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Health Minister Announces Consultation to Halt Temporary Pesticide Approvals

Current temporary registrations would be unaffected for 76 products, including “bee-killing” neonicotinoids and 31 combination products

January 20, 2016

The following content is offered for reprint, with attribution to Prevent Cancer Now and link to webpage.

Health Minister Philpott announced that new temporary registrations of pesticides may cease this summer, but is silent on the current repertoire of temporary registrations.

“Abuse of temporary registrations has been subverting pesticide regulation for years, so eliminating them would be a very progressive step,” said Prevent Cancer Now Chair, Meg Sears, “but what about our long-standing backlog? We urge Health Canada to cease all temporary registrations, until assessments and public consultations are complete.”

Pesticide products with temporary registrations include 76 products, containing 34 different ingredients. For 18 products, Health Canada still awaits information from manufacturers – missing data is indicated as “pending.”

Neonicotinoid insecticides (“neonics”) have severe impacts on pollinators, particularly bees, and 24* of the temporarily registered products contain neonics. “Pending data” includes quantities of neonic measured in pollen and nectar, to further examine these effects.

“Other jurisdictions such as the European Union and Ontario have put moratoriums on neonics, yet Health Canada continues to permit their use even when essential data is missing,” notes Dr. Sears.

“Temporary registrations also delay public consultation, and keep the public in the dark,” Sears said. “The Pest Control Products Act provides access to test data for all fully registered products, but protracted temporary registrations have denied public access to this information.”

Prevent Cancer Now analysis of current pesticides with temporary registrations indicates that they include:

76 pesticide products, containing 34 active ingredients

31 pesticides with 2 to 5 active ingredients, designed to be extra-potent in combination

  • 6 combination fungicides
  • 4 combination herbicides, including one with MCPA and one with 2,4-D
  • 4 combination insecticides, including one combination of neonics, and 2 mixtures of neonics along with cyantraniliprole (an insecticide that is known to be highly toxic to bees)
  • 17 seed treatments containing a neonic plus fungicides, and sometimes an additional insecticide

45 single-ingredient pesticides

  • 2 fumigants
  • 8 fungicides
  • 8 herbicides
  • 16 neonics
  • 6 other insecticides
  • 3 miticides
  • 2 insect repelants

Canadians can have their say on the consultation page here.

For more information, please contact:

Meg Sears, PhD
Chair and Science Advisor, Prevent Cancer Now

Prevent Cancer Now is a Canadian national civil society organization including scientists, health professionals and citizens working to stop cancer before it starts, through research, education and advocacy to eliminate preventable causes of cancer.


*Correction – January 21, 2016. We originally indicated 18 products contained neonics, but this is the number of combination products. In fact, 24 products in total contain neonics. This includes imidacloprid, that was first “temporarily” registered in 1995. We apologize for any inconvenience.
   — The PCN Team