Ottawa is reviewing its approval of up to 383 pesticide products containing 23 active ingredients, including many with links to cancer and water contamination.
After an August 2013 legal challenge by Equiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation, the federal government has now decided to examine these pesticide products, which contain ingredients already banned in Europe, and will reconsider their use in Canada.
The groups will now put their lawsuit on hold to give Canada time to conduct the pesticide reviews.
“The health of Canadians should be the government's top priority and that's why these reviews are so important,” said Sidney Ribaux, executive director at Equiterre, in a statement to media. “If these pesticides are not proven to be safe, we must find alternatives.”
Europe already banned atrazine, one of the chemicals noted in the lawsuit, in 2004, but it is still approved in Canada for use on corn. Atrazine is a frequently-detected herbicide contaminating Canadian surface water and groundwater, and poses health risks as an endocrine disruptor, the lawsuit suggests.
The herbicides 2,4-D, bromoxynil and linuron, and the insecticides carbaryl and dichlorvos are likewise approved for use in Canada, but have been banned by European countries because of serious health risks that include cancer.
In August 2013, Equiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation sued the Canadian government over its refusal to take steps to protect Canadians from hundreds of pesticide products that contain active ingredients.