Last August, counsel at EcoJustice, on
behalf of clients Equiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation, filed a lawsuit alleging that the
Minister of Health and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) acted
unlawfully when they refused to review (reconsider) the
approval of pest-control products containing three allegedly
environmentally risky pesticides, specifically chlorthal-dimethyl,
trifuralin and trichlorfon. The lawsuit also claimed unreasonable
delay in responding to requests to review 26 other pesticides.
In response, on December 30, 2013, the PMRA announced that it will initiate special
pesticide reviews of 23 of the active ingredients that are the
subject of the litigation. Reviews are
required if an active ingredient is prohibited for health or
environmental reasons in an OECD country.
Those under review are the herbicides, 2,4-D, aminopyralid,
atrazine, bromoxynil, chlorthal-dimethyl, dichlobenil,
fluazifop-P-butyl, hexazinone, imazapyr, linuron, paraquat,
simazine and trifluralin; the insecticides, acephate, carbaryl,
diazinon and dichlorvos; the fungicides, difenoconazole,
diphenylamine, fluazinam and quintozene; the fumigant,
chloropicrin; and the wood preservative, pentachlorophenol.
It is unfortunate that environmental charities must expend
resources to require governments to fulfil their regulatory
mandates and to perform proper pesticide reviews when the science
justifies them. It's unclear what the next steps will be in the
litigation at this point, though the PMRA may seek to have the
litigation dismissed for 'mootness'.
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