Report on Pesticide Incidents for 2018-2020


Report on Pesticide Incidents for 2018-2020

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Health Canada – Pest Management Regulatory Agency
October 31 2022


The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is the branch of Health Canada responsible for regulating pesticides under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act. The PMRA's primary mandate is to prevent unacceptable risks to health and the environment from the use of these products. The PMRA applies current, evidence-based scientific approaches to assess whether the health and environmental risks of pesticides proposed for registration are acceptable, and if the products have value.

This Report on Pesticide Incidents for the years 2018 to 2020 provides a general overview of incident reports received during this period, highlighting the PMRA's assessment of the more serious incidents, as well as incident evaluations that may be of notable interest to stakeholders and the public.

The PMRA has been collecting pesticide incident reports since 2007. Between 2007 and 2020, over 25 000 incidents were reported to the PMRA. From 2018 to 2020, 5653 incident reports were submitted to the Agency. Domestic animal incidents were reported most frequently, followed by human and environment incidents. Most incidents involved minor effects.

The PMRA's Incident Reporting Program uses incident information to assess potential risks to humans, domestic animals and the environment from use of pesticides. Priority is given to all incident reports that are serious in nature, involve multiple people or animals, or indicate a recurring problem with pesticide exposure. In addition, when the PMRA reviews new active ingredients or conducts re-evaluations (post-market review) of currently registered pesticides, a complete analysis of all incident reports 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 adverse effects data, are considered and integrated into the assessment of pesticide incident information. If risks are identified, various protective actions are developed with the aim to reduce pesticide exposure and the occurrence of adverse effects. Such actions may include improved label language or user education and outreach initiatives.

The PMRA took several risk reduction measures during the 2018-2020 period as a result of the incident report data received up to 2020. Measures of note:

The review of incidents occurring in the environment also resulted in the initiation of the Special Review of dicamba (related to the drift of product onto sensitive crops). The review of new environmental studies submitted under the Incident Reporting Program combined with the EFSA review of chlorothalonil, resulted in the initiation of the Special Review of chlorothalonil (potential increased risk to the environment). This action was taken under subsection 17(1) of the Pest Control Products Act based on the information reported under section 13 of the Pest Control Products Act.

Amendments to the Pest Control Products Incident Reporting Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on 12 June 2019. These amendments clarify incident reporting requirements, reduce regulatory and administrative burden for industry and align many requirements with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. They will also make it easier for Health Canada to identify trends in incident reporting, analyze data and respond to identified risks. These amendments came into force on 1 January 2022.

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

Note that a more detailed report of the 2018-20 pesticide incidents is available upon request.

Past Reports on Pesticide Incidents

To obtain a past Reports on Pesticide Incidents report from 2007 to 2014, please contact the Pest Management Information Service.

For more information please contact the Pest Management Information Service.

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