Methyl bromide deadline and alternatives

The deadline for the compulsory recapture or destruction of methyl bromide emissions at the end of fumigation has been extended to 28 February 2022. Find out what it means for you and what we're doing as the deadline approaches.

What is methyl bromide?

Methyl bromide is a highly effective fumigant used for treating primary products for export – as well as imported goods – to control quarantine pests. It is a colourless, odourless, non-flammable gas that:

  • is toxic to humans
  • can damage the Earth's ozone layer.

Current uses

Many importing countries require products like logs and timber to be treated (for example, by fumigation or heat treatment) to control quarantine pests. Fumigation of forest products (logs and timber) for export accounts for 94% of methyl bromide use in New Zealand. Fumigation with methyl bromide is the main treatment option for above-deck log exports to China and is the only feasible option for log exports to India.

Fumigation of other export goods and imported goods to manage biosecurity risks account for the remaining 6% of use.

New requirements and potential trade effects

The deadline for methyl bromide users to adopt recapture technologies is now 28 February 2022. The previous deadline for recapture was October 2021.

The export of logs to markets like China and India could be reduced significantly without an efficient recapture process or a substitute treatment available that is accepted by trading partners.

What we're doing

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is discussing various phytosanitary options with our trading partners. Research into effective alternative phytosanitary treatments such as ethanedinitrile (EDN) to replace methyl bromide has been completed. MPI has submitted the research results to key trading partners for assessment and negotiation.

The Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction Inc. (STIMBR) and the chemical company Draslovka applied to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to register EDN for use in New Zealand and the application is under consideration.

MPI methyl bromide update – June 2021 [PDF, 313 KB]

Find out more

Importing countries phytosanitary requirements

FAQs: ​Phytosanitary fumigation for export logs and timber products – STIMBR

Methyl bromide annual reports – EPA

Who to contact

If you have questions about methyl bromide, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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