Potatoes in Canada

Re-evaluation of chlorothalonil fungicide (Bravo, Echo)

The facts:

1. From 2011-2014, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) conducted a re-evaluation of the fungicide chlorothalonil.

2. On Nov. 1, 2014, PMRA issued a proposed re-evaluation decision proposing the continued registration for the sale and use of products containing chlorothalonil in Canada. Their evaluation of available scientific information found that products containing chlorothalonil did not present unacceptable risks to human health or the environment when used according to label directions.

The unexpected:

3. On Feb. 11, 2016, PMRA issued an amended proposed re-evaluation decision. While some agricultural uses of chlorothalonil do not present unacceptable risks to human health, new risk-reduction measures have been proposed. The most important for potato growers is the number of sprays, which will be reduced from 12 to one per growing season.

4. This amendment to the proposed re-evaluation decision is a consultation document.

5. PMRA is inviting stakeholders to submit comments as well as detailed proposals to further refine risk assessment and risk mitigation. PMRA will accept comments and proposals for a period of 60 days, starting Feb. 11, 2016. Comments should be emailed to PMRA.

6. Before the final re-evaluation decision, PMRA will consider all comments received in response to the proposed re-evaluation decision released in November 2014 and the amendment released in February 2016. PMRA has stated that: A science-based approach will be applied in making a final decision on chlorothalonil.

The Action Plan

The re-evaluation of chlorothalonil affects all horticulture crops in Ontario. Crag Hunter, from OFVGA, is one of the most knowledgeable pesticide experts in North America. He will be writing a response to PMRA and has agreed to give a 15-minute update at the Potato Conference on March 1.

The Ontario Potato Board is actively working with other growers’ organizations to send to PMRA science-based comments to ensure that the number of chlorothalonil applications per year on potatoes is not reduced. 

February 23, 2016  By Eugenia Banks

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