Harmful Pollutants (COA Annex 2)
Table of Contents
Collaborators: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Growing the Margins Conference and Exhibition
Project Contact: Amadou Thiam (613) 679-4292
A one-day workshop on air quality in Rural Ontario was held March 2009 in London Ontario. The workshop's purpose was to raise awareness and understanding of air quality as an issue on Ontario farms within the Great Lakes region. In addition knowledge gaps and potential assessment of agricultural greenhouse gas, odour and ammonia emissions at the farm level were discussed. The workshop was attended by 34 people including representatives from academia, farm organizations, government, private sector and farmers.
Presentation highlights included:
To view the presentations, visit the Growing the Margins Conference and Exhibition website.
Key actions to take from the facilitated discussion included:
The workshop was a success in bringing the scientific and farm community together, by facilitating dialogue and a comprehensive understanding of the rural air quality issue and its impact in the Great Lakes region.
Collection and Disposal of Unwanted/Expired Agricultural Pesticides and Veterinary Pharmaceuticals in the Great Lakes Basin
Collaborators: Agricultural Groups Concerned about Resources and the Environment (AGCare), Ontario Agri Business Association, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, Ontario Farm Animal Council, Canadian Animal Health Institute
Project Contact: Crystal MacKay (519) 837-1326
The Collection and Disposal of Unwanted Agricultural Pesticides and Pharmaceuticals project was completed by AGCare and a committee of industry partners in order to provide the foundation for a comprehensive program for sustainable on-farm waste management with an ultimate goal of designing a solution that is feasible for all farming regions in the Ontario Great Lakes Basin. The project included the removal of unwanted and/or obsolete products through collection and disposal and the completion of a feasibility study to provide recommendations for development of a long term, sustainable program.
Two collection programs were held a pilot program collecting only unused animal health products and used sharps in six Ontario locations was held in November 2008 as a collection of these products had not been held before. A large, province-wide campaign focused on obsolete pesticides, unused animal health products and used sharps was run in October 2009 using 16 collection sites.
Response from the agricultural community to this collection program was tremendous, with approximately 1,000 people participating. Grains and oilseeds producers had the highest participation, followed by horticulture and beef. Almost 70 per cent of participants brought crop protection products only, with 15 per cent bringing animal health products only and 16 per cent bringing both. While many participants indicated the pesticides they were bringing to the collection were in their possession for more than 10 years (31% for liquid pesticides and 34% for sold pesticides), only 17% of participants bringing animal health products to the collection had them in their possession for more than 10 years.
A survey of farmers showed that safe disposal of pesticides and animal health products is described as "the right thing to do" by 90 per cent of farmers. Nine out of ten farmers believe that safe disposal will make their farm operations safer and a large majority wants to show other producers (85 per cent) and consumers (93 per cent) that they are environmentally responsible.
Collaborators: University of Ottawa, and University of Guelph - Ridgetown Campus
Pesticides used within the Great Lakes Basin have the potential to negatively impact the environment. Environmental impacts include contamination of air, soil and water through the pesticide properties of persistence, bioaccumulation and bio-magnification. The impacts from pesticide use can be managed effectively when pesticide users learn about these impacts and chemical properties and implement best application practices.
Increased awareness of pesticide safety and vigilant measures by users are necessary to protect human health, sensitive environmental areas, non-target organisms and drinking water quality. Environmental stewardship is essential to the sustainability of agricultural production within the Great Lakes Basin.
The mandatory Grower Pesticide Safety Course and Pesticide Vendor Certification Course offered by the Ontario Pesticide Education Program (OPEP), promote the safe and responsible use of pesticides. The courses provide growers and vendors with decision-making tools they need to reduce pesticide-related impacts. Ongoing training allows farmers and vendors the opportunity to be informed about advancements in integrated pest management, application methods, drift reduction mechanisms and safety issues. This project enabled fifteen chapters of this course material to be reviewed, updated and formatted for on-line availability. The OPEP is looking towards more e-learning tools in the future as it is important to supply user friendly, easily accessible and accurate material. These courses are available from the Ontario Pesticide Education Program website.
