Press Release – Environmental Protection Authority
The Environmental Protection Authority has released the first set of monitoring reports under the new controls for methyl bromide, which came into effect in 2011.
The new rules for the fumigant include a requirement for sites that use more than 500 kilograms of methyl bromide in a year to provide an annual report outlining the results of their air quality monitoring.
The first set of reports, covering May to December 2011, have been made public today.
Twenty-six sites have submitted reports – six of these used less than 500 kilograms of methyl bromide, but have voluntarily completed a report and made their report available. The exposure limit for the annual average concentration of methyl bromide gas around a site is set at 0.0013 parts per million, a level set to protect the health of people who may be nearby.
At twenty-four of the twenty-six sites, the annual exposure limit for methyl bromide was not exceeded.
For the two remaining sites:
• QTC Ltd in Mangere, Auckland, reported an annual average level of methyl bromide at the site’s boundary six times over the limit. The company has now installed recapture equipment to remove methyl bromide from the air after fumigations.
• OI Glass in Penrose, Auckland (fumigator ISS Boracure) reported an average concentration of methyl bromide at the site’s boundary slightly greater than the limit. OI Glass is no longer carrying out methyl bromide fumigations.
In addition, another site has submitted a draft report for the period.
This report is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and will be posted on the EPA website as soon as it is available.
The EPA’s General Manager for Compliance, Andrea Eng, says the EPA expects all sites to comply fully with the rules for using methyl bromide.
“The new rules for methyl bromide put strict limits on its use, to ensure the health and safety of everyone in New Zealand”.
“All sites are required to have buffer zones to keep the general public away from fumigation areas, and sites have to monitor the air around their buffer zones throughout the year.”
Monitoring reports must be submitted to the EPA by 30 June each year, to cover the previous calendar year.
This first set of reports has required extensive review, which has meant the reports could not have been made available before now.
The reports are now available on the EPA website here.
Methyl bromide is used in fumigations of some imports and exports, as a biosecurity measure.
Some of New Zealand’s trading partners will not accept certain goods unless they have been treated with methyl bromide.