New pesticide safety regulations will be tabled during the upcoming Legislative Session under Bermuda’s Pesticide Safety Act 2009, to reduce cancer risk on the island.

Discussing Throne Speech initiatives earlier today, Health Minister Kim Wilson said: “Provisions in this Act enable oversight of all pesticides to prevent contamination of the environment, food and water while contributing to efficiency in agriculture, and protecting the public and pesticide applicators from cancer risk.”

The primary objective is to bring the Act into full force so that:

* Human health and the environment are protected through improved management of the risks associated with pesticides;

* Standards of pesticide use are improved, and pesticide application practices are made safer and more efficient and effective in all settings; and

* All commercial pesticide application methods are considered and adequately regulated, including, but not limited to backpack, boom spray, basal cut-stem treatment, wick-wand methods, and novel pesticide application methods such as aerial spraying by drone.

Regulations to be made under the Act will do the following:

* Create a process to designate categories of pesticides (general, restricted and prohibited) and communicate to the public which pesticides have been so designated;

* Prescribe conditions for applying pesticides, including in the environment and on produce to be offered for sale / marketed as pesticide-free/friendly;

*Recognise approved training schemes for pesticide applicators;  Create a licensing system for regulating commercial and high-risk application of pesticides;  Create standards for the transport, handling, storage and disposal of pesticides;

* Establish record-keeping requirements for importation, sale, use, transport, handling, storage and disposal of pesticides; and prescribe penalties for applying pesticides commercially without a licence and/or outside of the approved conditions of pesticide importation.

The Minister also noted that during the past year, out of “necessity”, the “focus continued to be on COVID-19 and our pandemic response”.

“In recent weeks and months, our focus has shifted to our new normal. While the pandemic is not yet over, our public health emergency is drawing to a close.”

On that note, she concluded: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many dedicated healthcare workers and all those who were on the frontline and worked tirelessly to help us manage the pandemic. Thanks to their efforts, we are definitely in a better space right now.

“We’ve had a tough few years, and we’ve come a long way. I am optimistic that our initiatives in the next Legislative Session will improve health outcomes as we work towards healthy people in a healthy community.”