Six more chemicals prioritised for reassessment


Insecticides used in ant bait, and chemicals found in timber treatment substances, are among the additions to our priority list for reassessment.

We regulate hazardous chemicals under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act. This includes making decisions on whether to approve the use of new hazardous substances in New Zealand, and reassessing approvals of those already in use.

The Priority Chemicals List contains 43 substances that we believe are most in need of review in New Zealand, drawn from a long-list of 1,200 chemicals we have screened.

The six additions to the Priority Chemicals List are:

azocyclotin, an insecticide used in spider mite control products

chromates, a group of industrial chemicals, found in timber treatment substances

hydramethylnon, an insecticide used for professional and home use ant baits

nonylphenol, a multi-use chemical found in professional and home use pesticides, cleaning products and veterinary medicines

propiconazole, a fungicide used in the production of fruit, cereals, grass seed, and on turf

tricresyl phosphate, used as a flame retardant in a variety of products, such as adhesives, lubricants, and surface coatings.

The EPA’s spokesperson, Siobhan Quayle, says “All of these chemicals scored highly when we screened them for human health and environmental health harm, and have been added to the Priority Chemicals List on that basis.

“We are updating the Priority Chemicals List to ensure risks to people and the environment continue to be managed effectively. Over time, we will review the rules that apply to each of these chemicals in our reassessment work programme to ensure they are fit for purpose.”

More than 150,000 hazardous substances are approved for use in New Zealand. Approvals do not expire; the only way they can be amended or revoked is through a formal reassessment process. Reassessments can be complex, lengthy, and costly – with some costing more than $1 million.

“We now have a dedicated team focused on progressing these reviews, with several reassessments currently underway including for the log fumigant methyl bromide and the horticultural spray ingredient hydrogen cyanamide,” says Siobhan Quayle.

EPA New Zealand, 4 November 2020