The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the USDA have decided to slow the market exit of the fumigant methyl bromide to allow for exempted production and import beyond the phase out date of Jan. 1, 2005, for critical uses and to address sales of pre-Jan. 1, 2005, stocks of methyl bromide for critical uses.

The initial phase-out was part of the agreement in the Montreal Protocol For Substances That Deplete The Ozone Layer signed in 1987. The U.S. plans to phase out methyl bromide as soon as acceptable alternatives are successfully registered. The Specialty Crop Competitiveness Act, signed by President Bush on Dec. 21, 2004, appropriates $5 million annually to USDA to develop alternatives to methyl bromide and authorizes the USDA Secretary of Agriculture to elevate the priority of developing methyl bromide alternatives.

Methyl bromide is widely used on over 100 crops, in forest and ornamental nurseries, and in wood products.

Source: Association Release