Canada’s pesticide regulator said last week that farmers could keep using the chemical imidacloprid to control crop-destroying insects under stricter conditions, softening an earlier proposal to ban it, according to a Reuters report by Rod Nickel.
The chemical, made by Germany’s Bayer AG is part of the neonicotinoid class of pesticides that farmers have sprayed on crops since the 1990s. Farmers use imidacloprid to protect fruits and vegetables from aphids and beetles.
Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) proposed in 2016 phasing out imidacloprid due to those risks, before extending a feedback period. But in a statement with its final ruling, the agency said that such risks are acceptable within certain limits, after considering new water-monitoring data.
The PMRA stated on May 19 that in-furrow application root and tuber vegetables, including potatoes, was cancelled. This was due to the maximum application rate being reduced to 100 g a.i./ha which exceeded the maximum allowable rate due to row spacing, the decision says. The decision also stated potato foliar applications have been reduced to one per season.
Canada’s approach to managing the chemicals’ risk is not credible, a coalition of environmental groups said. “The decision means we must cross our fingers and hope for the best,” said Lisa Gue, senior policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation.
The European Commission banned outdoor use of all three neonicotinoids in 2018 to protect honeybees, although some countries have granted emergency authorizations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the chemicals’ use.