Application for approval to
IMPORT, RELEASE FROM CONTAINMENT, OR USE, ANY HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE IN
under section 47* of the
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
*This form has been used to apply for approval to use a hazardous substance in a special emergency under Section 49 of the HSNO Act.
Name of Substance(s): Sulfuryl fluoride Gas Fumigant
Applicant: Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry
Office use only
Application Code: Date
ERMA NZ Contact: Initial Fees Paid: $ Application Version No: .
Section One – Applicant Details
1.1 Name and postal address in New Zealand of the organisation making the application:
Name: Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry Address: PO Box 2526
Phone: (04) 894 0259 Fax: (04) 894 0735
1.2 The applicant’s location address in New Zealand (if different from above):
Address: Pastoral House
25 The Terrace
1.3 Name of the contact person for the application:
Name: Jeanette Drysdale Position: Consultant Address: PO Box 72 275
Phone: (9) 299 9435 Fax: (9) 299 6434
Email: [email protected]
Section Two – Application Type and Related Approvals Required
2.1 These types of applications can only be made for a limited range of situations, listed below. Which of these is relevant to your application?
Import the substance(s) only? Yes/No
Provide for release of the substance(s) from containment only? Yes/No Import and provide for the release of the substance(s) from
Use a substance(s) in an emergency in a manner that would otherwise
contravene HSNO Yes/No
2.2 Give details why the substance(s) is/are necessary to deal with the emergency.
It is intended to use sulfuryl fluoride as a fumigant on a building that is harbouring termites.
Sulfuryl fluoride was transferred to the HSNO substance Register under the Dangerous Goods & Scheduled Toxic Substances Transfer Notice (2004). Sulfuryl fluoride has not however been approved as a fumigant under the HSNO Act. An application to support grounds for reassessment of sulfuryl fluoride as a fumigant has previously been made by another party but was never progressed to a reassessment application. This takes time and is not compatible in dealing with an immediate biosecurity risk.
The building to be fumigated is a private dwelling. The termite is the West Indian Drywood termite (Cryptotermes brevis) and was imported unknowingly within one or more wooden articles 10 years ago. The infestation was detected when residents of the house observed flying alates emerging from a wooden object in February 2011. Alates are the reproductive stage of the termite and flights occur in spring/summer. If termite alates start a new colony it usually takes at least 5 years for the new colony to produce alates. It is not known if previous alate flights have occurred in the house.
After the initial discovery MAF inspected the infested house and found six colonies in wooden items in four separate locations in the house. It is not known how many of these colonies were imported with wooden items 10 years ago and how many have formed in the house as a result of alate flights from imported colonies. However, evidence suggests some of the colonies have been formed in New Zealand, i.e. that there have been previous successful alate flights in the house. It is possible there are colonies in the structural timbers of the house that cannot be easily accessed for inspection.
MAF have assessed the biosecurity risk as high and it meets the criteria for an Emergency to negate this risk as soon as possible and before any further alate flights might occur. The high risk and life cycle of the termite and colony establishment also means that a 10-year surveillance programme is planned to ensure eradiation is achieved.
The Minister for Biosecurity, Hon. David Carter, has declared a special emergency pursuant to section 49B of the HSNO Act. This declaration has been made in the New Zealand Gazette (19/5/2011) and is attached as Appendix F.
MAF have considered other possible treatment options including localised chemical treatments, other fumigants and possible physical treatment options. This has included a literature search of treatments used overseas and communications with persons with expertise with termites and eradication options. Fumigation of the structure is identified as the only option, without destroying the building, and ensuring all termites in the house have been destroyed. Sulfuryl fluoride is the fumigant of choice as it is used overseas for structural fumigation, e.g. USA, and Australia, and for control of the drywood termite.
There are also fewer side effects to articles, e.g. tainting or corrosion, compared to other fumigants that could be used.
A HS3 Containment approval has not been used as the fumigation procedure will require release of the fumigant to atmosphere and MAF also require a 10-year approval so they can conduct ongoing fumigation should the need arise as they carry out an on-going long- term surveillance programme of the affected dwelling and immediate area.
2.3 If this substance(s) needs an approval under any other legislation, has an application for this approval been made?
Name of Approval Application made
Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997 Yes/No/NA
Food Act 1981 Yes/No/NA
Medicines Act 1981 Yes/No/NA
Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1996 Yes/No/NA
Radiation Protection Act 1965 Yes/No/NA
Biosecurity Act 1993 Yes/No/NA
Resource Management Act 1991 Yes/No/NA
Other (please specify):
*Advice was sought from the local Council that the planned fumigation (tented building) would be allowed as a
Section Three – Information on the Substance(s)
3.1 State the unequivocal identification of the substance(s).
Chemical name: Sulfuryl fluoride
Trade name: PROFUME™ GAS FUMIGANT
CAS No: 2699-79-8 Molecular formula: F2O2S Molecular weight: 102.06 Structure:
Purity: 998 g/kg
3.2 Provide information on the chemical and physical properties of the substance(s).
Form: Gas *
Boiling point: -55.38 0C Melting point: -135.82 0C Specific gravity: 1.35 @ 20 0C Vapour density: 3.5 (air = 1)
Vapour pressure: 15.2 atmospheres @ 20 0C Solubility: 4 to 5 ml (as gas)/100 ml water
750 mg/L water @ 25 0C
* transported as liquefied compressed gas
Dow AgroSciences PROFUME™ GAS FUMIGANT Material Safety Data Sheet, 27 January 2011
National Library of Medicine HSDB Database: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov
3.3 Provide information on the hazardous properties of the substance(s).
Explosiveness Not explosive.
Neither flammable nor combustible.
No oxidising properties reported.
Not identified as a corrosive substance.
Sulfuryl fluoride is listed on the HSNO Register (HSR001381) with the following toxicity hazardous classifications:
6.1C (oral) rat, LD50 100 mg/kg 6.1C (inhalation) rat. LC50 991 ppm 6.3B skin irritant 6.4A eye irritant
6.8B suspected reproductive/developmental toxicant 6.9A presumed target organ/system toxicant
In addition, the literature identifies sulfuryl fluoride as a respiratory irritant. Symptoms of exposure may be nausea, vomiting, cramps, itching and central nervous system depressant.
