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.

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 DRC-1339, cyanide, 1080, yellow phosphorus, PAPP and MZP will need a controlled substance licence.

Controlled substance licences


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.

 EPA Guidance - Permissions(external link)


Many VTAs are required to be tracked. These include:

  • 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 a competent person available, and that the site has a location compliance certificate if needed.

Our page on Tracking Hazardous Substances outlines the requirements relating to tracking.

Compliance certification requirements

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

Location compliance certificates

Certified handlers

Stationary container certificates

If you are unsure about your compliance certification requirements, contact a compliance certifier(external link) 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 compliance certification reduced.