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Source: Environmental Protection Authority

28 February 2019

Public submissions are open on a reassessment proposal by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for the herbicide paraquat and its associated formulations.

The herbicide is included in the EPA’s priority chemical list that was unveiled in October 2018 as part of the Authority’s revamped reassessments programme.

Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, the General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms at the EPA says: “Paraquat is a particularly harsh and hazardous chemical, and its sale and use is tightly controlled in New Zealand.

“Based on our review, we propose further tightening the controls for two paraquat-containing substances currently used in agriculture, which we believe can be used safely as long as risk mitigation measures are strictly followed.

“We propose revoking approvals for sale and use in New Zealand of two substances which have mutagenic, carcinogenic or reproductive toxicant classifications and pose unnecessary risk, regardless of controls.

“We also propose revoking the approvals for two substances which we can find no evidence are being used in this country.”

The tighter controls being proposed involve restricting use to agriculture only, and imposing downwind buffer zones, and restrictions on application rates, frequencies, and intervals.

Manufacturers who continue to sell paraquat would need to provide a product stewardship programme for all users. This would include details on how to safely handle the substance through its lifecycle, from storage to disposal. WorkSafe New Zealand is considering setting stricter rules around the use of paraquat if any approvals are retained.  

It is anticipated that if there is a decision to revoke any approvals, it will come into effect immediately.

The public have until 12 April 2019 to submit on the consultation.

Find out more or make a submission