Media Release: Health Professionals, Labour and Environment Groups Call for a Toronto Pesticide Bylaw

Media Release

The Partnership for Pesticide Bylaws, a new collaboration of health professionals and other concerned organizations, held a media conference to announce their call for Toronto to enact a bylaw prohibiting cosmetic pesticide use to protect public health, children’s health, animal health and the environment.

“Pesticides are known to be endocrine disrupters, neurotoxicants, and carcinogens. Children are particularly vulnerable to the health impact of pesticides which have been associated with developmental delays and increased motor dysfunction in children,” said Ms. Janet Kasperski, RN, Executive Director of the Ontario College of Family Physicians and one of the founding members of the Partnership, “City Council needs to end this public health threat with a strong pesticide bylaw.”

The Partnership also expressed its opposition to the adoption of industry led voluntary reductions, and plans to gain support for a pesticides bylaw in Toronto by visiting City Councillors, deputing at committees, and talking to concerned citizens.

The Partnership also responded to the release of Toronto Public Health’s report on its public consultation process and its proposed next steps forward to eliminate cosmetic pesticide use in Toronto. “It is apparent that the public is as concerned about the health risks of pesticides as we are, and wants a bylaw to protect their children and themselves,” said Dr. Hilary de Veber, Pediatrician and member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

Additional spokespeople who attended were: Theresa McClenaghan, Counsel for Canadian Environmental Law Association; and Micheal O’Sullivan, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Canada.

Members of the Partnership that could not be in attendance at the media conference were quoted saying the following:

Adeline Falk-Rafael, President, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario “Voluntary measures won’t provide the kind of protection that the citizens of Toronto need, want, and deserve. Nurses and the public are prepared to support a ban on pesticide use for cosmetic purposes, especially given the increased risk to children. There is no justification for using dangerous chemicals for non-essential purposes, especially when these chemicals are hazardous to everyone, not just the users.”

Dr. Kapil Khatter, MD, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment “Lawn and garden pesticides are just not worth the risks. There are associations with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, prostate cancer and other diseases that are on the rise in Canada.”

Bailey Mylleville, Clean Production Coordinator, Great Lakes United “Great Lakes United’s member coalition, representing 170 organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals in the Great Lakes basin, supports municipal bylaws and ordinances that prohibit the use of cosmetic chemical pesticides on public and private property. Great lakes waters, air, soil, habitat, and the food supply itself are all impoverished and degraded by the region’s continued dependence on pesticides. Just as with industrial pollution, pesticides can permanently or temporarily contaminate groundwater and surface water supplies creating a health hazard for people and wildlife. Most toxic chemical pesticides can be replaced with environmentally sound management practices, cultural and mechanical practices, biological controls and enhancement of the plant/predator relationship.”

Janet May, Spokesperson, Pesticide Free Ontario “Ontario municipalities need to follow the lead of Quebec municipalities and pass pesticide by-laws to protect the health and environment of their residents from exposure to these dangerous chemicals. The Partnership for Pesticide By-laws is a reflection of the depth of support for by-laws among residents of Ontario and will help to clear up misinformation about lawn care pesticides that municipalities are receiving from the chemical industry.”


For more information contact:
Katrina Miller – 416-596-0660