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
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,
The Suzuki Foundation sets out three key issues when it comes to
banning pesticide use:
- 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.
- The new ban should encourage innovators in non-toxic lawn care,
creating economic growth and green jobs.
- There should be requirements for golf courses to reduce
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.
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
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
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
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
The following are addresses to lodge your views with:
Thank you so much!
All the best,
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment