INTRESO writes to EU Commission to highlight availability of alternatives to sulfuryl fluoride

  • EU Commission Standing Committee on Biocidal Products on 21 June will vote on a proposal to ban sulfuryl fluoride due to risks to human health posed by its use.
  • Sulfuryl fluoride, a synthetic greenhouse gas used to fumigate agricultural and forestry products traded inside and outside of the EU, is extremely harmful to the environment. 
  • INTRESO’s effective and environmentally sustainable alternatives to sulfuryl fluoride, EDN™ and BLUEFUME™, are drop-in replacements for the chemical and already used internationally in countries such as Spain, Slovenia, Czech Republic, France, Germany Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Korea, Turkey and South Africa.

Antwerp, Belgium, 19 June 2024 – International Treatment Solutions (INTRESO) Group has written to the EU Commission’s Standing Committee on Biocidal Products to highlight the availability of safe, effective and environmentally sustainable alternatives to sulfuryl fluoride, ahead of a 21 June meeting which will consider a ban of the chemical for the preservation treatment of wood [PT8], and as an insecticide and acaricide for the control of insects and arachnids [PT18]. 

On 21 June, representatives from EU Member States will vote on a proposal to ban the use of sulfuryl fluoride, an extremely harmful synthetic greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 4500 times that of carbon dioxide, for these fumigation purposes. In what amounts to an effective ban, the EU is considering withdrawing approvals for the continued biocidal use of sulfuryl fluoride, due to a lack of data on the potential risks to human health posed by the chemical. 

INTRESO Group produces BLUEFUME™, a highly effective and environmentally sustainable drop-in replacement for sulfuryl fluoride. BLUEFUME™ is the latest iteration of a tried and tested chemical, HCN, successfully used around the world for decades. INTRESO Group’s product is fully approved in numerous markets including in the EU, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Morocco and South Africa. Most recently, it has been put through rigorous testing and approval processes in Australia in 2023, with subsequent regulatory approval demonstrating impressive results against the latest standards. 

Effective and economical, BLUEFUME™ breaks down into naturally occurring substances, meaning it also has a far lower environmental footprint than sulfuryl fluoride. 

Besides being a Biocidal Product, sulfuryl fluoride is also a Plant Protection Product for the treatment of tree logs exported from the EU. In which case, additionally, INTRESO Group’s proprietary product, Ethanedinitrile (EDN™), is a highly effective and environmentally sustainable drop-in replacement for sulfuryl fluoride and has already been approved for the fumigation of timber and wood products in countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Malaysia, Uruguay, South Africa and Turkey. EDN was also successfully used over successive years in the Czech Republic under emergency use authorization during their recent bark beetle outbreak. This demonstrates that other major agricultural exporters have moved faster than the EU in approving alternative chemicals which adhere to stringent modern safety and environmental standards.

Moreover, INTRESO Group has registered eFUME™ containing ethyl formate which is Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status by US FDA. eFumeTM is used for edible dry stored products and fresh fruits commodities for controlling insects in Australia and New Zealand. It is in the process of submission in the EU. 

Commenting on the potential new restrictions on the use of sulfuryl fluoride in the EU, Kade McConville, Executive Director of INTRESO Group said: 

“The claims that there is no available and highly effective alternative to sulfuryl fluoride for biocidal and plant protection use are simply not true. Our products, including EDN™ and BLUEFUME, are drop-in replacements that have been shown to be efficient under a wider set of climatic conditions than sulfuryl fluoride. With increasing evidence as to the harms to human health and the planet resulting from sulfuryl fluoride, it is vitally important that EU decision-makers consider and understand the fact that alternative solutions are readily available for use in European fumigation, and that whilst sulfuryl fluoride is a tool, it is not the only tool in the toolbox. 

Ahead of this pivotal vote, I have written to the Commission to make clear that our innovative, environmentally sustainable solutions already provide an effective alternative to sulfuryl fluoride in forward-thinking countries with some of the strictest biosecurity standards, including Australia and New Zealand.”