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Information @ a Glance

General Information

  • Bromomethane, commonly known as methyl bromide, is an organobromine compound with formula CH3Br.
  • It is colorless, odorless, nonflammable gas is produced both industrially and particularly biologically.
  • It has a tetrahedral shape and it is a recognized ozone-depleting chemical.
  • Bromomethane is found in the ocean, where it is most likely formed by algae and kelp. Other names for bromomethane include methyl bromide, mono-bromomethane, and methyl fume.

Process

  • It is also produced in small quantities by certain terrestrial plants, such as members of the Brassicaceae family. It is manufactured for agricultural and industrial use by reacting methanol with hydrogen bromide.
  • The Methyl Bromide Recapture System limits the maximum concentration of methyl bromide emitted in to the atmosphere to 500 ppm, and reduces emissions during fumigation by up to 97%.

Uses

  • Methyl bromide, which has been in widespread use for some 30 years, is used for all types of stored dry foodstuffs, particularly for produce in bags, cases or other packages.
  • Its use for large loose bulks of foodstuff, when it may be used alone or in admixture with ethylene dibromide or with carbon tetrachloride, is more limited.
  • It is also used for the treatment of soil before sowing or planting, especially in glasshouses, against nematodes, weeds and other organisms and also in plant quarantine operations, including disinfestation of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Bromomethane is also a precursor in the manufacture of other chemicals as a methylating agent, and has been used as a solvent to extract oil from seeds and wool.

Report

  • The United States, Italy, Japan, Israel, and Spain are the largest consumers of methyl bromide for pre-plant soil applications. Together, these countries comprise nearly 70 percent of methyl bromide consumption for this end use.
  • In the U.S., about 21,000 tons of methyl bromide are used annually in agriculture, primarily for soil fumigation, as well as for commodity and quarantine treatment, and structural fumigation. Globally, about 72,000 tons are used each year, with North American use the highest (38%), followed by Europe (28%), Asia (22% - includes Israel and the Mid-East), with South America and Africa combined using the least (12%).
  • Methyl bromide is one of the top five most widely used pesticides in the world today. Eighty seven percent of methyl bromide is used by farmers prior to planting to eradicate all fungus, nematodes, microorganisms, and weeds from the soil to avoid destruction of the crop.
  • In the U.S., methyl bromide is used mainly for tomato, strawberry, and bell pepper crops. California is the largest user, followed by Florida.
  • In Australia, bromomethane (methyl bromide) is the preferred fumigant required by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) for most organic goods imported into Australia.

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