Some of the fun things about Hallowe’en are the kids, the costumes, and the candy.   We have some scary news about the candy.

Health Canada wants to up the levels of pesticides allowed in sugar. Big time. It has proposed to increase allowable levels of two pesticides used on sugar beets – by 200 fold and 10 fold:

Why? So Canada’s levels will match the US levels.

You may recall in 2021 there was a “pause” put on maximum residue limits (MRLs) because of proposed glyphosate (Roundup) increases. In June, 2023 Health Canada lifted the “pause“, and these two chemicals, combined in a Syngenta product, are the first up.  Syngenta made the request.

The problem isn’t just the increases. It’s the lack of scientific backup. The scientific methodology is completely flawed, as stated in the assessment, and analysis is lacking. Some examples:

1. Overestimates:

The confidential test data shows the proposed levels are too high. The output of the calculation is qualified to say there is high uncertainty of the estimate because only a small dataset was used in the calculation.

2. Not Updated:

The Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) requires a health risk assessment when setting MRLs, which includes a dietary exposure assessment (DEA). But the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)  did not even bother to run an updated DEA on the proposed levels.

3. Lack of Analysis:

The PCPA also requires cumulative and aggregate risk assessments. PMRA didn’t do them.

4. Exceedances for Kids 1-2:

The DEA that PMRA relied on – not updated – showed high risks (exceedances) to kids 1-2 years (at the percentiles appropriate for refined assessments).  This is without application of the 10 fold safety factor for kids, which PMRA is required to apply to protect kids, but doesn’t.

Scary Behaviour

The fact that PMRA could actually put forward such a flawed and unprotective proposal, while claiming to be a scientific agency, is truly scary.

How can we try to protect our kids and their candy? Please let our decision-makers know your concerns about the PMRA and its MRL proposals.  Your MP
Health Minister:

Here are our submission on the proposed increases: SFM Comments on MRL Increases: FL & AZv2Revs

For more on MRLs, please see: MRLs Backgrounder2 for PMRA and Health MinisterR

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