Adverse effects have been identified in the brain, CNS, kidney, lung, respiratory tract and thyroid gland.
Sulfuryl fluoride is transported as a compressed liquefied gas and the liquid may cause frost bite if contacted with skin.
Sulfuryl fluoride is listed on the HSNO Register (HSR001381) with a 9.3B terrestrial vertebrate ecotoxicity hazardous classification. This is on the basis of the acute oral rat LD50 given above.
However test data has been found (Anon, 2007 a) referencing data relevant to the aquatic toxicity; zebra fish LC50(96 hr) 0.96 mg/L, Daphnia magna EC50 (48 hr) 0.62 mg/L and green algae (Selenastrum capricornutum) EC50 (72hr) 0.80 mg/L. This indicates a 9.1A classification.
Product information identifies bioconcentration as being low (BCF < 100 or Log Pow < 3).
Potential for soil mobility is high; Koc estimate is 6.124.
The hydrolysis half life is stated as between 18 minutes and 3 days so is expected to biodegrade rapidly.
Toxicity to terrestrial invertebrates is given as high; LC50 or EC50 between 0.1 and 1 mg/L, although the HSNO substance listing did not show a 9.4 classification.
Anon, 2007a ; APVMA Review o
Anon, 2010 ; National Library of Medicine HSDB Database: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov
Anon, 2011 : Dow AgroSciences PROFUME™ GAS FUMIGANT Material Safety Data Sheet, 27 January 2011
EPA New Zealand website: www.epa.govt.nz
Section Four – Management of the Substance(s)
The sulfuryl fluoride fumigant will be managed as if this substance were an approved fumigant and with Controls applicable to existing approved fumigants listed in the Fumigants Transfer Notice (Gazette Notice 140). Sulfuryl fluoride is already an approved substance under the HSNO Act and is listed in the Dangerous Goods Transfer Notice (Gazette Notice 35 and 128). These Gazette Notices are accessible from the EPA website (www.epa.govt.nz). Sulfuryl fluoride will be required to be secure (under lock and key), under the control of an Approved Handler and subject to the Tracking Control. As the substance is to be used as a fumigant a Controlled Substance License (CSL) is also required.
Therefore a local fumigator will be on-site for the fumigation and while sulfuryl fluoride will not be listed on that person’s CSL, that person will have the knowledge of HSNO regulations and for managing hazardous fumigant gases. Records will also be available for quantities of substance imported, used, held in storage and disposed of.
A Safety Data Sheet is available from the overseas supplier and this will have a supplementary sheet to include additional information specific to HSNO requirements and New Zealand contact information.
The active ingredient is manufactured overseas (Appendix A) and is packaged in UN compliant high pressure steel gas cylinders manufactured to the DOT3AA standard and with an approved valve aperture and fitted with a safety bonnet. Sulfuryl fluoride is a gas but is packed as a compressed gas (liquid). The sulfuryl fluoride concentration is 998 g/kg and each cylinder contains 56.7 kg of product. The cylinders weigh 103kg so overall weight (cylinder plus gas) is 159.7 kg.
No manufacture of sulfuryl fluoride or filling of gas cylinders will be undertaken in New Zealand.
Sulfuryl fluoride would be imported on an ‘as needs’ basis from the overseas supplier (Appendix A). One or perhaps two cylinders may be required to fumigate a single dwelling.
An extra cylinder or two would be available in NZ should the fumigant be needed for another fumigation in the same area.
A pre-fumigation visit will be made to the affected building and the void volume calculated to determine how much sulfuryl fluoride will be required to be imported.
Cylinders will be imported into NZ as sea freight. Cylinders will be labelled with the overseas label (Anon, 2007b) and transported under UN No 2191, SHIPPING NAME:
Sulfuryl fluoride, identified as a Class 2.3 and as a MARINE POLLUTANT.
Transport within NZ is expected to be by road using a suitable freight company approved for transport of gas cylinders with a toxic classification. Cylinders will need to be transported upright and securely loaded.
Cylinders will be stored at a location approved for storage of cylinders that contain other existing hazardous gases used for fumigation (Appendix A). Cylinders will be stored upright and securely chained so they will not fall over. The site will be secure (locked up) and not accessible to unauthorised people.
MAF will notify the local community of the biosecurity issue and the measures to be taken (initial fumigation and on-going surveillance). Community consultation may be needed. In addition notifications specific to the fumigation process will be made.
A leaflet will be delivered to properties within 100 metres of the affected property (Appendix B) about 1 to 2 weeks before the fumigation This will advise of the termite infestation and the surveillance programme to be undertaken and the need to fumigate the current affected building. At 3 to 4 weeks before the proposed fumigation date the neighbours (about 10) will be called and then information on termites will be delivered. At 1 to 2 weeks before fumigation, personal visits will be made to these neighbouring properties (Appendix B) so any questions can be dealt with and to arrange inspection/surveillance of those properties.
The people in the affected dwelling will be required to vacate their property for the fumigation and aeration period. Immediate neighbours (Appendix B) may vacate their properties for the fumigation period at their own discretion however this is not a requirement for neighbours as a matter of course when the fumigant is used commercially in Australia. Household pets and other domestic animals will also be removed from the building that is being fumigated. MAF will cover the cost of motel accommodation for those persons who evacuate for up to two nights.
When the fumigation is to be undertaken a public notification will be made. This will be at least 10 days but no more than 1-month before the proposed fumigation date The local Police, Fire Service Communication Centre, Medical Officer of Health and EPA will also be informed of the fumigation. At not less than 24 hours before the fumigation the nearest Fire Service Communication Centre and immediate neighbours will be notified of confirmation of the fumigation date.
The intended notifications are summarised in the next table.
Time period prior to
fumigation Stakeholder group Purpose
3 – 4 weeks Immediate neighbours
(about 10 properties) Call to advise of termite infestation and follow up with information on termites. Arrange to visit these properties.
