Decision To Approve New Export Log Fumigant
A decision-making committee of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved an application for a new gas to fumigate export logs and timber.
EDN is a new tool to kill common pests found in wood. It is a potential alternative to methyl bromide, which is now heavily restricted.
EDN is already approved for use in Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, and Russia. The Czech-based manufacturer, Draslovka, applied to the EPA for approval to import the gas into Aotearoa New Zealand.
"The EPA’s role in regulating hazardous substances involves carefully balancing environmental, health, economic, and cultural factors. The application process for EDN has been lengthy due to the complex technical considerations required for the safe use of the fumigant," says Dr Chris Hill, General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances group.
"The benefits of EDN are that it rapidly decomposes after use, it is ozone-friendly, and has reduced risks to human health and the environment compared with methyl bromide."
A range of strict rules (known as controls) have been developed for the use of EDN. These include a maximum application rate, and that it is used in specific wind conditions, only under tarpaulins or in shipping containers. EDN is only for use by professionals in commercial settings.
Although the EPA has approved the EDN application, the fumigant cannot be imported or used immediately. Additional WorkSafe rules to protect workers, which are approved in principle, now require ministerial sign-off and gazetting. The EPA decision-making committee will sign the approval to take effect along with the WorkSafe rules.
The EPA decision means the Ministry for Primary Industries can progress negotiations with trading partners on acceptance of EDN, as an option to meet their import biosecurity requirements.