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Corporations defend harmful pesticide found in surface and groundwater in Canada

The Council of Canadians supports the call for an immediate ban on neonicotinoid pesticides.

In November 2016, CBC reported, “Health Canada is proposing a ban on almost all uses of a controversial neonicotinoid pesticide called imidacloprid, saying it is seeping into Canadian waterways at levels that can harm insects and the ecosystem. Neonicotinoid pesticides, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, have faced increasing restrictions because of the risk they pose to bees, but have been allowed in Canada for agricultural and cosmetic purposes. It proposes phasing out all agricultural uses and a majority of other uses, over the next three to five years.”

The article adds, “Health Canada’s review found imidacloprid is getting into the environment, through run-off and drifting spray, and is ‘being detected frequently in Canadian surface and groundwater’. In areas of ‘intense agricultural activity’ in Ontario and Quebec, the agency found the chemical ‘frequently in surface water at levels well above concentrations that may result in toxic effects to insects’.”

Imidacloprid is manufactured by the German chemical company Bayer AG. In November 2016, the transnational stated it was “extremely disappointed” in Health Canada’s announcement and vowed that it would work against a ban.

The National Observer now reports, “Representatives from multinational chemical manufacturers are descending on the House of Commons on [March 7] for hearings into a proposed phaseout of a pesticide linked the global decline of honeybees.”

The article continues, “Scheduled to testify before the Commons agriculture committee on Tuesday are representatives from pesticide manufacturers Bayer and Syngenta, as well as from CropLife, an industry lobby group that represents a number of chemical companies including Bayer, Monsanto, Dow and DuPont.”

The Council of Canadians, the Sierra Club of Canada, Friends of the Earth and other groups have all called for an immediate ban on the pesticide rather than the Trudeau government’s proposed 3-5 year phase-out. Now even that could be under threat given the intense corporate lobby now being mounted.

Members of the public have until March 23 — the day after World Water Day — to provide comments to Health Canada before it finalizes its decision.

The Council of Canadians first called for a ban of neonicotinoid pesticides in December 2013.