1 – 2 weeks Immediate neighbours
(about 10 properties) Visits to these properties so any questions or concerns can be dealt with, and to arrange and time to carry out inspections on those properties.
1 – 2 weeks Local community (properties, occupiers within 400m of affected building
Advise (leaflet) of termite infestation, intention to fumigate building and that an on-going surveillance programme is to be undertaken
At least 10 days but not more than 1 month before
General public ,
Local Police Local Fire Service Communication Centre Nearest Medical Officer of Health
Public notice in local newspaper of intention to fumigate affected building within a specific timeframe ( proposed dates)
Phone call and letter Phone call and letter
Phone call and letter
Letter (or email) 24 to 48 hours before
intended fumigation date
Local Fire Service Communication Centre Immediate neighbours (about 10 properties)
Notice in letter box plus phone call or house visit
EPA Letter (or email) to confirm completion
Fumigation will be undertaken by an overseas fumigator trained in the use of this fumigant (Appendix A) and with undertaking fumigation of buildings with sulfuryl fluoride (Appendix C). A New Zealand fumigation company will also be providing local assistance with storage, transportation and the fumigation process. A local fumigator with an Approved Handler Certificate and Controlled Substance Licence (CSL) for other fumigants (Appendix A) will provide the supervision and actions (e.g. notification, signage requirements, person- in-charge, safety and precaution checks) required to meet the HSNO requirements.
A pre-inspection of the building to be fumigated will be undertaken and the building measured to determine the volume for fumigation and quantity of sulfuryl fluoride required. This inspection will also identify how many monitoring sensors will be required within the house (typically five throughout a 600 m3 building plus extras in the roof space, under floor space (when applicable) and exit end of fumigant delivery lines.)
The maximum recommended application rate is 1500 g.h/m3 CTP (concentration of sulfuryl fluoride x time of fumigation) Typically the recommended gas introduction rate is 600 g. h./m3. The maximum approved sulfuryl fluoride concentration is 128 g/m3
(approximately 30,7000 ppm) for all pests in all situations and would be applicable to a 12 hour fumigation period.
A cylinder contains 56.7 kg @ 998 g/kg = 56.59 kg (100% basis). A single cylinder would be sufficient to fumigate a volume of 442 m3. The building volume therefore directly affects the quantity of sulfuryl fluoride required. The table below summarises possible sulfuryl fluoride quantities based on the maximum dose concentration (128 g/m3.). The actual dose to be applied could be less but depends on the type of pest and conditions (infestation). The fumigation period will be determined by the void volume, concentration of sulfuryl fluoride to be applied, rate of application and target pest.
volume (m3) Amount (kg) of sulfuryl fluoride 1
1 based on maximum dose 128 g/m3
The pre-inspection visit is also where site/building site specific information is identified by the fumigator for identifying the amount of sulfuryl fluoride needed, the expected fumigation period and for preparing the site specific risk assessment, fumigation management operating plan and emergency response plan.
The windows, doors or other openings will be shut. Interior doors will be left open to allow the fumigant to disperse throughout the interior of the building. The building will be covered with a tarpaulin sheet(s). Edges will be folded and clipped and the outer perimeter edges made as gas tight as possible along the ground. Soil around the outside of the building and where the tarpaulin is held down, will be wetted with water.
Signage will be erected at the point of entry to the property and on all boundaries.
The sign will be erected immediately prior to commencement of fumigation advising what is being done, the fumigant being used, the hazards and toxicity to humans, the fumigators name (local fumigator with Approved Handler Certificate and CSL) and contact telephone number, fumigation date, and actions to be taken in case of emergencies. The signs at the entrances to the property will be illuminated so can be read at night. This may be
achievable with normal street lighting but if not, additional lighting will be used. On completion of the aeration period the signage would be removed.
A road runs along one side of the property and it is not intended to block this road or restrict access. However security will be provided to prevent possible bystanders congregating on footpaths within a 20 m zone.
A 3 metre exclusion zone will be used for the fumigators unless wearing personal protection equipment including SCBA. For bystanders the exclusion zone will be the immediate neighbouring properties or 20-metres (Appendix B). The immediate neighbours will be advised of the fumigant operation and recommendation made to vacate their properties for 36 hours if they are concerned. The 36 hour timeframe is based on an assumption the property has a void volume of 400 to 450 m3. If this timeframe is higher then adjustments will be required to the information provided to neighbours. The ventilation period is only as long as it takes for the sulfuryl fluoride concentrations in the
fumigated building to be < 1 ppm as recorded by the fumigator using a SFEexplor IR analyser post fumigation.
The fumigant will be introduced via a line into the tented structure. The ambient temperature will need to be 10 0C or above at the time of fumigation. The gas uses heat from the air. Fans will be needed to circulate the air, and also the gas as it is heavier than air.
A Fumiscope will be used to remotely monitor the gas levels during fumigation and afterwards. The fumigation period is expected to be 24 hours. Monitoring of the sensors will be undertaken at 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 and 24 hours. On completion of the fumigation period (concentration and time) aeration /ventilation commences. Aeration is monitored to ensure gas dissipation does not exceed a 3 ppm concentration around the perimeter of the covers.
Once the gas under the tarpaulin is < 3 ppm the tarpaulin covers will be removed. No entry into the building is allowed until the sensors record a sulfuryl fluoride reading of
‘zero’. The fumigator will then move through the building and analyse the air using a SFEexplor IR that can record sulfuryl fluoride concentrations down to 1 ppm. Once the fumigator determines the sulfuryl fluoride has dispersed using this instrument then the fumigation equipment is tidied up and removed. Only then is the occupier allowed re-entry to the building.
MAF intend to maintain a 10 year surveillance programme of the affected building with the current termite infestation. Properties within 100 m will be visited and monitored. If termite activity is detected following the initial fumigation then a further fumigation will be undertaken. This is an unlikely scenario but MAF cannot discount the possibility that previous alate flights may have already occurred and resulted in new colonies forming.
Termite colonies arising from alate flights may not become apparent for at least 5 years hence the need for the long term surveillance programme and approval to have access to the use of the sulfuryl fluoride fumigant for that period.
