Main content area

Status of Alternatives for Methyl Bromide in the United States

Johnson, Judy A., Walse, Spencer S., Gerik, James S.
Journal of Biofuels 2012 v.23 no.2 pp. 53
agricultural industry, environmental law, fumigants, methyl bromide, pollution control, soil, United States
Methyl bromide (MeBr, CH3Br) is used in the agricultural sector as a broad-spectrum biocidal fumigant for soils, commodities, wood packing materials or structures, targeting pest insects, nematodes, weeds, pathogens and rodents. MeBr was identified as a chemical that contributes to the depletion of stratospheric ozone, and its production and use are subject to regulation under the US Clean Air Act. As one of the original signatories of the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States ratified the Protocol in 1988. Amendments to the Clean Air Act were enacted in 1990 to include Title VI on Stratospheric Ozone Protection to ensure that the United States would satisfy its obligations under the Protocol. The United States committed to a gradual reduction of MeBr use, leading to a near complete ban on January 1, 2005. The Montreal Protocol and the US Clean Air Act allow yearly requests for Critical Use Exemptions (CUEs); Quarantine and Preshipment (QPS) applications as well as emergency uses are also exempt from the ban.