Health Canada announces new measures for use of neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid

News release

Revised uses will allow for protection of human health and environment

May 19, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

Today, Health Canada released the final re-evaluation decision on the risk to human health and the environment from the neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid. This decision marks the conclusion of years of data collection, scientific assessments, and consultations.

Health Canada’s assessment indicated that, with additional risk mitigation measures, many uses of imidacloprid products meet current standards for protection of human health and the environment. However, certain uses of imidacloprid are cancelled to address potential risks of concern to the environment.

The revised conditions of use must be implemented on all product labels no later than 24 months from today, with the exception of one use with no suitable alternative which will continue for an additional 24 months.

Health Canada received over 46,000 comments from the public, pesticide registrants, non-governmental organizations and provinces during the consultation process for imidacloprid. The review also considered a significant amount of new water monitoring data that was more representative of major agricultural regions of Canada, as well as scientific papers.

As part of its continued commitment to openness and transparency, Health Canada is publishing information related to this re-evaluation decision, including the outcome of the science evaluation, as well as next steps.

Quick facts

  • Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticide used to control insects on a variety of agricultural crops, including as a seed treatment, and on turf and ornamental plants. Specifically, imidacloprid is applied using ground, aerial and seed treatment equipment, tree injection applicators, bait stations, and spot-on applications to pets.

  • When used according to new mitigation measures, the risks of imidacloprid to human health and the environment are considered acceptable. 

  • The new measures for the uses that remain registered include: revised label instructions such as reduced application rates, a reduction in number of applications, changes to personal protective equipment (PPE) when applying seed treatments, and spray buffer zones. Certain uses are cancelled to minimize potential risks to the environment.

  • To be approved for sale and use in Canada, all pesticides must undergo a rigorous science-based review. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is responsible for pesticide regulation in Canada.

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Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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