Call for an immediate ban on imidicloprid

Filed in Blog, Food, Agriculture & GMOs, Policy by on August 24, 2018

So I know we celebrated when PMRA announced its proposed decision to ban two neonics earlier this month.  But we said at the time there’s more work to do.  It’s time to push for an immediate ban on imidacloprid, the neonic in longest use in Canada. August 29 is the last day for public input.

Imidacloprid is used in seed treatments for cereals and crops such as peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.  It’s also used as a foliar treatment (sprays) and soil application for horticultural crops.

Health Canada’s PMRA issued its pollinator assessment report on imidacloprid last May saying that, while risks to human health are acceptable, the insecticide poses environmental threats to aquatic insects and pollinators.

They’re proposing a mixed bag of action – phasing out foliar application on orchard fruit, some tree nuts, and most small fruit and berries, soil uses on berries, some ornamentals and herbs, and outdoor-grown fruiting vegetables, cucurbits, and legumes. There will be changes to the timing of foliar application on some tree nuts, strawberries, grapes, fruiting vegetables, legumes, potatoes, peanuts, tobacco, hops, and some herbs and additional protective label instructions for cereal and legume seed treatment uses.

But wait! You may recall that last November PMRA proposed a three-to-five-year phase out of all agricultural uses and a “majority of other outdoor uses” of the product, citing the chemical’s presence in waterways at levels harmful to aquatic insects.

PMRA says it will consider what you and the public has to say on their pollinator re-evaluation and, in December 2018, it will issue its final decision that combines its findings on aquatic insects and pollinators.

I believe there’s no choice but to go ahead with a full ban. Imidacloprid poisons aquatic insects that birds, fish and small animals depend on.  Finally, the pollinator assessment shows environmental threats to bees!

Remember that European Union countries have agreed to ban all use outdoors of neonicotinoids effective end of 2018 – neonicotinoids in question will only be allowed in permanent greenhouses where exposure of bees is not expected.

As you might guess, there is vigorous push-back by the Canadian Horticultural Council, Cereals Canada, Pulse Canada and Bayer Crop Sciences to name a few ag industry players.

So it’s so important that you lend your voice now to call for an immediate ban on imidacloprid. You can send your letter of support to the Minister of Health.

PMRA says it will put the two re-evaluations together and report in December on their combined plan.  Canada should act now to ban imidicloprid effect end of 2018.

Beatrice Olivastri

Comments are closed.