ALBERTON -- There’s still no timeline on when, if ever, a stalled federal monitoring study on the environmental effects of the pre-plant fumigant chloropicrin might resume on Prince Edward Island.
The P.E.I. Department of Environment recently notified its federal counterpart that it would not allow the testing of chloropicrin in P.E.I soil while a review of the active ingredient is being carried out by Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
Erin Taylor, the P.E.I. Department of Environment manager responsible for pesticide regulations, said the federal study, awarded to Fredericton-based Stantec Consulting, had several components leading up to the test trial of chloropicrin on strawberry plants by fall. She said the entire study has been put on hold at least until the PMRA review is completed.
A media relations official with Health Canada confirmed by email Friday that chloropicrin is one of 23 active ingredients under review by the PMRA.
Under the Pest Control Products Act, a special review is triggered if an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member country prohibits all uses of a pesticide for health or environmental reasons.
The PMRA initiated a special review of chloropicrin in December, 2013 following a European Union decision to prohibit its uses. That was before the Stantec monitoring study commenced.
Alberton-based Westech Agriculture had applied for permission to try chloropicrin as a possible alternative to methyl bromide, the fumigant it currently uses. Methyl bromide is already prohibited in Canada but Westech has been granted a critical use exemption until 2015. In considering Westech’s request, Environment Canada advertised for a monitoring study, subsequently awarding the contract to Stantec.
Stantec’s plan to test chloropicrin on Westech land in St Roch later this year had drawn stiff opposition from residents who live in that area.
Taylor stressed nothing has had to be rescinded by the P.E.I. Department of Environment. She said the department has never granted a permit for chloropicrin to be applied and it won’t be issuing a permit, at least not while the PMRA review is underway.
Health Canada provides no estimate on when the PMRA study will be completed, pointing out duration depends on the complexity of issues identified for the review. It will be publishing its proposed special review decision for consultation prior to making a final decision.
22 other active ingredients also being reviewed
Besides chloropicrin, the following active ingredients are under PMRA review because of a European Union ban: acephate, atrazine, carbaryl, chlorthal-dimethyl, diazinon, dichlorvos, diphenylamine, paraquat, and trifluralin. The following active ingredients are under review because of bans in Norway: 2,4-D, aminopyralid, bromoxynil, difenoconazole, fluazifop-P-butyl, fluazinam, hexazinone, imazapyr and linuron. Both the EU and Norway have banned dichlobenil and simazine. The EU and Switzerland have banned quintozene and Switzerland and Japan have banned pentachlorophenol.