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Methyl bromide

This page explains what methyl bromide is used for, why it is hazardous and how its use is controlled in New Zealand.

Use of methyl bromide

Methyl bromide kills all pests from microbes to insects and weeds. It is used to fumigate imported goods being held in quarantine and some export products such as logs and fruit.

Methyl bromide was previously also used to fumigate soil for crops such as strawberries and tomatoes.

Management of methyl bromide in New Zealand

Methyl bromide is an extremely toxic and ozone depleting substance. Its use is controlled under the Ozone Layer Protection Regulations 1996 and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

It can only be used for quarantine and pre-shipment (QPS) purposes. Importing methyl bromide for non-QPS purposes was phased out in 2005. 

Treatments required by a government agency as part of an official control programme are considered to be for quarantine or pre-shipment purposes. Methyl bromide used voluntarily for quality control reasons is not QPS and is not permitted.

Find out more

Official use of methyl bromide [Ministry for Primary Industries website]

Import permits for methyl bromide [Environmental Protection Authority website]