PMRA Call for Comments on bees & neonicotinoids

PMRA has recently released a consultation document putting forward a plan to protect bees from exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides. The report says, in part:

"PMRA has determined that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are affecting the environment due to their impacts on bees and other pollinators....

In the spring and summer of 2012, we received a significant number of pollinator mortality reports mainly from corn growing regions of Ontario and Quebec. Areas of high corn production correlated well with the locations of bee mortalities. Approximately 70% of the affected dead bee samples tested positive for residues of neonicotinoid insecticides used to treat corn seeds while neonicotinoids were only detected in unaffected bees in one sample at very low levels. We concluded that the majority of pollinator mortalities were a result of exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides, likely through exposure to contaminated dust generated during the  planting of treated corn seed. The unusually warm and dry weather conditions were thought to be a contributing factor...

However, in spring 2013 with more typical weather patterns, we continued to receive a significant number of pollinator mortality reports from both corn and soybean growing regions of Ontario and Quebec, as well as Manitoba. Consequently, we have concluded that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable."

The report goes on to provide their intention to implement additional measures, including labelling with enhanced warnings, safer lubricants and planting practices as well as more analysis.

While we greatly appreciate PMRA's analysis of the issue and commitment to consultation and action, we are disappointed that removing these pesticides from use is not one of the options presented.

We encourage you to add your voice to this discussion by responding to their report through this email address.

Here's a draft email that you can cut and paste or modify for your own use:

Dear PMRA,

I am asking you to ban neonicotinoid pesticides immediately.
I am concerned that the continued use of neonicotinoid pesticides poses an unacceptable likelihood of serious, imminent harm to honey bees and native pollinators. As bees pollinate one third of every bite that we eat I believe that it could have a negative impact on agriculture by limited pollination services. And finally, I am concrerned that neonicotinoid pesticides reduce pollination of wild plants in a way that may alter ecosystems.

Your current recommendations do not go far enough: simply reducing the spread of dust from neonicotinoid-coated seeds during planting (which research shows amounts to less than 2% of the pesticide load), will not prevent toxic build up in the soil. Nor will it prevent the spread of these water-soluble chemicals to ponds or other sources of water that bees and other insects access during spring and summer. We will be asking that these toxic chemicals  be removed from use.
Ban them now!
(your name, address, tel. no., email)