Pest control products are registered by Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) for use only if there is reasonable certainty that no harm to human health or the environment will result from exposure to, or use of, the product as directed on the label. The PMRA collects incident reporting data under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act. If a pesticide manufacturer receives information about an incident involving one of their products, they are required by law to submit that information to the PMRA. Members of the public may also submit information about an incident directly to Health Canada. It is important to note that the information presented in incident reports reflects the observations and opinion of the person reporting it, and does not include any assessment by Health Canada, nor does it confirm an association between the pesticide and the effects reported.
Health Canada considers the reported information to determine if there are potential health or environmental risks associated with a pesticide and, if necessary, takes corrective action. Such action could range from minor label changes to discontinuation of the product.
A report for an incident involving mortality of honey bees at a commercial cranberry production site located near Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes Quebec was received by the PMRA on August 9, 2010. According to the report, an unknown pesticide containing the active ingredient diazinon was applied to the cranberries on June 8, 2010. Located adjacent to the site were 80 honeybee hives which were being used for pollination of the crop. The honeybees were still actively foraging when the pesticide was applied.
An analysis of dead bees following the incident was conducted by the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) that revealed the presence of diazinon and its metabolite diazinon oxon.
In accordance with the Incident Reporting Regulations classification system, this incident was classified as Environment Major. This incident report is posted on the PMRA electronic Public Registry on the Health Canada website.
A pest control product containing the active ingredient diazinon was applied to a commercial cranberry production site located near Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes Quebec when honey bees were actively foraging. Analysis of the dead bees confirmed that exposure to diazinon did occur. Diazinon is highly acutely toxic to bees.
Based on its very high toxicity to honey bees, the fact that the bees were actively foraging when the pesticide application occurred, and concentrations of diazinon and the transformation product diazinon oxon were detected in dead bees it is highly probable that diazinon is responsible for the incident.
The PMRA has evaluated this incident and concluded that no regulatory action is required by Health Canada at this time. The PMRA has completed the re-evaluation of pest control products containing the active ingredient diazinon. The re-evaluation decision document (RVD2009-18) was published on November 4, 2009. As a result of the assessment, many uses of diazinon including the cranberry use-pattern are being phased out because registrants do not support their continued registration or because of human health risks, risks to the environment, or both. The causality of this incident was assessed based on information present at the time of the review. Any additional information that may be provided to the PMRA will be taken into consideration, and may change the conclusions.
More information about the Pesticide Incident Reporting Program is available on Health Canada's website. Should you require further information please contact the Pesticide Incident Reporting Program.