Jerseys From China The Environmental Impact of Pesticides
Pesticides go everywhere and persist long after the initial "kill". 

Pesticides do not stay where you, your neighbour or a "properly" trained and licenced Integrated Pest Management (IPM) applicator use them.

The ingredients in pesticides move into the air, water and soil.

Residue drifts through the air or percolates through our lawns and gardens into the soil.

Residue also runs off "hardened surfaces" (our driveways, patios and sidewalks) onto our streets and ultimately ends up in BC's water and soil resources.

See right sidebars . . .  "Pesticides go EVERYWHERE" and "All Insects Pesticide Target".
Surface and Groundwater Contamination
The Natural Water Cycle diagram illustrates below why pesticide residues are being found throughout BC . . . in the air, soil, vegetation, fish, wildlife and water resources, including our drinking water.

Atrazine is one of the most commonly used North American herbicides and was banned by the European Union in 2004 due to groundwater contamination.

Atrazine's contamination of North American drinking water has been known for years and is one of 30 pesticide ingredients that Ecojustice asked the federal Health Minister in 2012 to review and re-consider continued Health Canada approval.

In 2004, Alberta Environment reported that pesticide use was contaminating the provinces's treated drinking water:
"The frequency of pesticide detection in treated water supplies appears to be linked to pesticide use in the watershed."

Source: A Summary of Pesticide Residue Data from the Alberta Treated Water Survey, 1995 - 2003. p. 35.
This report used Alberta's Water Well Information Centre data and contributed to Alberta's January 1, 2010 ban of Weed N Feed products containing 2,4-D.

Ontario's Ministry of Environment monitored 10 urban streams and creeks pre and post Ontario's 2009 ban and found an impressive 80% drop in the three most commonly used and banned pesticide ingredients . . . 2, 4-D, Dicamba and Mecoprop (MCPP).

See right sidebars . . . "Atrazine Poisons the Well", "Ont 'Banned' Steams Safer", "Protect BC's Drinking Water" and "Protect Groundwater Label".

See left sidebars . . . "2,4-D Bans" and "2003 Roundup Ban".

When will pesticide residue be monitored in BC's water resources?

When will BC (and Canada) ban 2,4-D, atrazine, dicamba, glyphosate, MCPP and other harmful pesticide ingredients?


Water Cycle
Source: City of Auckland, New Zealand. April 2009 website.

Sustainable Healthy Soil

Healthy soil is essential to sustain healthy plants and animals . . . and healthy humans.
As illustrated below in The Soil Food Web diagram, soil is made up of "beneficial" living organisms and micro-organisms that produce nutrients for plants and animals.

Healthy soil is not sustainable with chemical pesticide use as the chemicals deplete the build-up of organic materials and can kill or harm many living organisms.

For how to make your soil safe for pollinators, see "Gardening for pollinators" brochure and "All Insects Pesticide Target" right sidebar.

Source: US Dept of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
from the Coalition for a Healthy Calgary website Dec 2009.

Wildlife and Pets at Risk

In addition to ubiquitously contaminating BC's soil, plants and water, pesticide residue harms living animals, especially bees, birds, fish, frogs, earthworms, insects and our beloved pets.
Animals do not stay in one area, cannot read pesticide application signs and are exposed to pesticide residue in many ways:
  • by direct contact as their skin absorbs residue from grasses or other plants.
  • by ingestion when licking their coats/skin and eating pesticide granules, pesticide-treated plants or other animals poisoned by pesticides.
  • by breathing pesticide particles in the air or drinking pesticide residue in water.  
BC's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) knows of the risk of pesticide exposure for our pets and is a member of the health and environment coalition calling for a BC ban on the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.

See left sidebar "Your Pets are at Risk".
Hormonal/Endocrine Changes in Animals
Pesticide exposure is causing hormonal, endocrine changes in many animals.

The hormonal impact of pesticides has been confirmed in these disturbing trends:
  • Feminization of male fish, birds and mammals.
  • Decreased fertility in birds, fish, shellfish and mammals.
  • Birth deformities in birds, fish and turtles. 
For more info, see the Georgia Strait Alliance, the Silent Spring Institute and Our Stolen Future.
Aquatic Life at Risk. . . including BC's Salmon
BC's prized salmon are at risk because pesticide residues are throughout BC's water resources.

Since the late 1990s, pesticides have been identified as a possible contributing cause for declining Pacific Northwest salmon stock.

See right sidebar "Salmon at Risk".

Pesticide residues are known to effect salmon’s sense of smell which is critical to their spawning lifecycle as reported in RoundUp effects on coho salmon 2006 study and  BC’s Nicomekl River 2008 study. 
BC’s first Pesticide Free community cautions residents about the negative effect pesticide runoff has on acquatic life (Port Moody 2003).

Scientific studies continue to show the widespread effects pesticide ingredients have on animals and the environment. Some are highlighted below. . .
  • Honey Bees
    The world's most widely used neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid is used for insect control and crop "protection". The insecticide affects the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death.

    Imidacloprid was banned in France (2000) and Germany(2008) because of known massive bee kills and is thought by many to be a major cause of the world-wide rapid decline of honey bees (aka colony collapse disease).

    In addition to killing bees, when imidacloprid is used, birds, worms and aquatic life are known to be at risk. See Paul Tukey's "Imidacloprid What You Must Know Now" Sept 17, 2009 blog.

    In January 2013, three common neonicotinoids (clothianidan, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam) were found to pose an "unacceptable" danger to bees by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

    The EFSA's study recommended that the only acceptable use of these insecticides is "on crops not attractive to honey bees".

    In April 2013, the European Union announced a 2 year neonicotinoid ban to see if bee populations will improve when not exposed to neonicotinoids . . . similar action has not happened in Canada or the United States.

    See "Insecticide Danger for Bees" right sidebar.

  • Amphibians
    The 2011 article "Amphibians Are Not Ready for Roundup" is a fascinating read of world-wide research on the effects of glyphosate on amphibians.

    The article covers glyphosate studies since the 1990s, Monsanto's reactions and concludes that scientists have a "more precise understanding of which concentrations and conditions pose a serious risk".

    See "Amphibians/Risky RoundUp" left sidebar.

  • Frogs
    In addition to known effects of glyphosate on amphibians, atrazine is known to demasculinize frogs, thanks to Tyrone Hayes' work first published in 2002.

    Reported in Discover Magazine February 1, 2003, Hayes found that, in male frogs, glyphosate "switches on a gene that makes aromatase, an enzyme that turns testosterone to estrogen. Some frogs eventually grow ovaries, eggs and yolk". 

    In January 2013, a study on the effects of 7 popular European pesticides found that frogs were killed within an hour!

    As reported in The Guardian, these study results are "suggesting the chemicals are playing a significant and previously unknown role in the catastrophic decline of amphibians".

    See "Frog Decline from Pesticides" left sidebar.

    Also see BC's Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) for more on how pesticides affect bees, birds, amphibians and fish.

For more info on . . .

  • For lower risk products and sustainable land care practices, click here.

  • Why BC needs a strong "no IPM" ban (like Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec) and why this won't happen under the BC Liberals, click here
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 13:49