ERMA revokes approvals for use of toxic pesticide

The Environmental Risk Management Authority has revoked approvals for the use of the pesticide methyl parathion in New Zealand.

Methyl parathion is a broad-spectrum organophosphate pesticide effective against insects and mites. Formulations containing methyl parathion were first registered for use in New Zealand in 1961 but no products have been registered since 2004.

Methyl parathion is fatal in low concentrations if ingested or absorbed through the skin. It is very ecotoxic to aquatic and soil organisms, birds and bees.

The European Union banned methyl parathion in 2003 and in the United States there was a voluntary agreement in 1999 not to use it on crops that contributed most to children’s diets.

The revocation of approvals was the result of ERMA New Zealand’s Chief Executive Initiated Reassessment (CEIR) programme in which hazardous substances are re-evaluated.

Public submissions were called for and eight received, all in favour of the approvals being revoked.

Other substances being re-evaluated under the CEIR programme include the fumigant methyl bromide and the insecticides azinphos methyl, endosulfan, dichlorvos and trichlorfon and the herbicide methylarsinic acid.

The full decision document can be found on the ERMA New Zealand website

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