Health Canada proposes ‘significant restrictions’ on pesticide to help protect bees

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Health Canada has proposed implementing “significant restrictions” on a common pesticide to help protect bees.

The Government of Canada has said it will consult with Canadians on its latest proposal to preserve the insects and other pollinators from exposure to imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide.

Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment of the pesticide and looked at its effects on these creatures, finding some uses to be a risk to bees. Their proposed restrictions include the cancellation of some uses, restrictions on the timing of use, and new product labels.

Consultations on this proposed decision will be open to the public for 90 days, with a final decision on the overall use of imidacloprid in Canada expected to be made in December 2018.

“Comments received during this consultation will be considered along with input from previous consultations, including separate restrictions that were proposed in 2016 to protect aquatic insects,” Health Canada said in a statement. “Health Canada’s primary objective in regulating pesticides is to protect the health of Canadians and the environment. All pesticides must undergo a rigorous science-based review before being approved for sale in Canada.”

Quick facts

  • Three important neonicotinoids are currently approved for agricultural use in Canada: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam. Re-evaluations are currently under way for all three pesticides.
  • Imidacloprid is often used as a coating on crop seeds to prevent insects from eating the seeds and to protect the plants as they grow. It can also be sprayed onto plants or bare soil, and used as a granular application on turf grass or as a tree injection.
  • There has been a 70-92% decrease in reported bee deaths or other adverse effects since Health Canada implemented previous actions to protect bees from the dust from the planting of corn and soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoids.

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