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ERMA releases decision on trichlorfon

23 February 2011

ERMA releases decision on trichlorfon

The Environmental Risk Management Authority has released its decision on the review of the organophosphate insecticide trichlorfon.

Trichlorfon is used to control a range of insects in a variety of horticultural and agricultural crops. It is also used as a veterinary medicine.

The Authority has decided to phase out approvals for the further importation or manufacture of trichlorfon for plant protection purposes.

In making its decision, the Authority said the use of trichlorfon for plant protection purposes posed risks to the environment which could not be safely managed.

A three-month phase-out period has been set. From 1 June, 2011, trichlorfon for use on plants may no longer be imported into, or manufactured in, New Zealand, and existing stocks must be used or disposed of.

The Authority has approved the continued use of trichlorfon as a veterinary medicine, with stricter controls.

It said the addition of stricter controls on trichlorfon’s use as a veterinary medicine would safely manage any potential risks. The new controls come into effect on 1 June 2011.

The reassessment of trichlorfon is part of a wider review of organophosphates used in New Zealand and internationally (see below).

To read the full decision, click here.

What are organophosphates?

Organophosphates are a group of insecticides that act on the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is essential to nerve function in insects, humans, and many other animals.

Other organophosphates include:

Acephate and methdamidophos – currently under review by ERMA New Zealand with a decision expected later this year
Azinphos methyl – reviewed by ERMA in 2009 and being phased out over five years
Diazinon – application for review being prepared by ERMA with decision expected later this year
Dichlorvos – currently under review by ERMA with decision expected later this year


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