Report on Pesticide Incidents for 2015

Executive Summary

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is pleased to present the Report on Pesticide Incidents for 2015, which provides a general overview of the incident reports received in 2015, as well as PMRA’s assessment of the more serious Canadian incident reports. These incident reports were received from pesticide registrants and voluntary sources.

The PMRA has been collecting pesticide incident reports since 2007. Between 2007 and 2015, 15 000 incidents were reported to the PMRA. In 2015, the Agency received 2288 incidents. Domestic animal incidents were reported most frequently, followed by human and environment incidents. Most incidents involved minor effects.

The PMRA Incident Reporting Program reviews all incidents to ensure that there are no unanticipated effects from the use of registered pesticides. Priority for in-depth reviews is given to incidents that are serious in nature, that involve multiple people or animals, or that indicate a recurring problem. In addition, when the PMRA reviews new active ingredients or conducts re-evaluations of older pesticides, a complete analysis of all incidents involving that pesticide is integrated into the risk assessment. A weight-of-evidence approach is used to evaluate pesticide incident data. That is, many different sources of information, such as available scientific studies and poisoning data are considered and integrated into assessments of pesticide incident information. Thus, the evaluation of risk is based on extensive data analysis in order to determine whether improved label language or additional mitigation measures should be put in place to further reduce pesticide exposure and prevent adverse effects.

The PMRA proposed several risk reduction measures as a result of evaluations of incident report data in 2015. Most notably, the review of incidents associated with the accidental ingestion of paraquat was part of a Special Review that brought about significant amendments to the registration; and the review of diquat incidents resulted in important changes to warnings on the product labels. Follow-up inspections were conducted in 2016 to ensure the implementation of the required changes for both of these active ingredients. For two related pesticides, beta-cyfluthrin and cyfluthrin, incident reports highlighted the potential for respiratory effects when individuals enter homes or commercial areas shortly after application. Mitigation measures – such as a lengthened restricted-entry interval, ventilation needs, and provision of additional information for building occupants – were proposed for the new active ingredient beta-cyfluthrin, as well as the existing active ingredient cyfluthrin, in order to address these potential health risks of concerns.

Additionally, certain product labels were modified to clarify warnings for consumers. Seed tags for fludioxinil treated seed and bait stations for both abamectin and boron products had clear warning statements added to keep out of reach of children and pets.

Incident reports are an essential element of post-market monitoring. Under the Incident Reporting Regulations, the PMRA will continue to collect and analyse incident report information to identify and characterize potential risks to humans, domestic animals, and the environment from the use of pesticides.

Past Reports on Pesticide Incidents

Report on Pesticide Incidents for 2015
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