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Fact Sheet - Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: The 2012 Critical Use Exemption from the Phaseout of Methyl Bromide


The Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer phased out methyl bromide on January 1, 2005, apart from allowable exemptions. Critical use exemptions may be available for those uses that the Parties to the Protocol agree have no technically or economically feasible alternatives.

This action exempts the production and import of methyl bromide to meet the needs of critical uses in 2012. This amounts to only 4% of the methyl bromide used in the U.S. in 1991.   This action reflects a consensus decision taken by the Parties to the Protocol in November 2010. With this action, the EPA is allowing 760 metric tons of methyl bromide to be produced or imported and 263 metric tons to be drawn from pre-phaseout inventory for critical uses in 2012. This action also establishes the uses that qualify for the 2012 critical use exemption.


Methyl bromide is an odorless, colorless gas used to control a variety of pests in a range of agricultural industries. For example, it is used by growers of minor crops, such as tomatoes and strawberries, to fumigate the soil prior to planting.  

The EPA issues separate rules on an annual basis to provide notice and comment on the amount of methyl bromide to be made available for specifically identified critical uses during each calendar year. This rule is consistent with Decision XXII/6, which was agreed to at the 22nd Meeting of the Parties in November 2010. 


For further information about this action, contact Jeremy Arling of EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs at (202) 343-9055.

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