Cylinders and any unused sulfuryl fluoride will be returned to the overseas supplier for refilling of cylinders or disposal of residual gas.
Section Five: Identification and Assessment of Risks (and Adverse Effects)
Risks & Potential Adverse Effects
The West Indian drywood termite is one of the world’s most destructive drywood termites.
MAF have assessed the biosecurity risk to NZ as high and it meets the criteria for an Emergency to negate this risk as soon as possible and before any further alate flights might occur. The high risk and life cycle of the termite and colony establishment also means that a 10-year surveillance programme is planned to ensure eradiation is achieved.
MAF have considered other possible treatment options including localised chemical treatments, other fumigants and possible physical treatment options (Appendix D). This has
included a literature search of treatments used overseas and communications with persons with expertise with termites and eradication options. Fumigation of the structure is
identified as the only option, without destroying the building, and ensuring all termites in the house have been destroyed. Sulfuryl fluoride is the fumigant of choice as it is effective and is used overseas for structural fumigation, in USA and Australia, for controlling this drywood termite. There are also fewer side effects to household properties, e.g. tainting or corrosion than other fumigants.
It has been suggested that phosphine, already approved as a fumigant in New Zealand) be used instead. This option has been discussed with an expert Australian entomologist with firsthand knowledge of dealing with eradication measures for this West Indian drywood termite species and with specifically with using fumigants for eradication (Appendix E).
In summary the decision to use sulfuryl fluoride is supported by the following:
there is very little information in literature on the use of phosphine (a fumigant already approved for use in NZ, e.g. logs) to control wood pests, and we do not know of any experimentally or field trialled application rates for phosphine against this termite species (but we do with sulfuryl fluoride)
phosphine is not known to be used in structural fumigations, therefore no protocols are known (but we have protocols and a history of use for sulfuryl fluoride)
there are far greater risks of stability (e.g. flammability, corrosiveness) with phosphine (but low to none with sulfuryl fluoride)
under high humidity the phosphine can form phosphoric acid, and this has been observed in a situation in Australia when treating a large number of wood- framed paintings and it corroded the metallic gilding on the frames, resulting in a claim for compensation
even if we based a structural treatment on a known phosphine application rates (e.g. as used to fumigate logs) the treatment protocol would be far more logistically difficult, with long duration treatments (up to 10 days for phosphine vs 24 hours for sulfuryl fluoride) so increases the inconvenience and cost for all the stakeholders, and still with unknown effectiveness of phosphine against this drywood termite species.
Sulfuryl fluoride is listed on the ERMA Register (HSR001381) with the following toxicity hazardous classifications:
6.1C (oral) rat, LD50 100 mg/kg 6.1C (inhalation) rat. LC50 991 ppm 6.3B skin irritant
6.4A eye irritant
6.8B suspected reproductive/developmental toxicant 6.9A presumed target organ/system toxicant
Being a gas the greatest potential adverse health effects would arise from inhalation and contact with skin and eyes. The liquefied gas is cold and direct contact as a liquid could also cause frost bite effects.
The APVMA has reviewed toxicity data and potential health effects (Anon, 2007a) for sulfuryl fluoride as a fumigant. Minimum Operator Exposure (MOE) values were
calculated using a NOEL of 20 ppm and the background to these values is provided in the reference document. The sulfuryl fluoride gas is also colourless and odourless which can add to potential risks. It was concluded that those persons carrying out the fumigation are likely to be at risk to inhalation toxicity so protective measures would be required to safeguard their health. Therefore the sulfuryl fluoride fumigant will only be used by a person who is trained to use the product (Appendix C) and this will require someone from overseas at least in the short term, to carry out the preparation of the structure and actual fumigation. A local NZ fumigation company will also be involved and provide a fumigator (s) with Approved Handler certification and with Controlled Substance Licenses (CSL’s) to ensure the fumigant is managed in compliance with HSNO Controls and to give
assistance. This company will also provide the secure storage facility for the product.
In Australia then upper exposure level of 3 ppm was set by the Office of Chemical Safety and this concentration is used as the maximum concentration when monitoring around the perimeter of the 3-metre buffer zone during fumigation and aeration. No additional buffer zone is used. However for this application a secondary 20-m zone is also being proposed as an extra precaution for adjoining neighbouring properties for those persons to vacate if they are concerned and to be able to control possible bystanders from getting too close.
The 3 ppm concentration was calculated for re-entry purposes based on a NOEC of 300 ppm and Minimum Operator Exposure of 100. A re-entry statement is included on the product label (Anon, 2007 b) and safety instructions in the fumigator operating instructions (Appendix C). However in practice, no re-entry by the fumigator is made into the
fumigated building until the Fumiscope records a ‘zero’ reading from the sensors. The fumigator wearing personal protective equipment then enters the building with a
SFEexplor IR detector sensitive to < 1 ppm to check all rooms/confined spaces. Once this is done then access is possible without the need for personal protective equipment and the fumigation and aeration is complete. At that time the signage at the site entry and on boundaries could be removed.
The applicant will communicate with the local community about the biosecurity risk and the intention to fumigate and the on-going surveillance programme. Identification of possible alate flights in the coming spring/summer will be important. A notice to fumigate will also be communicated and the persons living in the affected dwelling and immediate neighbours will be asked to vacate for 36 hours. The sulfuryl fluoride air readings would need to be <3 ppm or less at the fumigation site before persons would be allowed back into neighbouring properties. Signage and security at the fumigation site will be required.
During the fumigation period a 3-metre exclusion zone will be in place around the tented building. Fumigators will be required to wear personal protection equipment and SCBA as they monitor the gas levels around the tarpaulin perimeter. Wetting the soil around the building and under when the tarpaulin is held down on the ground assists with preventing gas leaks. The tarpaulin covers will be set up to minimise leaks of the gas and this
monitoring will ensure no gas escape above the 3 ppm concentration. If the gas level is higher than 3 ppm the gas injection will stop and the leak remedied.
In Australia where sulfuryl fluoride has been approved by the APVMA as a fumigant for a number of end-uses including for food/feedstock, an ADI has been set at 0.01 mg/kg
bw/day. This was calculated by applying a safety factor to a NOEC of 20 ppm derived from an approximate dose of 1.4 mg/kg bw/d systemic exposure in a 24-month rat study (Anon, 2007a).
