Agrichemical Reassessments

Following on from the successful conference workshop session organised by Rebecca Fisher in August, we thought it would be timely to provide an update on EPA reassessments.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) as screened 700 chemicals through their FRCaST screening tool, and identified the substances which make up their priority chemical list (PCL) for reassessment. They are working toward reassessment priority chemicals, but will also undertake externally generated reassessments and emerging issues reassessments in addition to those on the PCL.

Paraquat:  The EPA undertook a reassessment of paraquat in early 2019. Following submissions and the public hearings in mid-late 2019 the EPA amended some of their earlier recommendations relating to use rates and application methods. A decision was released last week and while some approvals were canceled due to triggering additional human health risks, key paraquat approvals have been retained with use restrictions, including limiting use to agricultural purposes with a maximum application rate of 600 g AI/ha/yr, and additional controls. Registrants have a transition period to update labels and safety data sheets to comply with the new controls.

Neonicotinoids: In late 2018 the EPA released a call for information on the neonicotinoids clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam to gather information on the types and quantities of the products being used, and the way in which they are used. As yet this has not progressed to reassessment.  Recently the Australian APVMA released a work plan for review of operator safety and environmental impacts of several neonicotinoids. They have indicated they will be working with the NZ EPA to identify areas of possible collaboration.

Synthetic pyrethroids:  The EPA released a call for information for 11 synthetic pyrethroids in late 2018. The call form information closed in March 2019, and the EPA received a significant response to the call for information. An update is not expected until mid-2020.

Loss of, or restrictions on, certain chemicals or chemical groups could have implications on market access, resistance management, biosecurity, or ability to grow certain crops. It is important that interested parties are aware of upcoming reassessments and have a say on what the impacts of proposed changes may mean to them.

You can keep up to date by checking the public consultation page on the EPA website https://www.epa.govt.nz/public-consultations/in-progress/ or by subscribing to the hazardous substances newsletter https://www.epa.govt.nz/news-and-alerts/newsletters/hazardous-substances-update/