Risky pesticides can remain in circulation for years, audit finds

OTTAWA -- A new audit finds that it takes years for the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency to remove risky pesticides from the marketplace and that routine re-evaluations are falling far behind.

See Full Article

The annual report from the federal environment commissioner's office tabled Tuesday in Parliament also says conditionally registered products, which have not been properly vetted, have been in use for more than a decade in some cases.

The Liberal government moved last week to stop the practice of conditionally registering pesticides, effective this June, but the commissioner's report indicates that is just one area of concern.

"I am also concerned that it took the agency an average of five years -- and up to 11 years -- to remove some pesticides from the market when it determined that they posed unacceptable risks for all uses," commissioner Julie Gelfand said in prepared remarks.

There are about 7,000 pesticides available to Canadian consumers, containing some 600 active ingredients.

All products are supposed to be re-evaluated every 15 years and Gelfand says 95 per cent of re-evaluations result in additional precautions to protect health or the environment.

However only 14 products are re-checked each year, just a fraction of the number that should be re-evaluated, with more pesticides up for re-evaluation every year -- and even products that are found to be unacceptably risky remain in circulation for years.

The commissioner also found that the agency did not assess the cumulative effects of products on human health, even when required to do so under the law.

When products were found to pose unacceptable risks, it took the agency between four and 11 years to cancel their registrations, sometimes citing a lack of an alternative product and, in other cases, allowing suppliers to sell their stockpile before lowering the boom.

As for those conditionally registered products, the audit found that eight of the nine pesticides that had been conditionally registered for more than a decade were neonicotinoids.

"These products are now used extensively in Canada and are widely suspected of being a threat to bees, other pollinators, and broader ecosystems," says the report.

Another chapter of the report surveyed four federal departments and found they all failed to follow a cabinet directive on assessing environmental effects of policies.

In fact, the commissioner's audit found that just five of more than 1,700 policy proposals put forward by the four departments were the subject of strategic environmental assessments.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • New Zealand test rocket makes it to space but not to orbit

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand - California-based company Rocket Lab said Thursday it had launched a test rocket into space from its New Zealand launch pad, although the rocket didn't reach orbit as hoped. The company said its Electron rocket lifted off at 4:20 p.m. Source
  • Chinese champion begins rematch against computer in ancient game of Go

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WUZHEN, China - China's top player of the ancient board game of go began a second game against a computer Thursday in a competition authorities limited the Chinese public's ability to see. Google's AlphaGo program defeated 19-year-old prodigy Ke Jie on Tuesday in the first of three games they are due to play this week at a forum on artificial intelligence in this town west of Shanghai. Source
  • Computer wins rematch against Chinese champion in ancient game of Go

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WUZHEN, China -- A computer beat China's top player of go, one of the last games machines have yet to master, for a second time Thursday in a competition authorities limited the Chinese public's ability to see. Source
  • Surge in value for Bitcoin cryptocurrency

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The value of the Bitcoin, the internet's most widely used virtual currency, has more than doubled since the beginning of 2017, recently passing the symbolic $2,000 mark and setting a new record. While the currency is becoming more widely used and accepted, it is still often associated with the darker side of the internet. Source
  • Snowy plover chick hatches on Oregon beach for first time since 1960s

    Tech & Science CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Western snowy plover chick that hatched on an Oregon beach this spring is the first of its species to emerge successfully in that area in more than 50 years and provides hope that a management plan for the federally threatened species is working, wildlife officials said Wednesday. Source
  • Endangered salamanders put quarry on hold as residents fight against project

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A group of Ontario residents trying to ward off the development of a new quarry in their community say they have found two endangered salamanders that they hope will convince authorities to put an end to the project. Source
  • Temperatures to 'teeter-totter' across Canada this summer

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The lack of a clear El Niño or La Niña out in the Pacific Ocean means weather patterns across much of Canada are likely to remain changeable and active for much of the summer, top meteorologists are forecasting. Source
  • Report on failed European Mars lander concludes brief, unexpected spin to blame

    Tech & Science CBC News
    An independent report has concluded that Europe's Schiaparelli probe crash-landed on Mars last year because its systems couldn't cope with a brief, wild rotation during its descent. The report commissioned by the European Space Agency says the sudden spin — lasting only one second — overloaded the probe's sensors, making it think it had already reached the ground. Source
  • Endangered salamanders put quarry on hold as Ontario town battles against project

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A group of Ontario residents trying to ward off the development of a new quarry in their community say they have found two endangered salamanders that they hope will convince authorities to put an end to the project. Source
  • Google's AI wins Go match in China, but blocks online broadcast

    Tech & Science CBC News
    ?Internet users outside China watched a computer defeat its national go champion, but few Chinese web surfers could see it. Censors blocked access to Tuesday's online broadcast by Google, which organized the game in a town west of Shanghai during a forum on artificial intelligence. Source