Perishable foods in the dwelling to be fumigated may need to be removed. Advice taken from the product manual states that food, feed, drugs and medicines (including those in refrigerators and freezers) and not stored in plastic are to be removed from the building prior to the fumigation. The alternative is to double bag items in Nylofume bags.
Glass or metal bottles, can or jars with the original seals intact would not need to be removed before the fumigation.
The HSNO Register (HSR001381) identified sulfuryl fluoride as a 9.3C (may be harmful to terrestrial vertebrates). However other information indicates 9.1A (highly toxic to aquatic life) and 9.4A (highly toxic to terrestrial invertebrates) classifications should also be applied (Anon, 2007 a)
An APVMA review included a summary of test data: zebra fish LC50(96 hr) 0.96 mg/L, Daphnia magna EC50 (48 hr) 0.62 mg/L and green algae (Selenastrum capricornutum) EC50 (72hr) 0.80 mg/L for biomass. This indicates sulfuryl fluoride is highly toxic in the aquatic environment. However as sulfuryl fluoride is to be used to fumigate a structure and not used as a soil fumigant the risk of mobility or distribution into ground water is low.
Sulfuryl fluoride is rapidly hydrolysed to fluorosulfate and fluoride in water. The estimated half-lives at pH 5.9, 7.0 and 9.0 are 3.1 days, 4.6 hours and 2.8 minutes respectively (Anon, 2007a).
The sulfuryl fluoride fumigation will be of an enclosed structure, i.e. under tarpaulin covers.
However the gas will be released into the tented structure and will disperse into the air. By use as a fumigant and the subsequent aeration of the structure, the gas will be released to the atmosphere. The APVMA review identified a low risk to terrestrial vertebrates as the atmospheric concentrations are unlikely to exceed 2.5 ppm. This is less than 1% of the most sensitive inhalational endpoint for the mouse of LC50 400 to 671 ppm (Anon, 2007a).
It has been estimated that the atmospheric life of sulfuryl fluoride is less than 4.5 years.
Emissions of sulphur originating from sulfuryl fluoride are likely negligible when compared to natural sulphur emissions.
The proposed use of sulfuryl fluoride in NZ for an initial fumigation of a single structure and possible future and occasional fumigations is unlikely to pose a significant risk except at the time of fumigation and when in close proximity to the point of release.
Exposure to soil is expected to be minimal and the gas would likely only access soil if there were a subfloor space under the building being fumigated. There is no indication from reviews of this gas as fumigant, of risk or adverse effects in soil.
5.1 Identify all of the potential risks of having the substance(s) for use in an emergency.
MAF have considered other possible treatment options including localised chemical treatments, other fumigants and possible physical treatment options. This has included a literature search of treatments used overseas and communications with persons with expertise with termites and eradication options (Appendix D). Fumigation of the structure is identified as the only option, without destroying the building, and ensuring all termites in the house have been destroyed. Sulfuryl fluoride is the fumigant of choice as it is used overseas for structural fumigation, e.g. USA, and Australia, and for control of this drywood termite. There are also fewer side effects to other articles, e.g. tainting or corrosion than for other fumigant options that could be used.
The termite species of concern is the West Indian drywood termite species (Cryptotermes brevis) which is a biosecurity concern and action is required to kill this infestation before further damage or spread occurs. This may not be straight forward as at least one flight of reproductive alates has already occurred, and an on-going long term surveillance
programme is needed.
One dwelling is affected. A fumigation of this building is planned. This may be immediately effective however there is a risk that more than one fumigation may be required.
The alate is the reproductive phase of the termite and a means to distribute the termite further afield perhaps as much as 100 m from the original termite colony. New termite colonies can take at least 5 years to become established and to produce their own alates.
MAF therefore need to maintain a long term (10 year) surveillance programme of the dwelling and immediate neighbourhood. If termite activity is confirmed then additional fumigation of specific structures will be required.
The sulfuryl fluoride fumigant has Toxicity and Ecotoxicity Classifications of:
6.1C (oral) 6.1C (inhalation) 6.3B (mild skin irritant) 6.4A (eye irritant)
6.8B (suspected reproductive / developmental toxicant)
6.9A (causes damage to organs/systems; single exposure 9.1A (expected to be very ecotoxic in the aquatic environment) 9.3C (harmful to terrestrial vertebrates)
9.4A (toxic to terrestrial invertebrates)
Risks arising from the use of sulfuryl fluoride will however be limited to specific one-off fumigations on a structure at a defined location.
MAF also needs to have an approval that allows a response appropriate to the biosecurity problem over a 10 year time-frame using a treatment with a known history of effectiveness for the target pest.
The proposed use will be specific to a location that is not strictly in containment as the sulfuryl fluoride will be released to the atmosphere although information available indicates it will disperse rapidly and able to be dissipated at a level of less than 3 ppm, a
concentration deemed safe in Australia where the fumigant is already used commercially.
Data on sulfuryl fluoride in the referenced documents also indicates the sulfuryl fluoride will degrade over time in the atmosphere.
The highest risks are confined to the fumigation activity and potential exposure to workers or bystanders. Using a fumigator from overseas who has training specific to the fumigant and firsthand experience of using this product will assist in managing potential risks to workers. The calculation of the quantity of sulfuryl fluoride required to achieve the target air concentration, preparing and sealing the structure under tarpaulin covers and
application of the gas and on-going monitoring are critical. The fumigators also need to wear appropriate personal protection equipment and follow documented procedures to use the fumigant safely. Site signage and security to advise of the hazard and to prevent
unauthorised access will be required.
Ensuring the local community and specifically immediate neighbours are informed, will be the responsibility of the applicant. People from adjacent properties will be advised to vacate for 36 hours (or longer if the fumigation period extends beyond this)should they have any concerns during the fumigation operation (but this is not obligatory). MAF will cover the accommodation cost. Domestic animals/pets will also need to be vacated. Other animals, e.g. rats/mice, and any insects that may be in the covered structure would be killed by the fumigation process. The fumigation will be disruptive to people’s normal routines and have a financial cost. However it is offset by the biosecurity risk and that fumigation may be a single immediate event and thereafter may only be an occasional event if at all and on an
‘as needs’ basis over the planned 10-year surveillance programme.
