Canada limits but gives up banning neonicotinoid pesticides

Canada announced Wednesday that it would limit the use of two neonicotinoid pesticides for certain crops, finally giving up on banning them as it planned to do three years ago.

Health Canada had proposed in 2018 to ban the use of two types of these pesticides qualified as “bee killers”, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, in particular because of the risks to aquatic organisms.

But after scientific assessments and extensive public consultation, Health Canada concluded that “some uses are safe for aquatic insects” if properly supervised, even if “some other uses pose risks of concern.”

The ministry therefore decided to apply “additional mitigation measures and restrictions”, including limiting the use of these products and establishing “buffer zones” around the sectors concerned.

These new regulations will apply to several fruit and vegetable crops, including certain lettuce, potatoes, blueberries (called blueberries in Canada), corn or soybeans.

The companies manufacturing these pesticides will have two years to modify the instructions for use on their products, specifies the ministry.

Canada has not commented on the use of the third type of neonicotinoid approved in Canada, imidacloprid.

Neonicotinoids, believed to be responsible for the decline in the number of bees worldwide, have been banned in Europe since 2018.

In France, the Council of State validated in mid-March their provisional reauthorization in the sugar beet industry, to cope with the drop in harvests after the invasion of an aphid vector of jaundice.


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