The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to slowly wind down the use of methyl bromide in the United States. Friday they issued an order in the Federal Register (76 FR 29238-29240) canceling the registration of methyl bromide for certain soil fumigation uses as requested by the manufacturers. The sale of methyl bromide fumigants for these uses will not be allowed after varying dates (depending on the use) as late as December 31st, 2014. The continued use of ‘existing stocks’ may be allowed for up to 120 days after the termination of the registration.
This order does not terminate all registered uses of methyl bromide as a fumigant, but it will significantly reduce the total usage of this toxic inhalation hazard chemical that is known to have a deleterious affect on the concentration of ozone in the upper atmosphere. This atmospheric affect is the reason that methyl bromide use is being phased out world wide.
As long time readers of this blog are certainly aware, I continue to be concerned that DHS has not included methyl bromide on it list of chemicals of interest (COI) for the CFATS program. It was removed from the proposed list of Appendix A chemicals at the request of EPA because its use was being phased out. Here it is, almost four years later, and methyl bromide is still ‘being phased out’ and will continue in that mode for at least another two and a half years.
As long as methyl bromide continues to be used a fumigant it will continue to pose the same sort of security threat as other TIH chemicals. DHS certainly needs to strongly consider adding methyl bromide to Appendix A in the current on-going review of that list of COI.