by Sandy Lindsay

Some of the dozen articles on Pesticides featured on the Saugeen Times

Pesticide Ban Comes up at Counci

Council Pesticide Vote

 Saugeen Times Danger of Garden Pesticide 2,4-D

Interesting Letter on Pesticides

The Saugeen Times Ontario Pesticide Ban Makes Good Economic Sense

For more go to Search and type in Pesticides



Here we go again.

It seems as though each year as spring begins to approach, thoughts turn to the out of doors, gardening and lawn care.

Unfortunately, it also means that the companies that deal with pesticide applications also begin to gear up for business but, according to the Canadian Environmental Law Association, pesticides are anything but safe.

The pest Management Regulatory Agency advises "Canadians to minimize any exposure and the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) has found "consistent links to serious illnesses, such as cancer, neurological diseases and reproductive problems."

In addition to the OCFP results, Toronto Public Health found that children appear more vulnerable and, as might be expected, given their outdoor 'play', on lawns and in gardens, they are more highly exposed. Certain pesiticides have been associated with childhood cancers and negative impacts on the developing brains of children.

Still, the war between those who would have a weed-free lawn at the expense of the health of their families and neighbours, wages on.

The Suzuki Foundation sets out three key issues when it comes to banning pesticide use:

  1. The proposed pesticide standards should not be weakened or delayed. Only low-risk, natural substances should be allowed on lawns and gardens, starting this summer.
  2. The new ban should encourage innovators in non-toxic lawn care, creating economic growth and green jobs.
  3. There should be requirements for golf courses to reduce pesticide use.

The city of Calgary voted in favour of a pesticide ban in 2008 and then sent a recommendation to the Province to initiate a province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticides.

The total result? Alberta "responded with a token gesture - a ban on "Weed and Feed", the most disturbing of all applications."

Provincial Pesticide Bans Work!

Quebec is currently the only province to restrict cosmetic pesticide sales (the Ontario ban will be in place this year). Statistics Canada found that the number of households using pesticides in Quebec decreased by 50% between 1994 and 2005. Nationwide, pesticide use dipped by only 2 percentage points over the same period

It's up to all levels of government to protect the environment and, thereby the health of its citizens. There are now approximately some 200 municipalities in Canada that have passed bylaws to restrict or ban the use of lawn and garden pesticides. In Quebec, provincial regulations banning all pesticides have been in place since 2003.

(next column)

11/02/2009 12:30 AM

The Ontario government was to partially follow suit this spring (2009) and ban the cosmetic use of pesticides. One can only imagine the furor that this has created with the manufacturers of chemicals that make up the pesticide market.

A survey conducted by Oraclepoll Research for Pesticide Free Ontario (PFO) and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) in 2007, found that 71 per cent (71%) of Ontarians support a provincial law prohibiting lawn and garden pesticides.

Lobbying against the ban however, has been on-going and the chemical companies are spending, or are prepared to spend, millions of dollars to bring pressure to bear on the governments to halt going ahead with the ban.

Living on the coast of one of the last Great Lakes to be considered even partially clean, it would appear that residents would not want chemicals being consistently applied which, in turn leach into the water table and, thereby, into the lake, all in the name of a weed-free lawn. Appearances however, can be deceiving as many residents, both permanent and 'summer', continue to employ heavy, repetitive applications of pesticide and herbicide sprays. Many of these 'summer' residents live in urban centres that have, in fact, banned pesticide usage and, yet, they befoul the environment where they spend only a few short months each year.

The last thing they (chemical manufacturers) want anyone to realize, of course, is that there are alternative products and/or methods that are being widely used to control both insects and weeds. In addition, a healthy lawn or garden industry using alternative methods would, in fact, create jobs while protecting users and providers.

If we, as a community don't want to see our water become more toxic and the health of our children and grandchildren put at great risk then we must take action.

To show support for the Ontario Provincial ban on cosmetic pesticide use, the following steps as set out by Gideon Forman, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians (CAPE) for the Environment can be taken:

Send the following message:

We've just learned the chemical industry is trying to postpone the Ontario pesticide ban by at least a year!

The pesticide regulations will boost business and green jobs. Please ensure they come into effect this Spring. Do nothing to weaken them.

Would you please e-mail the Ontario government saying you want the pesticide regulations implemented this Spring?

1. I strongly support the pesticide regulations and want them in effect by Spring, 2009.
2. The regulations will help Ontario industry become innovators in non-toxic lawn care, creating economic growth and green jobs.
3. I hope the government will also require golf courses to reduce pesticide use.

The following are addresses to lodge your views with:

Thank you so much!
All the best,

Gideon Forman
Executive Director
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment


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