WASHINGTON (CN) – Strawberry growers in North Carolina and Tennessee will no longer be allowed to use methyl bromide as an insecticide, under new Environmental Protection Agency restrictions.
Under the Clean Air Act, production and consumption of methyl bromide were phased out in 2005 except for exemptions granted for the use of pre-phase out stocks for applications the EPA has determined as critical uses.
Methyl bromide is an odorless, colorless gas once commonly used as a broad-spectrum pesticide. Though toxic, methyl bromide was phased-out of production because of its ozone-depleting qualities, under the Montreal Protocol.
The protocol is the international agreement for the reduction and elimination of stratospheric ozone-depleting chemicals. Each year, under the terms of the agreement, signatory nations must petition for critical use authorizations on behalf of domestic industries.
The EPA regulates the critical use process in the United States, reviewing applications submitted by different industries, and deciding which exemptions to submit to the United Nations Environment Programme, which administers the protocol.
Other changes from the 2011 critical use exemption list include a reduced scope of approval for the National Pest Management Association’s post harvest fumigations, removing use of methyl bromide in food processing facilities.
International Paper and Weyerhaeuser Company did not apply for the exemptions they received in 2011 for use on forest nursery seedlings and on beans.
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