Saving the Bees: Health Canada Proposed to Phase Out Pesticides

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Health Canada is set on phasing out common pesticides people use in the outdoors and on their crops. Recent studies have found that bees are affected by pesticides, but only in certain circumstances.

When Health Canada warns about the use of pesticides, an open letter in the journal Science was published on this issue. Over 200 scientists asked international governments to write agreements in which they will cease the use of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Governments should also prevent other harmful pesticides to be developed and used.

Neonicotinoids Also Affect Pollinators

Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency started a study in 2012 on nicotine-based pesticides (known as neonicotinoids). Farmers and gardeners would use these pesticides to get rid of aphids and spider mites. The study saw that honey bees were also affected. The agency tested three neonics and how they impact the organisms.

In 2016, the study concluded that a neonic called imidacloprid built up in the water on the surface and inside the grown and killed aquatic insects. They then banned the product, and it is no longer used.

The study didn’t include how pollinators or bees were impacted by the substances. The agency evaluated them separately, concluding that neonics affect bees in certain conditions. If the application of neonics was not on man crops that attract bees, the risk was “acceptable.”

Lisa Gue is an environmental health policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation. She said that the reports from Health Canada were not as complete as the European work on this matter, but she is happy that the agency will phase out the use of these pesticides:

“Canada’s decisions are coming in much less protective than in the European Union.”

Europe has banned the use of neonicotinoids on any crops five years ago. The European Food Safety Authority confirmed back in February that these substances can kill wild bees and honey bees. At the moment, neonicotinoids are only used inside closed greenhouses.

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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