Canada must ban neonics

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about neonicotinoid pesticides. Bees have been dying off at alarming rates, and neonics are implicated in their decline. Honeybees aren’t the only victims. These controversial “systemic” pesticides harm beneficial species, including wild bees, butterflies, earthworms and birds, and scientists believe they may negatively affect human health too.

In June 2014, an independent group of scientists released a comprehensive analysis of more than 1,100 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the impacts of neonic pesticides. They found these chemicals are persistent and pervasive throughout the environment and pose an unacceptable risk to biodiversity, including species beneficial to farmers, such as earthworms and pollinators.

New research indicates that neonics do not necessarily increase agricultural yields. Why are we still using them across Canada when countries like France have banned them altogether?

The good news is that Health Canada has proposed to phase out the commonly used neonic pesticide imidacloprid within three to five years and has launched special reviews of other neonics registered for use by farmers in Canada.

Imidacloprid is used to control pests on canola, grown mostly in Western Canada. It’s also used as a spray for trees and some greenhouse products, and even to control ticks and fleas on household pets.

Health Canada made the decision to phase out imidacloprid out of serious concern that the pesticide poses an unacceptable risk to aquatic biodiversity in Canadian lakes and rivers, particularly for invertebrates such as mayflies and midges, which are an important part of the aquatic food web. The agency has launched a 90-day consultation period to ask Canadians if imidacloprid should be banned.

Please take a moment to send a letter to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency to say that while you support the proposed ban on imidacloprid, you want to see the agency move faster to ban all types of neonics in Canada, following the lead of the French National Assembly, which will ban all neonics starting in 2018.


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