QUÉBEC, June 2, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Auditor General of Québec, Ms. Guylaine Leclerc, makes public the Report of the Sustainable Development Commissioner (spring 2016). Chapter 3 makes known the results of the work carried out among the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ) and the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC).
The MDDELCC does not have a complete picture of pesticide use in agricultural areas, which limits the accuracy of its calculation of risk indicators for health and the environment. Most of the neonicotinoids that have been widely used to coat seeds in recent years are not accounted for in the pesticide sales report. Also, pesticide sales continue to increase and the associated risk indicators were on the rise in 2014.
The MDDELCC's tracking of pesticides shows that water quality is deteriorating in the rivers tested in agricultural areas. Pesticides that are among those most likely to harm health and the environment are sometimes found in rivers in concentrations that exceed the levels set to protect aquatic life. Moreover, the indicator used to assess the quality of biodiversity shows that several rivers are in a "precarious" or "poor" state.
Low concentrations of pesticides have been detected in drinking water. However, pesticides that are frequently found in river water and whose concentrations exceed the levels set to protect aquatic life are barely starting to be tested, and the results are not published.
Tracking of pesticides in food, including fruits and vegetables, enables the MAPAQ to determine the level of health risks only in relation to the tested foods and pesticides. A limited number of foods are tested and the presence of some widely used pesticides in Quebec is not evaluated. Although the standards are rarely exceeded, there are still risks. The impact on health of several different pesticides present at the same time in a given food is relatively unknown.
The measures put in place by the MAPAQ are insufficient to lead farmers to adopt farming practices that favour sustainable development and act as a counterbalance to the agrochemical industry, which strongly influences the market. On the other hand, few regulatory measures are in place to reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture.
The Highlights are available at www.vgq.qc.ca. The full report is available only in French.
Lucie Roy, Director
SOURCE Vérificateur Général du Québec
For further information: Lucie Roy, Director, Cabinet, communications et affaires stratégiques, Auditor General of Québec, Tel.: 418 691-5915