Canada should ban bee killing pesticides now

Media Release, May 2, 2013

Sierra Club Canada is calling on the federal government to follow the lead of European Union and take action to protect at-risk bee populations by banning three neonicotinoid pesticides: Imidacloprid, Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam.

The pesticides, which attack the bees’ nervous system, are being banned in Europe after strong evidence from a European Food Safety Authority study linked them to the bee die-off witnessed in Europe.

RELATED: Bee deaths lead to EU ban on neonicotinoid pesticides  BBC News (April 29, 2013)

RELATED: Ontario beekeepers call for the suspension of neonicotinoid pesticides  (Ontario Beekeepers, May 1, 2013)

RELATED: Critics call on Canada to ban pesticide linked to dwindling bee populations  (CTV News, May 4, 2013)

According to the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association: “Clothianidin was detected in approximately 70% of the samples analyzed in Ontario and Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam were detected in the samples analyzed from Québec … residues were detected in approximately 80% of the bee yards where dead bee samples were collected and analysed.” 

The Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) concluded that 2012’s devastating  bee loss in Canada was the result of the “hot dry spring” which caused neonicotinoid pesticides to become airborne, attached to dust stirred up by farm machinery. PMRA is now urging farmers and talking to chemical producers and machinery manufacturers about changing their practices.

The PMRA has got it backwards,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. “Its job is to protect Canadians, not the profits of chemical companies and big agri-business.”

“These dangerous chemicals must be removed from the market NOW and remain so until proven safe,” said Mr. Bennett. “The federal government’s response to this global crisis is grossly insufficient.”

Sierra Club Canada is gravely concerned that any type of voluntary compliance or ‘improved’ management practices would take years to design and implement (if ever) and meanwhile the remaining bee populations will further decimated – perhaps to the point where they can’t recover.

The Club is calling on Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq (responsible for the PMRA) to follow the precautionary principle and immediately ban Imidacloprid, Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam from use in Canada.  

“We can’t let another year go by without acting. Bee pollination is essential to the functioning of our ecosystem and the production of all fruits and vegetables,” said Mr. Bennett. “These pesticides need to be banned – the planet and future generations are depending on us to act now.”

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For more information contact:

John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
412-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7

Tel: 613.291.6888
John on Twitter / Bennett Blog


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