Re-evaluation Decision for Imidacloprid (Human Health and Environment)


May 2021

Today, Health Canada is publishing its final re-evaluation decision regarding the risks to human health and environment from the neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid.

Neonicotinoids are a group of pesticides used in agriculture to protect crops from various insects. Imidacloprid is commonly applied using ground, aerial and seed treatment equipment, tree injection applicators, bait stations, and spot-on application to pets. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been used in agriculture on a wide variety of crops since the 1990s.

In Canada, there are three main neonicotinoids currently approved for agricultural use: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam.

On November 23, 2016, Health Canada issued the proposed re-evaluation decision for imidacloprid and consulted publicly on the proposal to cancel all agricultural uses and many non-agricultural uses of this pesticide. In May 2018, the Department proposed a decision specifically with regards to imidacloprid and risks to pollinators, which was followed by a final decision on April 11, 2019. As part of the pollinator assessment, Health Canada put in place restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids to protect bees and other pollinators (RVD2019-06). Therefore, today's decision does not pertain to pollinators.

Since the publication of the proposed re-evaluation decision in 2016, more than 46,000 comments were received, as well as a substantial amount of new information, including new studies and water monitoring data from various sources, such as registrants, provinces, academia and other regulatory authorities. In addition, several new scientific papers were released. The final re-evaluation decision, originally targeted for fall 2020, was delayed until now due to the unprecedented volume of information received during consultation and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Canada's scientists have reviewed a large body of scientific information and concluded that a complete ban on neonicotinoid pesticides is not warranted. Health Canada's assessment indicated that most uses of imidacloprid products meet current standards for protection of human health and the environment with additional risk mitigation measures. However, certain uses of imidacloprid are being cancelled to address potential risks of concern to the environment.

The additional risk mitigation actions announced in today's final decision, such as reducing the rate of applications and changes to personal protective equipment (PPE) when applying seed treatments, will address the risks posed to human health and the environment. In addition, certain uses of imidacloprid are cancelled to address potential risks of concern to the environment.

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