When Will The Methyl Bromide Be Phased Out Completely Through The World?

Date: 2015-11-09

Methyl Bromide, commonly known as Bromomethane, is an organobromine compound with formula CH3Br. This colorless, odorless, nonflammable gas is produced both industrially and particularly biologically.

The fumigants commonly used Methyl Bromide, it has a tetrahedral shape and it is a recognized ozone-depleting chemical. As such, it is subject to phase-out requirements of the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances
Under the Protocol, the U.S. and other developed countries will be prohibited from producing or importing methyl bromide for domestic use after 2004, except for quarantine and preshipment uses and for temporary “Critical Use Exemptions” granted for approved uses. The international phaseout is already reducing the supply of methyl bromide. Supplies for the U.S. and other developed countries were first reduced in 1999 by 25 percent from a 1991 baseline. The reduction reached 50 percent in 2001 and is scheduled to reach 70 percent in 2003. Developing countries are on a slower timetable, with complete phaseout scheduled for 2015.

However, did the above schedule succeed? Did the goal of complete phaseout Bromomethane be achieved? The answers are no. as a survey revealed there still have over 60K tons of Methyl Bromide were produced in ever year, more than 97% of them was used as fumigants, that means the Montreal Protocol on regulation of Methyl Bromide didn’t work very well.

It was said there was hard to research into alternatives to Methyl Bromide, one promising, but expansive, method is steam-sterilization. Heating the soil to 150 degrees for a short period seems to work as well as fumigation, but is 5 times as expensive as chemical treatments.

However, one alternative now being considered by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is Telone, which is produced by Dow Elanco, a major Chemical company. Telone is a category I toxic chemical, as toxic as methyl bromide but not an ozone depletor. Telone is believed to be a known carcinogen and is very harmful to humans and animals. It is difficult to understand the rational of the (EPA), with its knowledge of consumer and environmental issues, considering such a dangerous product for approval as a replacement for methyl bromide. Telone kills nematodes but not fungus, or weeds.

Under the circumstance, there is still a long way to completely phase out Methyl Bromide, which is a strong ozone depletor.

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