OTTAWA – Environmental organizations are calling on Health Canada to stop approving systemic pesticides that are toxic to bees and threaten to interfere with ecosystem functioning. The most widely used group of systemic pesticides, neonicotinoids, has come under increased scrutiny as a contributing factor in large-scale bee die-offs and other harmful effects.

 Now Health Canada is proposing to approve a new systemic pesticide, flupyradifurone. According to the government assessment, flupyradifurone may pose a risk to bees, non-target beneficial arthropods, and freshwater and saltwater invertebrates when used for foliar application. Flupyradifurone may pose a risk to birds and small wild mammals when used for soybean seed treatment.”Health Canada has admitted the use of neonicotinoid pesticides threatens bees and other pollinators and has promised a review, but meanwhile wants to open the door to its chemical cousin. Is the government taking the threat of systemic pesticides seriously?” said Lisa Gue, David Suzuki Foundation.

“Why doesn’t Health Canada follow the precautionary principle and keep threats to the environment off the market?” asked John Bennett, Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

Like neonics, flupyradifurone attacks the nervous system of insect pests. It can act systemically, meaning the pesticide is taken up by the plant and moves through its tissues into pollen, fruits and seeds.

The chemical can also enter groundwater and the aquatic environment through surface run-off. It can persist in the environment and accumulate from one growing season to the next.

“Scientists have called for a global phase-out of neonics. The last thing we need is another systemic pesticide contaminating the environment,” said Karen Eatwell, National Farmers Union.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has initiated the mandatory comment period on its proposed approval of flupyradifurone pesticides. Canadians have until November 3 to submit comments.

The following organizations are calling on Health Canada to reject flupyradifurone:

  • Sierra Club Canada Foundation
  • David Suzuki Foundation
  • Pollination Canada
  • National Farmers Union
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

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For more information contact:

Lisa Gue, David Suzuki Foundation, (613) 914-0747,
Karen Eatwell, National Farmers Union — Ontario, (519) 232-4105,
Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Earth Canada, (613) 724-8690,
John Bennett, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, (613) , 291-6888,