Methyl Bromide Phase-out
The use of methyl bromide is for preplant fumigation and other uses is being phased under the provisions of The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Under the international treaty, Parties to the Protocol are attempting to reduce the production and use of substances that deplete the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. The Protocol was first agreed to in 1987 and has been amended several times since. Several specific chemicals and classes are affected by this Treaty including, among others, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and hydrobromofluorocarbons. Methyl bromide was added to this list in 1995.
The methyl bromide phase out began with freezing production and import of the fumigant at the 1991 use levels. From 1995 to 2005, incremental decreases in use were planned (developing countries have until 2015) with the exception of allowable critical use exemptions (CUE) and quarantine and preshipment exemptions (QPS).
The Pacific Area-wide Program for Integrated Methyl Bromide Alternatives was initiated at the targeted end of the phase out and has focused on several agricultural industries dependent on CUE and QPS methyl bromide soil fumigation.
More information on ozone layer protection, ozone-depleting chemicals, and related science and policy issues can be found online. A few starting points: