Consider context

January 27, 2014

From: The StarPhoenix

By Pierre Petelle, The Starphoenix

Re: U of S research serves as check (SP, Jan. 11). The plant science industry cares about the environment and its inhabitants, which is why it is committed to the responsible use of its products, including neonicotinoids.

Although seed treatments are a valuable part of modern agriculture, minimizing exposure of non-target organisms is a primary focus. Farmers have embraced our industry’s best management practices to safely plant treated seed, which reduce the potential for non-targeted organisms to be exposed.

Even in instances where incredibly low traces of residue are detected, it’s important to understand that pesticides – including neonicotinoids – receive greater scrutiny than any other regulated product in Canada.

Health Canada mandates more than 200 individual tests to ensure that final products will not pose health or environmental concerns. Its Pest Management Regulatory Agency then reviews the data and only registers a product if there’s scientific proof that it won’t pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.

Publicly available data shows U of S researcher Christy Morrissey is detecting neonicotinoids levels in the parts per trillion range in Prairie wetlands. One part per trillion is equivalent to a single drop of water in 20 Olympic swimming pools. Using terms like “widespread contamination” in this context does nothing for constructive scientific dialogue.

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