Canada’s neonicotinoid insecticide rules haven’t hit farmers, and tighter regulations coming?

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Seeds coated with a neonicotinoid insecticide.

Health Canada’s April decisions on three neonicotinoid insecticides won’t change much for growers this year — but it also won’t be the last word on the subject. Producers will still have access to most imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam uses following the April 11 ruling.

In 2016, the federal government announced plans to phase out imidacloprid over three to five years, based on unacceptable risks to aquatic insects.

Proposed crackdowns on clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which Health Canada found posed a similar risk, quickly followed. Both pesticides were also slated to be phased out.

Health Canada later separated the debate between aquatic insect and pollinator risk. The resulting stream of 2017 and 2018 proposals — based around pollinator risk — gave a more lenient tone.

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Why it matters: Three neonicotinoid pesticides have final decisions from Health Canada, and both beekeepers and crop growers seem happy, but another round of decisions with heavier consequences is yet to come.

Related article:  Organic pesticides substituted for 'dangerous' neonicotinoids found far more toxic to bees

Decisions based on aquatic insect risk are expected in January 2020. “These final decisions will not replace the pollinator decisions announced on April 11, 2019,” Health Canada said in an emailed statement.

Read full, original article: More debate yet to come on neonics

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