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What Health Canada says about pesticides and cancer

PMRA says all products undergo rigorous scientific tests

STAFF / Question: Some groups indicate that there is a “growing body of evidence suggesting a connection between pesticides and cancer.” What is Health Canada doing about this?

Answer: Health Canada does not register pesticides that are known to cause cancer or other illnesses when used according to the label directions.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is responsible for administering the Pest Control Products Act on behalf of the minister of health. Before a pesticide is allowed to be used or sold in Canada, it must undergo a rigorous scientific assessment process, which provides reasonable certainty that no harm, including chronic effects such as cancer, will occur when pesticides are used according to label directions.

Under this pre-market approval process, results from more than 200 types of scientific studies must be submitted to determine if the pesticide would cause any negative effects to people, animals, birds, insects, plants, as well as on the soil and in the water. This assessment takes into consideration sensitive subgroups, such as pregnant and nursing women, infants, children and seniors.

Additionally, Health Canada scientists review the scientific literature for studies which refer to pesticides. Health Canada recognizes the value of epidemiology studies in risk assessment. The most useful and relevant epidemiological studies are those that properly characterize exposure in terms of how the product is used.

(Source: Health Canada’s website —



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