Re-evaluation of Glyphosate

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pesticides must go through rigorous science-based assessments before being approved for sale in Canada, and undergo a cyclical re-evaluation to ensure they continue to meet modern health and environment safety standards.  During this re-examination, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) assessed the potential human health risk of glyphosate from drinking water, food, occupational and bystander exposure, as well as the environmental risk to non-target organisms.  Both the active ingredient and formulated products were included in the re-evaluation, and were found to pose minimum risk to health and the environment.  For a detailing of the re-evaluation, please see: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_decisions/rvd2017-01/index-eng.php

Some further measures to minimize risk have been added; expect to see these changes appearing on product labels in the near future.

Human Health
  • To protect commercial and residential applicators: glyphosate is not to be applied using hand-wicking or hand-daubing methods.
  • To protect workers entering treated sites: a restricted-entry interval (REI) of 12 hours is required for agricultural uses.
  • To protect bystanders: a statement is required indicating that the product is to be applied only when the potential for drift to areas of human habitation or areas of human activity, such as houses, cottages, schools and recreational areas, is minimal.
Environment
  • Environmental hazard statements are added to inform users of toxicity to non-target species.
  • Spray buffer zones to protect non-target terrestrial and aquatic habitats are required.
  • To reduce the potential for runoff of glyphosate to adjacent aquatic habitats, precautionary statements for sites with characteristics that may be conducive to runoff and when heavy rain is forecasted are required. In addition, a vegetative strip between the treatment area and the edge of a water body is recommended to reduce runoff of glyphosate to aquatic areas.

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