responses to its call for information on glyphosate herbicide.

The EPA called for information about glyphosate last year to take another look at the chemical, says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms.

It is commonly known as the active ingredient in Roundup, but 89 mixtures containing glyphosate are approved for use in New Zealand.

Members of the public contributed 48 per cent of all responses.  Professional users, such as councils, accounted for 42 per cent; 7 per cent of the responses were from organisations and 3 per cent from those involved in the supply chain. Continue reading

EPA seeks views on potential phase-out of kiwifruit spray ingredient

Public consultation is open on an application to reassess the use of hydrogen cyanamide, an active ingredient in sprays commonly used by kiwifruit growers.

Hydrogen cyanamide is banned in Europe and its re-registration is under review in the United States.

In New Zealand, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is undertaking a reassessment of the substance, which is primarily sprayed on bare kiwifruit orchards to help buds form after winter.

“While we accept that there are economic benefits from hydrogen cyanamide use, new information suggests these are outweighed by the environmental risks and adverse health effects,” says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances group.

“As part of our reassessment of this substance, we’ve carried out an initial assessment of the information now available and produced draft recommendations. Continue reading

Extra month is added to EPA’s call for glyphosate information

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has further extended its call for information on the herbicide glyphosate.

The current closing date had been tomorrow – Friday 24 September. This has been pushed out to 5pm Friday 22 October.

“We are conscious that some individuals or organisations which may wish to provide input will have had other priorities and pressures to manage due to the COVID-19 alert level changes,” says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances group.

“To ensure these parties get an opportunity to have their say, we have extended the deadline by a month.”

Glyphosate has been used as a weed killer by home gardeners, farmers, and councils in New Zealand since the 1970s. Although it is commonly known as the active ingredient in Roundup, 89 mixtures containing glyphosate have been approved for use in this country.

The EPA monitors international developments and continually reviews global research on hazardous substances, including glyphosate, and says it has no evidence that risks associated with using glyphosate, or its hazardous nature, have changed.

But it believes  the time is right to take another look at this substance.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are reviewing the classification and approval of glyphosate.  Their conclusions are set to be released in mid-2022.

It is issuing a call for information to build a greater understanding of how glyphosate-containing products are being used in New Zealand by the time the EU findings are published and to ensure it is better prepared to assess those findings.

Find out more and respond to the call for information
Read more about glyphosate

Source:  Environmental Protection Authority

EPA extends its call for information on the use of glyphosate

Hard on the heels of news that recent surveys by scientists have found half or more of arable farms and vineyards in some regions have weeds resistant to commonly used herbicides, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has extended its call for information on the herbicide glyphosate by four weeks.

The new deadline to respond is now 5 pm on Friday 24 September.

General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, Dr Chris Hill, says the EPA wants to hear from more professional users and those involved in the supply of glyphosate.

“While we have had a good response from the public, we want to make sure importers, retailers, professional users and industry groups have had enough time to collate information and provide meaningful data. We have already received one request from a major industry group for an extension. The more information we receive the better informed we’ll be to decide what next steps to take.

“So far, professional users, industry organisations and suppliers have made up just over 40 percent of total respondents; the rest are members of the public. We have received 136 responses since we opened the call for information at the end of April.” Continue reading

Research finds herbicide resistance is greater than expected

Herbicide resistance is emerging as a serious and growing threat to New Zealand’s food production, with recent surveys by scientists finding half or more of arable farms and vineyards in some regions have weeds resistant to commonly used herbicides.

AgResearch scientists, who are carrying out the first systematic approach to surveying for herbicide-resistant weeds in arable crops with funding from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, say their results are often many times the levels of resistance that had been expected.

Furthermore, new resistant weed species are being brought forward, or discovered by the AgResearch scientists working alongside the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) and the Bragato Research Institute, as part of the Managing Herbicide Resistance programme which began in 2018. Continue reading

Agrichemicals and tea tree oil are among chemical classification updates

The hazard classifications of 123 substances have been updated as part of the latest Chemical Review by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The authority 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, it can reassess and make decisions about whether the hazard classifications and controls (or rules of use) need updating.

New information such as study data, and reviews or assessments by overseas chemical regulators, has prompted hazard classification updates for these 123 substances – including single chemicals and mixtures.

The EPA has updated the hazard classification of two agrichemicals, pymetrozine and chlorpropham, to reflect their cancer-causing properties. The changes will translate to clearer labelling guidance for the professionals who use the substances. Continue reading

EPA is calling for information on glyphosate

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is calling for information on the use of the herbicide glyphosate in New Zealand.

This weed killer has been used by home gardeners, farmers, and councils in this country since the 1970s.

It is commonly known as the active ingredient in Roundup but 89 mixtures containing glyphosate are approved for use in this country.

The EPA is seeking information from industry and the general public about the manufacture, importation, and patterns of use of glyphosate in this country, as well as information on the availability of alternatives, and any impacts on Māori.

Dr Chris Hill, General Manager, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, says; Continue reading

Disposal deadline is looming for banned paraquat products

The Environmental Protection Authority is reminding users of the heavily restricted herbicide paraquat that they must dispose of any remaining stocks of four specific products by 12 December.

The deadline affects Uniquat 250, Parable 250, Gramoxone Inteon, and Preeglone Inteon, which can no longer be imported, manufactured, sold, or used in New Zealand.

Those products must be disposed of in line with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Disposal Notice.

Paraquat is a broad spectrum contact herbicide that has previously been used in the horticultural and agricultural sectors for clover seed, lucerne, and kūmara production. Continue reading

EPA calls for submissions on new potato herbicide Soleto

The Environmental Protection Authority is seeking views on an application to import or manufacture Soleto, a broad spectrum herbicide for potatoes.

Soleto contains the active ingredient metobromuron, which is approved in Europe but not in New Zealand.

The applicant, Belchim Crop Protection, wants to import Soleto for the control of broadleaf weeds in potatoes, using ground-based application methods.

The application is available to view on the EPA website. Interested parties can also view the EPA’s science memorandum to inform their submission on this application.

The memo outlines the environmental and human health risk assessment of Soleto, carried out by EPA staff. Before now, science memoranda have been made available later in the application process.

This publicly notified application enables the public to provide the EPA with information it should be made aware of, such as beneficial or adverse effects additional to those described by the applicant.

Submissions close at 5pm on 5 October.

Source:  Environmental Protection Authority

EPA imposes greater restrictions on the use of paraquat

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is placing greater controls on the use of the herbicide paraquat.

Paraquat is the first active ingredient on our priority chemicals list, announced in October 2018, to be reassessed.

A Decision-making Committee appointed by the EPA held a public hearing in September, following a period for public submissions on the reassessment application earlier this year.

The committee has determined that paraquat’s use will be restricted to horticultural and agricultural applications; biosecurity will only be allowed with special permission; the maximum application rates have been reduced; and the buffer zones have been revised. The key changes will be phased in over the next 12 months, with labels to be updated within 24 months. Continue reading