Who wants to eat more pesticides in your corn flakes?
Did you know you are entitled to know everything about the drugs doctors prescribe and nothing about the pesticides applied to your food?
Did you know Health Canada wants to allow residual glyphosate in food at levels higher than allowed in Europe and the United States?
If you didn’t it’s likely because of Health Canada’s lack of transparency.
At the end of November, an article by Marc-André Gagnon and Marie-Hélène Bacon was published in the Canadian Journal of Medicine presenting a reasoned scientific argument for greater transparency in the approval of pesticides used in Canada.
They point out Health Canada refuses public access not only to scientific data, sales and use information. This prevents researchers from effectively studying the health impacts of pesticides like glyphosate. They cite the experience of one organization that submitted an Access to Information request to obtain the studies supporting the Health Canada decisions. After one year, 229 totally blank pages were received from Health Canada.
Friends of the Earth Canada, has been fighting this battle with Health Canada in the public, in direct meetings and, most importantly, in the courts for more than a decade. We have waited as long as three years to get responses to Notices of Objection to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA’s) decisions. We have appealed to the courts, and we have current cases pending. Our Notice of Objection to PMRA’s decision on the longest used neonic, imidacloprid, was filed in July 2021 – still no response.
Health Canada is feeling the heat. Last year in an attempt to quell our concerns and avoid further criticism of its cozy relationship with the big pesticides companies, PMRA set up the Science Advisory Committee on Pest Control Products.
This past July, the co-president of the committee, Professor Bruce Lanphear, resigned because of the committee’s inability to access product safety data, stating that he believed the industry had too strong an influence over pesticide regulation.
The pesticide industry, not satisfied with its overwhelming influence over Health Canada and the cloak of secrecy it provides, has enlisted a member of Parliament to sponsor a bill that will automatically approve a pesticide or seed treatment if it has been approved by two “trusted” countries thereby avoiding any testing or study in Canada.
It’s nearly 2024 and Health Canada continues to protect the interests of pesticide companies.
Isn’t it time to end the three year waits, the blank pages, and most importantly, ensure we have fewer pesticide residues on our food?
Friends of the Earth Canada continues the fight to hold Health Canada accountable and protect people and the planet from pesticides.