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New Zealand EPA bans toxic chlorothalonil fungicides to keep Kiwi gardeners safeqrcode

Apr. 27, 2017

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Apr. 27, 2017
The New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a Red Alert notice following its decision to revoke four approvals for fungicide products used by Kiwi gardeners. 

A fifth approval has been retained but modified to include tighter controls on its use, confining it for use by trained and certified commercial operators in workplace settings only.

It is the first time the EPA has issued a Red Alert notice. CEO Allan Freeth says: “We have issued this Red Alert to raise public awareness of the dangers of using products containing chlorothalonil, a broad-spectrum pesticide used to control fungal leaf diseases in vegetables, ornamental crops and turf.

“Chlorothalonil is acutely toxic, especially if inhaled, and is classified as a suspected carcinogen. The European Union has banned its use in consumer products. The US and Canadian authorities are also concerned about the dangers it represents to domestic users.”

Dr Freeth initiated a reassessment of chlorothalonil based on his concerns over new evidence which came to light when the EPA considered a recent application for a fungicide containing the substance. It found there were unacceptable human health risks that could not be mitigated by imposing controls on its use in a domestic setting.

“Given the serious effects chlorothalonil can have on human health and the environment, initiating a Red Alert is another way for us to help protect New Zealand and New Zealanders from chemicals that we have concerns about,” says Dr Freeth.

The decision to revoke the approvals means that the following products cannot be manufactured or imported into New Zealand after 11 May 2017. They will be banned from sale to anybody in New Zealand from 11 November 2017. 

These products include but are not limited to:

•    Yates Bravo
•    Yates Greenguard
•    Yates Guardall
•    Tui Disease Eliminator

The fifth approval includes, but is not limited to, the following products:

•    McGregor’s Black Spot and Fungus Spray
•    Watkins Fungus and Mildew Spray
•    Taratek 5F

This fifth approval has been retained and tighter controls added so that products can be used only by trained and certified commercial operators (ie they have been safety-trained in this specific class of chemical and have a certificate) in a workplace setting only.

They will be relabelled and reclassified to reflect the new, tighter controls. From 11 November 2017 they will not be available for sale to anybody other than trained and certified commercial operators and only for use in workplace settings.

 “These products are named in the decision document (DMC Decision Chlorothalonil), advises Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, EPA’s General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms.

“However, it is important to note that they do not make up an exhaustive list: they are only the products of which we are currently aware. There may be others being imported or manufactured in New Zealand under the approvals process.  If consumers are in doubt about whether a product contains chlorothalonil, they should check the product label or ask the supplier.”

“These measures will reduce Kiwi gardeners’ exposure to significant health risks,” says Dr Thomson-Carter. “Alternative fungicides are available with lower hazards, and we encourage their use.”

Domestic users and retailers looking to dispose of small quantities of these substances should ask their local authority for advice on hazardous waste disposal.

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