The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) wants information from users and the community for a reassessment of chemicals in the organophosphates and carbamates (OPCs) group. It is doing a reassessment of the use of these chemicals in New Zealand. It wants to know the extent and purpose of uses of these, whether there are alternatives, and who is using the chemicals and whether the use is declining.
The EPA received an extra $million per year to expand the chemical reassessment programme, respond to emerging issues, and carry out additional reassessments.
The EPA prioritises chemicals to be reassessed where it believes there is a risk to human health and the environment. The EPA is the regulator for agrichemicals, household chemicals and other dangerous goods and substances under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO).
The focus of this call for information is substances containing bendiocarb, carbaryl*, chlorfenvinphos, coumaphos, fenitrothion*, fenthion*, formetanate, furathiocarb, maldison/malathion*, methiocarb, methomyl, propetamphos, propoxur*, temephos, tetrachlorvinphos, or thiodicarb as the active ingredient. Those with an asterix are on EPAs Priority Chemicals reassessment list.
The EPA is interested to know whether the use of some of the chemicals in the list are declining, why, what are they still being used for, and how widespread the use is. EPA is saying that their latest information indicates usage of carybaryl has dropped, as products have been withdrawn from sale, and manufacturing and usage of the other 15 OPCs are declining.
EPA uses a screening tool, called FRCaST, that evaluates chemicals’ potential risks to human health and the environment. The EPA has screened hundreds of chemicals using the tool, and it continues to assess and screen chemicals. A key aspect of FRCaST is that it is a risk-based screening tool, taking both hazard and exposure into account but it uses a qualitative approach to determine a ‘score’ that is used to categorise the chemical.
The process has been questioned due to concern over how precaution is being considered and the failure to include glyphosate or neonicotinoids in the review process.
You can help this process by checking to see if you have any of these chemicals on the list. Tell the EPA, and tell them how much you use them and why.
Go to the EPA website for more details on the consultation and for the link to the form to submit your information.
For information about the reassessment, the background on reassessments of chemicals, the details of the Priority Chemicals List including what threats to the environment and health and the reasons they are used, see here.
If you have or know of someone else who has, expertise in organic chemistry, we would like to hear more. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org