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Vertebrate Toxic Agents (VTAs)

Vertebrate Toxic Agents (VTAs) can harm humans and the environment if not used correctly. You need to follow the rules for handling, using and storing them to protect yourself, other people, and the environment.This page contains information to assist pest controllers on managing these hazardous chemicals. Some fumigants are used for vertebrate pest control, for example magnesium phospide (Magtoxin). Refer to the fumigants page for more information.


Rules for using VTAs

All approved hazardous substances have rules for safe use and storage. Find out what rules (controls) apply to your VTA by searching the Approved Hazardous Substances with Controls register.


Controlled substance licence

Anyone who manufactures, sells, uses, stores or disposes of cyanide, 1080, DRC 1339, yellow phosphorus and some pindone products will need a controlled substance licence (CSL).



If you are using a VTA during a pest control operation, you may need permission from the Department of Conservation (DoC) and/or the Public Health Unit (PHU) of the local District Health Board. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) maintains oversight of the issuing of permissions.

Read more about permissions



Many VTAs are required to be tracked. These include:

  • DRC 1339
  • 3-chloro-p-toluidine hydrochloride
  • Potassium cyanide
  • Sodium cyanide
  • Yellow phosphorus
  • Sodium fluoroacetate (1080)
  • PAPP
  • Pindone
  • Microencapsulated zinc phosphide (MZP)


Tracking is the recording of what happens to the substance throughout its lifecycle. To buy a tracked substance your supplier will need to confirm there is an approved handler available, and that the site has a location test certificate if needed.


Test certification requirements

Depending on the type and amount of VTAs held at your site, you may require one or more of the following test certificates:


If you are unsure about your test certification requirements, contact a test certifier for advice.

As a general rule, you should keep the quantities of hazardous substances stored on your site to a minimum. In this way the risks may be reduced and the need for test certification reduced.


Last updated 15 September 2017


On Monday 4 April 2016, the New Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) came into effect.

HSWA repeals the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, with immediate effect.

All references to the 1992 Act on this website and within our guidance will be progressively removed.