Cosmetic pesticide ban gaining momentum
Pesticides including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are commonly used on Manitoba farms. (File photo)
An alliance of environmental and health groups in Manitoba met with Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh at the Manitoba legislature Monday to encourage the provincial government to ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.
Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba collected more than 1,000 signatures and letters to submit to Mackintosh, and presented evidence supporting the ban.
"There are many natural alternatives to dealing with weeds in lawns and gardens, but the best defence against weeds is to nurture the soil and make sure the conditions for growing are ideal," as quoted from Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba's website.
The concern stems from research which claims that the use of cosmetic pesticides affects the health of pregnant women and young children.
In a document called Play It Safe, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states "by their very nature, most pesticides create some risk of harm. Pesticides can cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms."
Doctors Manitoba and the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) have also backed research urging the provincial government to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides.
A May 2012 review issued by the OCFP, which examined 142 studies, states that exposure to pesticides could lead to autism, ADHD, asthma and even the heightened possibility of cancer. There is also a danger to aquatic life as well, the report claims.
Nevertheless, the call for a ban gets dicey when it comes to agriculture and rural areas. While groups and organizations support a ban for cosmetic pesticides, they do acknowledge some concern for agriculture, saying it should not apply to crops that grow food.
Doug Chorney, president of the Keystone Agricultural Producers, said that the farm group does not support the ban because there are no viable and cost-effective options for producers.
"I strongly feel that the tables provided by Health Canada are trustworthy and reliable information. It's just speculation. There's no data or science to correlate the claims made by these activist groups. They have an agenda to reduce pesticide use and there's no basis for saying this," he said.
"It concerns me that the government accepts this kind of rhetoric in passing regulations around pesticide use. Where does it stop? Are we know going to challenge our medical doctors? It's a very uneasy precedent because I don't think we want to start undermining our regulatory system."
More to come...
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