Development of a new course on "Health and Environmental Aspects of Farming" for e-learning delivery was also investigated at the University of Ottawa.
COA Annex 2: Harmful Pollutants
Goal 2: Reduce other harmful pollutants and initiate a program for managing chemical substances for the Great Lakes Basin
Result 3: Develop and initiate a program for the sound management of chemical substances in the Great Lakes Basin.
Commitment L: Enhance education and outreach within the agricultural sector regarding Best Management Practices that reduce potential impacts of pesticide use on water quality, including the development of tools to monitor agricultural pesticide use
Survey of Pesticide Use in Ontario, 2008 and Evaluation of the Relative Risk of Pesticide Use in 2008
Collaborators: University of Guelph, Ontario Pesticide Education Program, Health Canada, Environment Canada
Collaborators: Susan Kelner (519) 674-1584
The survey of pesticide use in Ontario has been conducted every five years since 1973 by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and provides real use data for use in program evaluation, program and policy development and the development of risk mitigation strategies. The data from this survey has allowed both regulators and policy makers to track trends in pesticide use and make informed decisions in that regard.
In 1983 the Food Systems 2002 program was developed with the aim of reducing pesticide use on agricultural crops within Ontario by 50 per cent by 2002. The objective of this study was to analyse changes in pesticide use and risk on agricultural crops within Ontario between 1983 and 2008, using data collected in 1983 as a baseline. Pesticide risk was assessed using the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) and modified EIQ (uses a score for plant surface half-life for post-emergent herbicides rather than assigning as standard value of 3). EIQ measures the potential risk of pesticides to humans and the environment, taking into account the following risk factors: chronic toxicity, dermal toxicity, plant surface half-life, soil half-life, mode of action and systemic absorption in plants, leaching potential, fish toxicity, run-off potential, bird toxicity, bee toxicity, and beneficial arthropod toxicity.
Pesticide use, excluding growth regulators and pesticides used in greenhouses, was 40 per cent less in 2008 than in 1983, versus 52 per cent lower in 2003. Pesticide risk was 39 per cent lower in 2008 compared to 1983 using the EIQ and 55 per cent lower using the modified EIQ. There was a progressive decrease in the average risk per kg of pesticide using the modified EIQ of 25 per cent. There was also a reduction in the number and amount of "high risk" pesticides using both scores.
Reductions in pesticide use and risk in 2008 were greatest among corn and tobacco, crops which contained the highest levels of use in 1983. Part of this decline resulted from the reduction in area of both crops, but pesticide use per hectare also declined on corn crops. Pesticide use on soybeans in 2008 was 13 per cent higher than in 1983; however the area of soybeans in 2008 was 2.3 times the area in 1983 with a crop yield increase of 47 per cent.
Pesticide use on fruit and vegetables decreased by 5 per cent, however the risk was 23 per cent lower on fruits and 10 percent lower on vegetables due to the shift to lower risk pesticides. Pesticide use and risk were higher in 2008 than in 2003, this was mostly due to the increased use of fungicides in years where above average rainfall occurred in order to prevent major crop losses on sensitive crops. Risk per tonne of production was 53 per cent lower using the EIQ and 65 per cent lower using the modified EIQ. The reduction in pesticide risk was greater than the reduction in pesticide us because of the continued shift to the lower risk pesticides.
Overall this study found that the reduction in the amount of pesticide used on agricultural crops in Ontario between the 1983 and 2003 met the goal of the Food System 2002 program. The 2008 survey shows that the agricultural pesticide usage has increased by approximately 15 per cent since 2003. Even though there was an increase in usage from 2003 to 2008, there has been an overall reduction in pesticide usage of 45 per cent over the last 25 years.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Local: (519) 826-4047