FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jan. 12, 2015
CALEDONIA – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is calling on Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal to re-evaluate the pending ban on neonicotinoid insecticides.
Barrett, the Opposition Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Critic, made the call in the wake of the pre-release of a study by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. The study evaluated pollinator risk from Imidacloprid, one of three different chemicals classed as neonicotinoid pesticides. The study found there was no potential risk to bees from seed treatment use of Imidacloprid. It also found some potential risk to bees from leaf and soil treatment use of the insecticide.
Past studies have found there could be potential short-term and long-term effects on pollinators from Imidacloprid exposure. However, the PMRA authors noted, “These studies have generally been conducted under laboratory situations or in the field with bees exposed to Imidacloprid at doses higher than may normally be encountered in the environment.”
The Health Canada study looked at all potential uses of Imidacloprid at levels typically seen in agriculture applications. It is used on cereals, fruits, herbs, legumes, oilseeds, vegetables, Christmas trees and in greenhouse applications. Although other neonicotinoids are the primary chemicals used on corn, soybeans and other oil seeds, these initial findings are reason for pause on a ban, Barrett said. He discussed these issues today at the District 6 annual meeting of the Grain Farmers of Ontario.
“Leal jumped the gun by implementing the ban,” he said. “What this study found is different than past research. In addition, oilseed producers completed measures to reduce neonic dust during the application process and weren’t given a chance to evaluate these measures prior to the ban. The ban needs to be re-evaluated in light of the new evidence.”
At the same time, Barrett is cognizant of other application methods and the potential for bee exposure.
“We need to make our decisions based on the best available science, not political expediency to satisfy the government’s urban constituency,” Barrett said.
A related value assessment of neonicotinoid use on corn and soybeans found a $74 to $83 million benefit to the corn industry and a benefit of $37 to $51 million for soybeans. Although these are national values, much of it is centred in Ontario.
Comments on the first phase of the study will be accepted for 60 days after Jan. 18. PMRA will publish a final document of the evaluation of Imidacloprid, and continue evaluating other neonicotinoids with a target of a December 2016 release date.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]