Table 1 provides an overview of the proposed management plan for the use of sulfuryl fluoride fumigant for this biosecurity emergency.
Table 1: Proposed Management Plan for use of the Sulfuryl Fluoride Fumigant
Risk Life cycle stage
Potential Adverse Effects Management Controls Packaging or fitting failure, e.g. leakage
Valve safety bonnet removed or damaged Incorrect storage of gas cylinders, e.g. on sides, unrestrained (may fall)
Incorrect or no label Storage location not secure
Storage where temperature exceeds 70 0C Non-approved transport operator (toxic gas)
I, T,S,U,D I, T,S,U,D I, T,S,U,D
S S T T
Single exposures to
fumigator/workers (exposure by inhalation, eye or skin effects) Single exposures to bystanders, also pets or animals (inhalation, eye irritation)
Release of high concentration (accidental release) to atmosphere (sulfuryl fluoride >3 ppm), or directly into soil or water
Material damage or residues; Sources of heat in fumigated structure may result in corrosive damage from
Package in UN compliant high pressure steel gas cylinders (DOT 3AA) and fitted approved valve fitting and covered with a safety bonnet ( Use gas-tight fittings that are UN compliant Cylinders with APVMA approved label
Imported in final packaging (56.7 kg sulfuryl fluoride per cylinder)
Imported as sea freight and only product sufficient to carry out the fumigation
Risk Life cycle stage
Potential Adverse Effects Management Controls Rough handling of cylinder when loading
or unloading (bumping, dropping, dragging)
Transport in unsuitable vehicle
Failure to notify ALL neighbours and affected parties of intent to fumigate and need to evacuate area for 36 hours (or longer if building void volume is bigger than expected) and to remove
pets/domestic animals as well
Not securing area ; keeping people out of area for period of fumigation and aeration
Lack of warning signage and/or incomplete information
Tented/tarpaulin covers over structure not suitable/not as gas tight as they should be, i.e. use of sealing tape around doors, windows, vents
Non approved fumigators used Fumigators not trained in safe use of sulfuryl fluoride fumigation
Not removing/disconnecting heat sources from within structure being
reactions of degradation products,
e.g. hydrogen fluoride Identify fumigant on documentation as UN No 2191, SHIPPING NAME :Sulfuryl fluoride, Class 2.3 and as MARINE POLLUTANT
A Safety Data Sheet will be available
Load/unload using hoist or weighing platform; do NOT use slings, roll , drag or drop cylinders.
Transport by road and cylinder locked or chained in upright position
Transport of cylinder(s) in open vehicle, i.e. not in same compartment as passengers
Storage of cylinder(s) at sites approved for toxic gases Stored upright in cool dry well-ventilated place If at any time the cylinder or fittings appear damaged or defective, the cylinder is to be isolated and returned to supplier.
Site management plan, site risk analysis and emergency response plan to be prepared (pre- inspection visit)
Notify authorities (Local Health Protection Officer, Fire Service, Police, EPA) of intent to fumigate.
Notification to immediate neighbours and persons in neighbourhood (with 400 m zone) where affected
Risk Life cycle stage
Potential Adverse Effects Management Controls fumigated
Not extinguishing pilot lights and disconnecting automatic switch controls or lighting equipment
Not making secure gas pilot lights or potential ignition sources
Not using suitable grade/quality tarpaulins to minimise gas loses and be resistant to abrasion and wind movement.
Fumigators not wearing personal protective clothing and SCBA Fumigators wearing gloves or rubber boots
Pets, domestic animals, food and perishables not removed from structure and neighbouring properties prior to fumigation
Not applying correct concentration of sulfuryl fluoride (maximum concentration 128 g/m3 and maximum use rate 1500 g- h/m3 CTP)
Introducing sulfuryl fluoride too fast into structure
structure located by;
-Leaflet drop to all properties within 400 m of surveillance programme
-Written notification of fumigation to
immediate neighbours (adjoining properties) and advice to vacate for 36 hours (or other time if this needs to be longer for larger building) if they have concerns while fumigation/aeration undertaken Fumigator from Australia who is experienced with using sulfuryl fluoride to undertake fumigation with assistance from local NZ fumigation company ( NZ fumigator on-site to have NZ Fumigation approval certificate)
Application and monitoring equipment from Australia or same as used in Australia
Tarpaulins/covers as described in product operating manual to be used. This is important to minimise gas loss and to resist disturbance by wind or damage from abrasion.
Remove pets, domestic animals from fumigated house and immediate neighbouring properties Remove pot plants from fumigated house
For house to be fumigated; remove any food items that are not in plastic, glass or metal bottles, cans or jars with the manufacturer’s original air-tight seal intact. Some items can be left, e.g. toothpaste. The
Risk Life cycle stage
Potential Adverse Effects Management Controls Exposure of workers to sulfuryl fluoride,
e.g. leaking or inappropriate equipment or inadequate ventilation
Exposure of bystanders to sulfuryl fluoride, e.g. not kept away from fumigation area or aeration following fumigation is incomplete
Damage/residues to articles, food Exposure of neighbours pets, domestic animals, also birds, to sulfuryl fluoride Not following operating manual procedures for use of sulfuryl fluoride Sulfuryl fluoride (uncontrolled) release to atmosphere
Contamination of soil
Contamination of ground water
U I, T, S, U, D
fumigator will need to advise the occupiers of what can be left or must be removed and check as part of pre-fumigation procedures.
Sources of heat and ignition to be removed/isolated, e.g. turn off pilot lights for stoves and hot water cylinders, disconcert power cords, e.g. heaters, automatic switch controls for appliances and lighting systems.
Check whether power needs to be disconnected;
provide alternative power source to drive ventilation system set up in structure for gas dispersion Fans assist with circulating the heavier than air fumigant gas and for aeration following the fumigation.
