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Red alert following toxic fungicide ban

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/04/2017

The Environmental Protection Authority has issued its first-ever red alert after cancelling its approval for four kinds of fungicides commonly used by Kiwi gardeners.

The notice has been issued in an effort to warn the public about the dangers of using products containing chlorothalonil, a pesticide used to control fungal leaf diseases in plants, EPA chief executive Allan Freeth said.

"Chlorothalonil is acutely toxic, especially if inhaled, and is classified as a suspected carcinogen," he said.

"The European Union has banned its use in consumer products. The US and Canadian authorities are also concerned about the dangers it represents to domestic users."

The agency has now revoked its approval of four products containing the chemical, including: Yates Bravo, Yates Greenguard, Yates Guardall and Tui Disease Eliminator.

"However, it is important to note that they do not make up an exhaustive list: they are only the products of which we are currently aware," EPA's general manager of hazardous substances, Fiona Thomson-Carter, said.

Products containing the chemical won't be allowed to be manufactured or imported into New Zealand after May 11, and the sale will be banned November 11.

A fifth approval has also be tightened, meaning the products will be confined to commercial operations.

That approval covers products McGregor's Black Spot and Fungus Spray, Watkins Fungus and Mildew Spray, and Taratek 5F.

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