File Ref: ENQ-32557-B0T7G7
16 November 2017
Via: [FYI request #6657 email]
Dear Mrs Brown
Official Information Act Request
I refer to your request for information clarified on 18 October 2017 regarding correspondence the
Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has had in relation to the assessment of the environmental
effects of glyphosate.
Our response below provides information on the history of glyphosate and the approval process for
products containing glyphosate, as the EPA does not hold correspondence regarding the assessment
of the environmental effects of glyphosate as a substance by itself. We hope you find this useful in
understanding how the environmental effects of glyphosate and products containing glyphosate have
History of glyphosate
Glyphosate is an active ingredient in a variety of different herbicides, and was first approved in New
Zealand in 1976. This was prior to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO)
coming into force, and the formation of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), the
EPA’s predecessor, in 1996. The first assessment of the environmental effects of glyphosate was
undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (now the Ministry for Primary Industries),
therefore the EPA does not hold correspondence about the assessment of the environmental effects
of glyphosate dating back to 1976.
The approvals for the import or manufacture of herbicides containing glyphosate that occurred prior to
the HSNO Act coming into force were transferred into the HSNO regime in 2004 via a legislative
instrument called a transfer notice. At this time, ERMA carried out an assessment of the
ecotoxicological hazards of glyphosate, primarily sourcing data from publicly available databases.
EPA approval process
There are approximately 60 approvals for products containing glyphosate as the active ingredient.
The EPA continues to receive and process applications for products containing glyphosate under the
HSNO Act. When a person wishes to import or manufacture a product which contains differing levels
of glyphosate to those which are already approved, a new approval is required. When deciding
whether to grant an approval, EPA staff and decision makers take into account a range of factors,
including requirements of the HSNO Act and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms
(Methodology) Order 1998.
One of these requirements is the assessment of the environmental effects of the product. There are a
range of environmental effects that the EPA takes into account, and we undertake a variety of
assessments and modelling. This will determine appropriate controls to be placed on a substance to
minimise and/or mitigate the environmental effects of the substance. EPA scientists may correspond
with the applicant about the product. This correspondence would be in regard to specific products
containing glyphosate, not the assessment of glyphosate as a substance by itself.
The approvals for products containing glyphosate are informed by robust and up-to-date scientific
analysis. The decision documents for the approvals each contain an analysis of various
environmental effects. These decision documents can be found on the EPA website. A link to an
example of a decision document is provided below, as well as a link to the HSNO Application Register
on the EPA website, where further decision documents can be found.
Example decision document:
HSNO Application Register:
The controls placed on approved products containing glyphosate can be found on the EPA website
using the link below.
We hope that the above information addresses your request sufficiently. If you have any further
queries, please do not hesitate to contact Frances Charlett-Green on frances.charlett-
or 04 474 5533.
Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Environmental Protection Authority