Fumigator to install circulation fans within structure Seal tarpaulin covers around outside of structure; turn over/fold joins and clip, use sand or water snakes.
Use water to wet soil around end of building and under tarpaulin edges in contact with ground.
Guidance in product operator manual on how to minimise leaks. [Leaks may not be completely preventable but any sulfuryl fluoride concentrations around perimeter of covers to not exceed 3 ppm.
Close external windows, doors, chimneys, vents. Lock external doors so no unauthorised persons can gain access. Leave internal doors open.
Risk Life cycle stage
Potential Adverse Effects Management Controls
Fill drains with water.
Check no conduits, connections or drains to other areas.
Place monitoring tubes in structure so air samples can be taken for checking fumigant concentrations.
Place gas entry points so liquid sulfuryl fluoride will not contact surfaces which may cause material damage.
Do final walk through of covered structure to ensure no one or nothing remains that shouldn’t be there then lock or secure access way.
Set up 3-metre exclusion zone around covered structure as zone where no one (fumigator) is to enter unless wearing personal protective equipment including SCBA
Set up additional perimeter buffer zone around the fumigated structure for exclusion of bystanders. This to be equivalent to the immediate adjoining
properties or 20 metres.
Provide security around the perimeter buffer zone and signage identifying the hazard pictogram, the fumigant, date of fumigation, contact details (name, address. Telephone number) and emergency
Risk Life cycle stage
Potential Adverse Effects Management Controls
Calculate amount of sulfuryl fluoride fumigant required (volume of structure and target
concentration) and introduce at 600 g-h/m3 CTP note b Do not exceed the maximum concentration 128 g/m3
note b and maximum use rate 1500 g-h/m3 CTP.
Fumigation to proceed if ambient temperature is greater than 50C but 10 0C or higher ideal (otherwise heating required)
Two fumigators required (as safety precaution) when fumigant is released into structure, for re-entry prior to aeration and during the initial stage of the aeration period.
Ensure personal protection equipment (PPE) is available and breathing apparatus has good seal on face and sufficient air available.
Fumigators to wear loose fitting long sleeve shirt, long pants, shoes and socks. Gloves and rubber boots NOT to be worn.
Only remove cylinder valve protection bonnet and safety cap just prior to use of the gas.
Open valve slowly then completely (1 turn) so the valve and induction hose do not frost up.
Do NOT use this valve to regulate the flow of
Risk Life cycle stage
Potential Adverse Effects Management Controls sulfuryl fluoride.
Release fumigant gas through leak-proof hose (flexible, kink resistant, durable, compatible).
Introduce sulfuryl fluoride slowly into the structure to prevent ‘fog out’note c or ballooning of tarpaulin tent Scales may be needed if the part cylinder contents are to be used as one measurement application of gas usage is by weight change in cylinder.
Monitor potential gas escape around perimeter edge of tarpaulin covers during fumigation. If above 3ppm then clear area of people unless wearing PPE
including SCBA. Stop fumigation, remedy leak(s) then continue.
Close cylinder valve when finished or cylinder empty and refit safety cap and bonnet cover.
Use monitoring equipment for sulfuryl fluoride concentration and to determine accumulated dose for fumigation (Spectros-IR ppm –monitor in house fumiscope)
Monitor sulfuryl fluoride concentrations both inside and outside the structure
Fumigation for required time then ventilation.
PPE and SCBA to be worn within 3-metre zone until
Risk Life cycle stage
Potential Adverse Effects Management Controls
sulfuryl fluoride is <3 ppm and after fumigation within structure unless < 1 ppm.
Ventilation of the structure is to be planned taking into account the fumigant concentration, weather (wind, temperature), layout of the building Bystanders including neighbouring property inhabitants to be allowed back once 3 ppm or less concentration achieved and covers have been removed.
Complete records of use
Remove fumigation covers, equipment, signage Check empty cylinder is closed, safety bonnet fitted and returned to supplier for refilling.
Any unused cylinders or part used cylinders to be returned to secure location (for toxic gases) until needed for another fumigation or for return to supplier.
a Lifecycle stages
I = Importation, T = Transport, S = Storage, U = Use, D = Disposal
b CTP is the dose (concentration of sulfuryl fluoride x time of fumigation) and this is the converted to a gm-hr/m3 value to take account of the volume of the structure to be fumigated. Other factors affect the rate such as temperature and expected fumigation time (i.e. longer times require lower concentrations; shorter time will require a high concentration of fumigant).
c Fog out is a term used to describe excessive cooling of air that may occur if the fumigant is introduced too quickly and/or if there is inadequate air circulation
5.2 Provide an assessment of the risks identified in Section 5.1 which might be significant.
Table 2 is a summary of risks with the proposed management controls in place, e.g.
approved packaging, identification, secure storage, use of specific trained personnel, following operating procedures, monitoring of atmosphere in fumigated structure, notifications and evacuation of immediate neighbours and pets/animals, signage and security.
Table 2: Summary of Risk for use of Sulfuryl fluoride for fumigation of an infected structure (‘as needed’ basis Note )
Risk Likelihood Magnitude of effect
Environment Human Level of risk Adverse effects to
people from transport or storage discharge
- bystanders Unlikely
Insignificant Adverse effects on
people by exposure to gas during use as fumigant By inhalation
- workers - bystanders By eye contact
- workers - bystanders By dermal contact - workers - bystanders
Unlikely Very unlikely
Not applicable Not applicable
Not applicable Not applicable
Not applicable Not applicable
Insignificant Adverse effects to
during use as fumigant Unlikely Moderate Not
Note : a single structure has been identified with termite infestation so fumigation of this building is the immediate priority. Subsequent fumigations are unlikely but may be required if the fumigation is not immediately successful or new infestations are confirmed.
Section Six – International Considerations
6.1 ERMA New Zealand is interested in whether this substance (or any of its components) has been considered by any other regulatory authority in New
Zealand or by any other country. If you are aware of this, please provide details of the results of such consideration.
Profume™ Gas Fumigant (sulfuryl fluoride at 998 g/kg) has been approved by the Australian regulatory agency APVMA for a number of fumigant uses including for structures.
