A United States-based chemical engineer has rubbished claims that no safe alternative exists for fumigating export timber and logs. New Zealand's Environmental Protection Authority has recently allowed the industry to apply to have a critical deadline extended on the use of methyl bromide.
The Authority said eight years ago that users would need to have new technology in place by 2020 to collect and store the used gas after fumigation, preventing its spread into the atmosphere.
Methyl Bromide is described by the EPA as an "extremely toxic and ozone-depleting substance" and is banned except for use on logs and timber products for export, as part of quarantine requirements.
The group representing logging and timber exporters, and which has been trying to find an alternative, has convinced the authority it cannot meet that deadline.
Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction chair Don Hammond said that when the 2010 decision was made there was an expectation that technology would have been created by now to recapture methyl bromide and, most importantly, destroy the used material.