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Reassessment of organophosphates and carbamates

2 July 2013

Reassessment of organophosphates and carbamates

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is being congratulated by Federated Farmers for the difficult decisions it has made around the use of organophosphates and carbamates (OPC’s).

“Extending the use of Diazinon through to 2028 was the right thing to do because farmers have little or no alternatives at this time,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“Home gardeners and farmers both know that diazinon is the most effective agrichemical we currently have to treat grass grub and porina. An issue may arise if by the end of the next 15-years we fail to have approved replacements in the toolbox.

“Since pasture accounts for around half of New Zealand’s merchandise exports, we are pleased the Committee has recommended that industry increase the research effort to find alternatives to OPC’s. This is endorsed by Federated Farmers.

“As users, we do not deny that there is potential health, environmental or pollinator risks associated with the use of OPC’s. The EPA’s recommendations are all about highlighting these with the chemical put on the glide-slope to its eventual phase out.

“Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group will be pleased with the recommended label statement. This explicitly points out the product is very toxic to bees and should not be applied to any plant or tree likely to be visited by bees during the spraying window.

“The Committee has shown a degree of foresight in deciding that an information sheet for home gardeners should be provided with diazinon granules. This is to communicate its potential risks and is important, especially for keen home gardeners who value their lawn.

“The Committee has also established new additional controls to be in place within two years. This is to allow sufficient time for compliance with the revised controls to be arranged. We also welcome the pressure to get clarity on the approved handler regime.

“It is a practical response from the EPA to recognise that crop cycle is more important than trying to restrict use of OPC to time of year or number of times per year.

“Overall, the EPA has faced up to a tough and challenging reassessment and Federated Farmers feels the recommendations are inherently sound,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

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