Toronto: The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) strongly supports Dalton McGuinty’s proposal for provincial legislation to ban the non-essential or “cosmetic” use of pesticides.
“With nearly 130 municipal bylaws in Canada, many of them in Quebec and Ontario, the time has come for a province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticide use in Ontario,” said Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher with CELA.
Quebec has continued to lead the country on this issue, first with dozens of municipal by-laws enacted during the 1990s, followed by a provincial ban enshrined in the Quebec Pesticide Code.
One of the first bylaws was in the small town of Hudson, Quebec. “After fending off three major legal challenges, Hudson’s right to pass a pesticide bylaw was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in June of 2001. Hudson laid the groundwork for bylaws clear across the country,” Cooper noted.
“Lawn and garden pesticides are just not worth the risks, particularly to children. Pesticides are associated with cancer, impacts on brain development and hormone disruption that can further impair child development. There are too many risks associated with these chemicals to warrant their use for weed-free lawns. This proposed ban is precaution at its best; it will reduce the risks children face from exposure to pesticides,” said Cooper.
Lawn and garden pesticides can also contaminate groundwater and surface water supplies creating hazards for wildlife. Most chemical pesticides can be replaced with environmentally sound management practices, cultural and mechanical practices, biological controls and enhancement of the plant/predator relationship.
A provincial ban will need to follow the model of those Ontario municipalities with bylaws and ensure that strong loophole-free legislation is accompanied by effective educational measures to help Ontario residents eliminate any remaining chemical dependence in their lawns and gardens.
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For more information:
Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher, CELA 416-960-2284, ext 221 or 705-341-2488 (cell)