Good news for bees – but OBA advises caution and vigilance
Health Canada announces proposed decision to phase out Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam
from the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association August 20 2018
Last year Health Canada proposed the phasing out of one of the popular neonicotinoids, Imidacloprid, based on risks to aquatic invertebrates. On Wednesday, Health Canada publicly released their preliminary recommendations to phase out over three to five years the remaining two neonicotinoid molecules: Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam, after a 90 day public consultation process.
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA’s) conclusions stated that:
“The environmental assessment showed that, in aquatic environments in Canada, clothianidin and thiamethoxam is being measured at concentrations that are harmful to aquatic insects. These insects are an important part of the ecosystem, including as a food source for fish, birds and other animals. Based on currently available information, most outdoor uses in Canada are not sustainable.”
While at first glance this appears to be great news for the health of bees and other organisms devastated by the current practice of overuse of neonics on field crops and in foliar sprays, we urge the need to be cautious and vigilant:
-The consultation process allows for pesticide companies and others who may be opposed to this phase-out to present evidence and arguments why it should not go into effect.
-The phase out period of three to five years makes no sense. If a product is deemed harmful why would we not stop using it immediately?
-The evidence for the toxicity to aquatic invertebrates is proof of the persistence and prevalence of neonics in our environment. Why would PMRA in their pollinator risk assessment conclude that the risks to bees from the same exposure to these same chemicals is acceptable?
-Ontario beekeepers’ colonies continue to suffer exposure to the widespread use of neonics on field crops as seed treatments and foliar sprays.
In the next 90 days, the OBA will prepare a strong and careful response to PMRA, pointing out the errors in their assessment of pollinator risk and the need to act at once to phase out neonics in accordance with the Precautionary Principle.
See selected news stories this week:
CBC News: Health Canada to ban pesticides blamed for bee losses, but farmers wonder about alternatives
Globe & Mail: Canada to phase out most uses of pesticides linked to bee deaths