Canada to phase out outdoor use of two neonicotinoid pesticides

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is proposing to cancel all outdoor uses of clothianidin and thiamethoxam. According to Health Canada, the two neonicotinoid pesticides are being measured at levels that are harmful to aquatic insects.

"Protecting the health and safety of Canadians and their environment is a priority for the Government of Canada. That is why Health Canada regularly reviews all pesticides to make sure they continue to meet modern health and safety standards", they explain. "Following special reviews for two neonicotinoid pesticides, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has found that these substances are being measured at levels that are harmful to aquatic insects."

These aquatic insects, which are a source of food for fish, birds and other animals, are an important part of the ecosystem. "Based on these findings, Health Canada is proposing to phase out all outdoor agricultural and turf uses for clothianidin, and all outdoor agricultural and ornamental uses for thiamethoxam in the next three to five years." 

Health Canada has published proposed special review decisions for both pesticides. These proposals will be subject to a 90-day consultation period, during which stakeholders and interested parties can submit comments on the proposed decision and provide additional data for consideration. Final special review decisions are expected to be announced at the end of 2019 and will take into consideration any comments or new information received during the consultation period.

Earlier this year the European Union also decided to prohibit several neonicotinoids. They included the active ingredient Imidacloprid as well. "gricultural pesticides containing active ingredients Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam and Clothianidin may therefore in future be used only in permanent greenhouses and for the treatment of seeds cultivated in greenhouses. The relevant plants may not be planted out into open fields but must remain in the greenhouse until harvested or used", they explained.

Canada is going further. "Health Canada is proposing to cancel all outdoor uses of clothianidin and thiamethoxam on food and feed crops, including seed treatments, and on turf over three to five years", is written in the proposal. 

According to their reports, the chronic level of concern for freshwater invertebrates clothianidin and thiamethoxam concentrations detected in vegetables (seed treatment or foliar spray, depending on the type) frequently exceeded the chronic level of concern for freshwater invertebrates. 

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