Pesticides: Health Canada assesses risks to the environment

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Transcript - Pesticides: Health Canada assesses risks to the environment

Narrator: Canada's environment is filled with many wonders. From our vast forests and lakes of clean fresh water, to the fertile land where we grow food for much of the world.

Canada has its share of native pests. However, changes in climate and movement of people and goods can bring in new, invasive pests. Both types of pests can threaten our natural resources, crops and gardens.

Pesticides play an important role in managing pests.

So how can we be sure that pesticides are not damaging the environment they are designed to protect?

Scientists at Health Canada care about this too…

They work to make sure pesticides won't harm the environment when they are used properly.

Before a pesticide is approved for use, Health Canada scientists complete a thorough, science-based risk assessment to determine if these products can be used safely.

This includes evaluating hundreds of studies to understand potential effects on birds, fish, mammals, plants and insects.

As part of the risk assessment, Health Canada scientists look at pesticide EXPOSURE in the environment.

Which includes when, where and how much pesticide could come into contact with plants and wildlife.

They also examine the potential effects a pesticide may have on plants and animals.

Scientists look at many laboratory and field studies on a wide variety of species.

Once the scientists have studied the pesticide's exposure and effects, they determine the potential level of the risk to the environment. They then figure out the best way to manage these risks.

Managing risk can include restricting how and where a pesticide can be used.

A pesticide may only be used in Canada after Health Canada's scientists have confirmed that it won't harm the environment.

The instruction and safety precautions that appear on the pesticide product label are there to protect you and the environment.

So, the next time you need to use a pesticide look for the registration number to make sure the product is authorized for use by Health Canada.

And remember to follow the directions on the label.

All of these steps are taken to protect you, your family and the environment.

For more information, go to

A message from the government of Canada.

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