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Regulatory Phase-Out of Ozone-Depleting Gas Continues

5 April 2006

ref: mr06/05

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), the national regulator of agricultural and veterinary chemicals, has today announced a series of proposed regulatory measures for pesticides based on the known ozone-depleting gas, methyl bromide.

The proposed measures are outlined in the APVMA’s Preliminary Review Findings report that is now available for public comment.

APVMA Principal Scientist, Dr David Loschke said that the review was prompted by Australia’s international obligations under the ‘Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer’.

Under the Protocol, signatories agreed that methyl bromide would no longer be used except for three specified purposes:

  • quarantine and pre-shipment fumigation of traded commodities when required
  • certain critical-use exemptions in agriculture
  • use as an industrial feedstock in the production of other chemicals.

In accordance with the Protocol, the APVMA proposes to confirm existing restrictions, cancel the registration of a number of products and vary the labels of the remaining products to allow only the limited quarantine and pre-shipment uses. Methyl bromide will no longer be available for use as soil fumigant.

‘The actions proposed by the APVMA support the regulatory activity on methyl bromide undertaken by the Department of the Environment and Heritage and help ensure that Australia’s obligations under the Protocol are met’ Dr Loschke said.

‘Protection of the environment is critical and the use of methyl bromide in Australian agriculture is already tightly controlled under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act’ Dr Loschke said.

‘Most agricultural industries have largely adapted to the phase-out via utilisation of alternative product and/or fumigation methods’ he said.

Methyl bromide, a colourless gas at room temperature, is a potent biocide that has been used as an insecticide, fungicide and herbicide. It has been available in Australia since 1945.

A copy of the Preliminary Review Findings as well as a backgrounder on the methyl bromide review is available on the APVMA website ( Comments on the proposed regulatory measures are due by 4 July 2006.

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