The EPA is presently conducting a reassessment of hydrogen cyanamide (HC), a budbreak enhancer used widely in kiwifruit orchards in New Zealand. Use of the chemical is found to increase the quality of fruit, while also lower costs of production and labour requirements. However, initial assessments of HC indicated that the risk to operators, bystanders, and the environment were above levels of concern, thereby triggering the reassessment process.
Typically, a reassessment includes comprehensive consideration of economic, human health, and environmental impacts. In this case, however, due to strong industry concern regarding mental health effects stemming from a ban or a phase-out, the EPA have also commissioned a Social Impact Assessment (SIA). This report, containing said SIA, will be considered by the Decision-Making Committee (DMC), and used to inform their decision as to the reassessment of HC.