The human health and environmental risks of a product are evaluated according to the scientific standards of the day before a pesticide is first registered. However, as science evolves and new information becomes available, these products must be re-evaluated to ensure they meet the latest health and environmental risk assessment standards.
The Basis for Re-evaluation
To ensure the safety of Canadians, Health Canada launched the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) Re-evaluation Program in 2001 to examine 401 active ingredients registered before 1995. This review program will ensure older pesticides that no longer meet modern standards are removed from the Canadian market and the use instructions on product labels are updated to best protect users, bystanders and the environment. Under current legislation, all products will be re-evaluated on a 15-year cycle.
Modern Risk-Assessment Approaches
The re-evaluation program uses modern scientific approaches to examine the continued acceptability of older pesticides. Today's modern approaches include assessments that consider:
- exposure risks in sensitive segments of the population, such as infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly;
- combined exposure from dietary, residential and drinking water sources; and
- risk of cumulative exposure to chemicals with a common mechanism of action.
For any re-evaluation of a pesticide or registration of a new one, Health Canada reviews the available information on the product, including epidemiology studies, toxicology studies and foreign reviews, before proposing a decision to all stakeholders.
Working with Partners
All information to which Health Canada has access that applies to the Canadian situation is examined during a re-evaluation. The Canadian re-evaluation program relies strongly on reviews from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), given their relevance in many situations. Approximately 83% of Health Canada's decisions parallel the US EPA's decisions. Reviews from members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development are also considered, making Health Canada's Re-evaluation Program truly international in scope.
Protecting Your Health and the Environment
Health Canada's top priority is Canadians' health and safety. Depending on the assessment results, Health Canada may:
- retain the registration with no changes;
- amend the label instructions to improve safety;
- modify maximum residue limits;
- place conditions on use while new data is being generated; or
- eliminate or phase-out uses, formulations or the registration.
Detailed program information is presented in Regulatory Directive DIR2001-03, PMRA Re-evaluation Program.
Documenting Re-evaluation Activities
The Re-evaluation Summary Table presents the status of active ingredients under re-evaluation. In addition, five document series are dedicated to re-evaluation:
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