Using methyl bromide

Record keeping requirements

Methyl bromide record of all use form

Anyone who uses methyl bromide must keep a record of the details of every fumigation performed using a Record of all use form. These records must be kept for five years.

The same form is used for non-Quarantine and Pre-Shipment (non-QPS), and Quarantine and Pre-Shipment (QPS) records of use.

For feedstock users of methyl bromide please see the section below for record keeping requirements.

Summary record of all use form

In addition to the Record of all use form, anyone who uses methyl bromide must also keep a summary record of fumigations performed using a Summary record of all use form. The forms record a summary of methyl bromide use over a six month period from 1 January and 1 July of each year during which the person uses methyl bromide for a non-Quarantine and Pre-Shipment, or Quarantine and Pre-Shipment application. The summary record must be kept for five years. The same form is available for non-Quarantine and Pre-Shipment, and Quarantine and Pre-Shipment records of use.

For feedstock users of methyl bromide please see the section below for record keeping requirements.

Feedstock users of methyl bromide

For each day that methyl bromide is used as a feedstock, permit holders must keep a record of:

  • the date the methyl bromide was used
  • the amount used, and
  • what chemical or chemicals the methyl bromide was used to manufacture.

Permit holders may use their own record keeping systems to record their use, and these records must be kept for five years. Permit holders are required to present these records for examination if requested by the Department of the Environment.

Reporting requirements

Report of all use of methyl bromide by critical use exemption holders form

Exempt persons are required to keep a record, using the Report of all use of methyl bromide by critical use exemption holders form provided by the Department of the Environment, of the details of every use of methyl bromide under their critical use exemption, including where a contractor performs the fumigation. Exempt persons are required to provide that record to the Department of the Environment by the 14th of January and 14th of July of each year. It is the responsibility of exemption holders to ensure that they are using the correct form.

If a fumigation is performed by a contracted fumigator, the contractor must sign the record after each entry to verify the details on the form are correct. The details of who each exempt person has nominated to supply methyl bromide in their exemption year, and their allocated amounts, are contained in the Non-Quarantine and Pre-Shipment Exemption List for that year. Exempt persons should note that they may only purchase methyl bromide from their nominated supplier/s in the list for the relevant year.

Exempt persons cannot use methyl bromide for any other non-Quarantine and Pre-Shipment other than the approved critical use.

Exempt persons cannot sell or transfer methyl bromide to any other user without the written approval of the Department of the Environment.

Feedstock users of methyl bromide

Feedstock permit holders must report to the Department of the Environment within 21 days of the end of a permit year:

  • the quantity of methyl bromide used as a feedstock in the year, and
  • what chemical, or chemicals, the methyl bromide was used to manufacture.

If no methyl bromide was used as a feedstock during the permit period, permit holders are still required to report this to the Department of the Environment.

Uses of Methyl Bromide

Quarantine and pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide

The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995 state that methyl bromide is used for Quarantine and Pre-Shipment if:

  • it is applied by, or with the authorisation of, a Commonwealth, state or territory authority to prevent the introduction, establishment or spread of a pest or disease in Australia, state or territory, or
  • it is applied to a commodity, before it is exported, to meet the requirements of the importing country or a law of the Commonwealth.

The definition of Quarantine and Pre-Shipment uses relates to official actions. Contractual or commercial requirements alone do not qualify for the exemption. Further information on official Australian requirements is available below:

Examples of pre-shipment, quarantine, and feedstock that may meet the definitions under the Act

Pre-shipment: An overseas country has an official requirement to have the export of wheat fumigated with methyl bromide as a phytosanitary precaution against the introduction of unspecified stored product pests, such as red flour beetle or rice weevil - any fumigation must take place within 21 days of export.

Quarantine (export): An overseas country has an official requirement to have the export of cotton seed fumigated with methyl bromide to protect against the introduction of a specific fungus in order to protect their cotton industry.

Quarantine (import): An importer is required to either treat (eg methyl bromide or ethylene oxide), re-export or destroy an imported commercial consignment of goods made from natural forest materials, such as bamboo, which has not been treated off-shore and/or is not accompanied by an acceptable treatment certificate.

Quarantine (domestic): Branched broomrape is a declared pest in Western Australia and is subject to control. Soil fumigation using methyl bromide or metham sodium is advised to kill seeds.

Further information on official Australian requirements:

Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (international movements)

Enquiries about commercial intrastate movements (import and export) must be made with relevant State authorities.

Consignments may also be treated prior to export to Australia. To decrease the high quarantine risk posed by ineffective fumigation treatments performed offshore, the Department of Agriculture has established the Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme (AFAS). AFAS provides assistance for capacity-building for overseas quarantine agencies (or equivalent), in respect to monitoring and registering fumigation providers, and also assists fumigators in maintaining a high standard of methyl bromide fumigation performance and compliance with Australian requirements.

Feedstock uses

Feedstock is defined in the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 as 'an intermediate substance which is used to manufacture other chemicals'.

For example: Methyl bromide is introduced into an industrial process in order to synthesise, in combination with other chemicals, a new compound. In doing so, greater than 98 per cent of the methyl bromide is consumed in the reaction process.

Non-Quarantine and Pre-Shipment

Non-Quarantine and Pre-Shipment uses of methyl bromide are defined as all other uses that do not fall within the Quarantine and Pre-Shipment or feedstock definitions and require a critical use exemption under the Montreal Protocol.

While methyl bromide Quarantine and Pre-Shipment use is not subject to phase-out under the Montreal Protocol, some countries have indicated that they plan to stop, or have already stopped, using methyl bromide for some or all of their Quarantine and Pre-Shipment uses. An example is the European Union which banned methyl bromide for all uses on 18 March 2010.

In Australia, methyl bromide is used to protect our significant biosecurity and trade interests. Quarantine controls at Australia’s borders minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia and protect our $32 billion agriculture export industries as well as our environment and tourism industries and lifestyle.

Australia continually reviews its understanding of Quarantine and Pre-Shipment uses of methyl bromide, including quantities used, commodities treated, reason for treatment, possible alternatives and options to reduced methyl bromide use, such as reduced dosage, recapture and, where permitted, re-use.

Relevant issues for Australia include:

  • quarantine standards required by Australia and our trading partners must be adequately maintained, noting that the development of accepted quarantine strategies is a protracted process, involving bilateral negotiations and substantial research and proving trials
  • alternatives are based on sound science and are registered for appropriate use in Australia
  • consideration of methyl bromide recapture and reuse as part of the solution, and
  • recognition of current constraints in infrastructure at some Australian ports, particularly with respect to the logistics of fumigating some grain stores and fumigation in some just-in-time systems.

Review of issues relating to the use of methyl bromide used by other agencies

Methyl bromide was reviewed by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) in 2007. The APVMA is the Australian government statutory authority responsible for the assessment and registration of pesticides and veterinary medicines, and for their regulation up to and including the point of retail sale. The APVMA released the Methyl Bromide Final Review Report and Regulatory Decision review in June 2007. The report recommended that the methyl bromide usage labels:

Contact details

For further information about your obligations under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations, to receive hard copies of any of the forms, or to discuss any methyl bromide issue, please contact:

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas International Team
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Phone: +61 2 6274 1373
Fax: +61 2 6274 2849
Email: ozone@environment.gov.au