Many have written to me about joining the #EUand phasing out neonicotinoids pesticides. Your advocacy has paid off!
Via The Toronto Star:
In what is being hailed as a victory for troubled bee populations, the federal government is moving to ban the outdoor use of pesticides that are widely applied to canola, corn and soybean crops in Canada, the Star has learned.
Beekeepers and environmentalists have blamed the pesticides — called neonicotinoids — for contributing to honeybee die-offs in recent years. On Wednesday, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) will announce a plan to phase out the outdoor use of two neonicotinoids — thiamethoxam and clothianidin — over three to five years due to concerns about their effects on aquatic invertebrates, according to two people who were informed in advance of the decision this week.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor declined to confirm details of the announcement before it is made Wednesday.
John Bennett, senior policy adviser for Friends of the Earth Canada, has campaigned for restrictions on neonicotinoids since 2013 and said he was briefed on the proposed phase-out in a conference call Monday. He said Ottawa’s decision, while focused on aquatic life, will help bees because of links between increased die-offs and the planting of neonicotinoid-treated seeds reported in recent years.
“This is a major change,” Bennett said. “It’s just very exciting to see that they’re finally starting to take it seriously.”
Jim Coneybeare, a third-generation beekeeper in Wellington County and president of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, was also informed of the decision and said the phase-out can’t come soon enough.
Coneybeare and Bennett said Wednesday’s announcement will be similar to the PMRA’s proposal in November 2016 to phase out the third neonicotinoid used in Canada, called imidacloprid. The PMRA reported at the time that high volumes of the pesticide in the environment were “not sustainable” and harmful to aquatic insects that are important sources of food for fish, birds and other animals.
“This is something we’ve said all along. You can’t just dump this stuff out into the environment and not see effects,” Coneybeare said. “And it’s not only affecting honeybees; it’s affecting a lot of things.”
If finalized, the proposals would see Canada follow the European Union, which banned the outdoor use of these pesticides over concerns about honeybees in May.
The latest survey from the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists reported bee colony losses of 32.6 per cent over the winter months in 2018, the highest level since 2009. According to Health Canada, no single factor has been identified as the cause of these bee declines: loss of habitat, diseases, viruses, and pest infestations may be to blame, alongside pesticide exposure.
In 2012, responding to concerns about a rise in bee deaths, the PMRA launched a review of neonicotinoids and their effects on pollinators. Two years later, the PMRA concluded that dust blown up when seeds treated with the pesticides are planted was contributing to bee deaths, and worked with growers to ensure a new, dust-reducing lubricant was used on planting machines.
Citing the “growing body of scientific evidence” that the pesticides are “highly toxic” to bees, Ontario also introduced regulations in 2015 to reduce the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds by 80 per cent over the next two years. The province now requires corn and soybean farmers to test their soil for the presence of pests before they’re allowed to use neonicotinoids.
Bennett said Wednesday’s proposal — the result of a separate review that doesn’t include the effects of the pesticides on pollinators — will add to those protections as concerns about aquatic invertebrates lead to greater restrictions.
Bennett said he was informed Wednesday’s proposal will be followed by a 60-day consultation period, in which he expects the government will hear feedback that will inform any final time frame for the phase-out. “It’s still something to celebrate, but what we’ll argue about now is how long it takes for them to actually do it,” he said.
Jillian Bender, a spokesperson for CropLife Canada, a consortium of pesticide manufacturers and plant science industry players, said in an email that her group is aware of a government decision Wednesday on two products, but declined to comment until details are published by the PMRA. The Grain Farmers of Ontario also declined to comment before the announcement.
Bayer, one of Canada’s major manufacturers of clothianidin, said in a statement to the Star that it will conduct a “thorough review” of Wednesday’s proposal and continue to support growers’ “use of this valuable tool by continuing to provide Health Canada with sound, science-based evidence.”
For the original Toronto Star article, please see:goo.gl/1k8Vwz
Or learn more directly from Health Canada:goo.gl/PKGuJS