Reference: Anon, 2007a, APVMA Report,
Sulfuryl fluoride has also been used in the USA (as Vikane™) for more than 40 years as a structural fumigant. The US EPA has recently brought in changes/restrictions to
approvals for use on food. However that is not relevant to the proposed use of sulfuryl fluoride for this application.
Section Seven – Miscellaneous
7.1 Provide a glossary of scientific and technical terms used in the application.
ADI Acceptable Daily Intake MOE Minimum Operator Exposure NOEC No-Observed-Effect-Concentration NOEL No-Observed-Effect-Level
PPE Personal Protection Equipment ppm parts per million
SCBA Self Contained Breathing Apparatus CTF Concentration x Time
7.2 Provide here any other information you consider relevant to this application not already included.
Section Eight– Summary of Public Information
8.1 Name of the substance(s) for the public register:
Sulfuryl fluoride fumigant
8.2 Purpose of the application for the public register:
To import and use sulfuryl fluoride as a fumigant on a structure for biosecurity purposes where the West Indian drywood termite species (Cryptotermes brevis) is suspected or confirmed.
8.3 Use Categories of the substance(s):
Main category: 3
Industry category: 0 Function/Use category: 39
Sub category : Fumigant
8.4 Executive Summary:
Sulfuryl fluoride in the form of a compressed gas (liquid) is to be imported in UN
compliant steel cylinders (56.7 kg capacity ) and valve fitting fitted with a safety bonnet for use as a fumigant on a structure(s) identified as having a drywood termite infestation.
Sulfuryl fluoride is listed on the HSNO Register (HSR001381) but has not been previously assessed and approved for use as a fumigant. The listed hazardous classifications are 6.1C (oral, inhalation), 6.3B, 6.4A, 6.8B, 6.9A and 9.3B. Other data available indicates 9.1A and 9.4A classifications may also be applicable.
Sulfuryl fluoride is approved and is used overseas as a fumigant for structures, e.g.
buildings, and label claims include for the control of the drywood termite. No other fumigant currently available in NZ can be used for this application that has a known history of effectiveness against this termite species and without potential side effects on other materials in the building. The drywood termite presents a significant biosecurity risk to New Zealand. Termite reproductive alates have already been observed and there is
evidence new colonies have formed in the house which indicates the potential for an undetected colony or colonies to exist in the house. Fumigation of the whole structure is the best option for dealing with this infestation.
MAF intends to have a surveillance programme in place for 10 years. This will include the current infested dwelling and other buildings in the immediate vicinity (within 100 m).
New colonies can be established following alate flights but can take at least 5 years to become established and to produce their own alates. MAF therefore requires an effective fumigant as a response tool to fumigate the current structure and then, if necessary, in subsequent years that building again and possibly neighbouring buildings.
Potential risks and consequential adverse effects will be managed by notification to affected persons (neighbours) and other stakeholders, use of an overseas approved sulfuryl fluoride fumigant product, having an overseas fumigator who is trained and has experience with use of this specific fumigant, having a local fumigator as well who is an Approved Handler and with a Controlled Substance License (Fumigants) who can manage the HSNO Control requirements and provide an approved storage location, using a 3-m buffer zone exclusion zone around the fumigated building and an additional 20-m zone to keep bystanders away, erecting signage at the entry and boundaries to the property, and restricting access and following the product operating manual procedures for fumigation and ventilation.
Prior to any fumigation occurring, persons in the immediate area will be notified of the termite problem and planned actions for fumigation and fumigation of the affected property. The sulfuryl fluoride will be imported and a fumigator trained to use the substance will travel to NZ to carry out the fumigation. The house owner will be required to vacate their property while the fumigation is undertaken and immediate neighbours will be advised to vacate their properties if they have any concerns. The building will be covered with a gas-tight tarpaulin, doors/openings to the building will be closed and other access points sealed. The fumigant will be injected with sufficient gas for the calculated airspace. The maximum concentration will be 128 g/m3 and fumigation will be at an ambient temperature of 10 0C or higher. The fumigation period is expected to be 36 hours but the process is not completed until the gas levels inside the building are < 1 ppm. . On- site monitoring of gas levels will be undertaken at 2-hourly intervals from sensors placed inside the building during the fumigation and ventilation period . The fumigator will also monitor gas levels around the edge of the covered structure. If a 3 ppm level is exceeded then fumigation will halt until the leakage point(s) is identified and remedied. The tarpaulin covers will be removed once the gas levels from the sensors are < 3 ppm. . The fumigator wearing personal protective equipment will enter the structure and check sulfuryl fluoride concentrations. There will be no entry by authorised persons to the structure until the sulfuryl fluoride is zero. The house owner is likely to be kept away from the fumigation area for at least 36 hours.
The imported sulfuryl fluoride in UN compliant gas steel cylinders and fittings will be stored in an upright position and in a secure approved location until required. One or two cylinders may be held in NZ at any time should MAF requires access to the fumigant.
Empty cylinders and any unused product will be returned to the overseas supplier for re- use or disposal.
Anon., 2007a: Evaluation of the new active sulfuryl fluoride in the product PROFUME GAS FUMIGANT; APVMA, Canberra, Australia; September 2007.
Anon., 2007b: PROFUME™ Gas Fumigant label
Anon , 2010 Sulfuryl fluoride: National Library of Medicine HSDB Database:
Anon., 2011: PROFUME™ GAS FUMIGANT, Dow AgroSciences Material Safety Data Sheet, 27 January 2011
ERMA New Zealand : www.ermanz.govt.nz
Appendix A Fumigant information
Appendix B Fumigation site related information Appendix C Operating Manual
Appendix D Eradication treatment options
Appendix E Justification for use sulfuryl fluoride vs phosphine
Appendix F Minister for Biosecurity, Hon. David Carter, approval of a special emergency pursuant to section 49B of the HSNO Act.
Mandatory sections filled out Yes/No
Appendices enclosed Yes/ NA
Initial fee enclosed Yes/No
Application signed and dated Yes/No
Electronic copy of application e-mailed to ERMA NZ Yes/No