WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2018
The Environmental Protection Authority is to investigate products containing synthetic pyrethroids as part of its
revamped reassessments programme, announced in mid-October.
Synthetic pyrethroids are insecticides found in some fly sprays, insect repellents, automatic insect dispensers, bed bug
treatments, and animal flea collars and treatments.
The EPA has announced a call for information as it seeks more detail, from New Zealand households and commercial users,
on how and where products containing these substances are being used.
General Manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances Group, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter says: “Synthetic pyrethroids (which are
not the same as the naturally occurring pyrethrins derived from chrysanthemums) are hazardous substances. They should be
used with care and product label instructions strictly followed.
“New information from international regulators in the United States, Canada and the European Union has identified
certain risks to people and animals from the use of products containing synthetic pyrethroids. These warrant further
“This information concerns risks to children from accidental exposure to flea collars and treated carpets, as well as
people reporting a burning or prickling sensation, known as paraesthesia, after coming into contact with synthetic
pyrethroids,” says Dr Thomson-Carter.
“It is important to clarify that synthetic pyrethroids, and products that contain them, are not banned. The call for
information signals the Authority’s first step in exploring whether a reassessment is necessary.
“The public, industry and manufacturers of the chemicals, can support our call for information by completing a response
form on our website which will help us build a more detailed picture about their use in New Zealand.
“We have also issued a Caution Notice
which provides concerned members of the public with up-to-date guidance about the safe use of products that contain
synthetic pyrethroids,” says Dr Thomson-Carter.
“The call for information will close on 1 February 2019. Once this is completed, the EPA will use this information to
determine what the next steps are.”