Health Canada Proposes 3-Year Phase Out of Imidacloprid, a Neonicotinoid

Wireworm in wheat. Photo credit: Richard Marsh, 2014

Stating a “weight of evidence” that neonicotinoid imidacloprid poses too high a risk to aquatic insects, Health Canada announced today a proposed three-year phase out of the insecticide.

In Canada, imidacloprid is used in some cereal and potato seed treatments, as well as within the horticulture industry.

Health Canada says it drew on data submitted by the registrant, academics, and provincial and federal environmental monitoring departments in deciding on a proposed phase out of the product. The department also said this review was initiated “several years ago.”

In accordance with pesticide reviews, Health Canada has now opened a 90-day comment period on its assessment and proposed regulatory changes. Those interested can read and comment through the Pest Management Regulatory Agency website here.

Bayer, which owns several imidacloprid-containing seed treatments that are registered in Canada, said it is “extremely disappointed” with the proposal.

“We will conduct a thorough review of their proposal and supporting data, and provide input into the consultation process,” said the company, in a statement shared with Real Agriculture. “Canadian growers value imidacloprid due to its efficacy, safety to applicators and favourable environmental profile, when used according to label instructions..”

Bayer also said it will “support Canadian growers’ use of this valuable tool by continuing to provide Health Canada with sound, science-based evidence concerning imidacloprid’s favourable environmental profile, including respecting aquatic invertebrates.”

Clothianidin and thiamethoxam, two other commonly used neonicotinoid products, are not included in this phase out, but Health Canada also announced it’s launching special reviews for them, looking at “potential risks these pesticides may pose to aquatic invertebrates, including insects, as they are also being detected frequently in aquatic environments.”

Read the Health Canada press release here.

More to come…

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