Labelled Use is Dangerous

"However, one need only
to read
the pesticide label
of many typical
household pesticides
to realize that these
are
dangerous substances -
in the sense
that they are quite
capable of causing
significant health
and
environmental impacts.

For example: Avoid
breathing of spray mist.

Avoid repeated
contact with skin . . .

Avoid contamination
of aquatic systems
during application . . . "

West Coast Environmental Law Association
Nov 7 2011 Presentation
to Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides

RoundUp Deadly for Humans

"One specific
inert ingredient,
polyethoxylated tallowamine,
or POEA,
was more deadly to
human embryonic,
placental and
umbilical cord cells
than
the herbicide itself
– a finding
the researchers call
'astonishing.' "

Weed-Whacking
Herbicide Proves
Deadly to Human Cells

Scientific American
June 23, 2009

For French study, see
Chemical Research in
Toxicology
2009.

Precautionary Hudson Case

"In order to achieve
sustainable development,
policies must be
based on the
precautionary principle.

Environmental measures
must anticipate,
prevent and attack
the causes of
environmental degradation.

Where there are threats
of serious or
irreversible damage,
lack of full
scientific certainty
should not
be used
as a reason
for postponing
measures to prevent
environmental degradation."

June 28, 2001 Hudson Ruling
Supreme Court of Canada

Can. Needs Phase-Out

"It cannot be emphasized enough
that children
at all stages of growth
are the primary victims
of our overuse
of chemicals.

As many of the effects of exposure
to pesticides are chronic,
they may well suffer
the consequences
of exposure all their lives
and even pass this on
to the next generation.

. . Pesticide use should
only be permitted
in an emergency, such as
a serious pest infestation
which threatens
the health of people
and the environment.

. . The Committee urges
the government,
in partnership with the provinces,
territories and municipalities,
to develop a strategy
for the gradual phase-out
of pesticides used
for cosmetic purposes."

Pesticides,
Making the right choice
for the Protection
of Health and the Environment
.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment
and Sustainable Development. 
May 2000 Report. Section 12.

Help BC go Pesticide Free!

The Canadian Cancer Society
continues to lead BC's
health and environmental
groups' advocacy for a
province-wide ban.

See Coalition's Feb 3, 2012
ban statement.

Review ban legislation
given to BC's Environment
Minister in 2010.

Join the CCS's "Pesticide Free
BC" Facebook discussions.

Take action! to help BC
go pesticide free.

Print "Pesticide Free" Poster

poster
Click on image
to print this poster.
Put it up in your
neighbourhood.

Together, let's make
BC pesticide free!
Laws In Canada

 

In Canada, federal, provincial and local governments have different responsibilities and rules regarding cosmetic pesticides. 

Read on about cosmetic pesticide regulation in Canada, Hudson's pesticide bylaw (a Canadian first in 1991) and why Canada needs a federal ban  . . .


Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)

In Canada, all pesticide products are reviewed and registered for sale by the federal government's PMRA.

 
Pesticides sold in Canada are based on PMRA's four classifications:
  • Domestic pesticides. Used in and around the home. Sold in small quantities. No special training needed. Sold everywhere!
  • Commercial pesticides. (aka Agricultural, Horticultural, Industrial or Forestry). Used for commercial operations in agriculture, forestry or industry. Pose greater risk than domestic products due to higher ingredient concentration. Sold in large containers. Require special training and certification of users and vendors.
  • Restricted pesticides. Used only by certified pesticide applicators.  Have special label restrictions. More hazardous than domestic or commercial pesticides. Sold only for restricted use.
  • Manufacturing pesticides. Used by companies that manufacture or formulate pesticides. Not available to farmers.
Think about this . . . the commercial pesticides used by landscapers, including certified Integrated Pest Management (IPM) applicators, on our lawns, school yards, sports fields and golf courses are more concentrated (and more toxic) than the domestic products residents can buy at local stores and garden centres.

See right sidebars . . . "PMRA's Conflict of Interest" and "No Harm if Used Properly".

See left sidebars . . . "Labelled Use is Dangerous" and "RoundUp Deadly for Humans".

For more classification and product use info, see Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety website.

For flaws in PMRA's review of pesticide products, click here.

Provincial/Territorial Regulation

Provinces and territories have rules on how pesticides are used and sold, and their hazardous waste disposal.

Seven provinces have banned the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides approved by Health Canada:


Alberta 2010
, New Brunswick 2009, Newfoundland and Labrador 2012, Nova Scotia 2011, Ontario 2009, PEI 2010  Quebec 2003.


For more on provinical bans (Manitoba is getting one in 2014) and BC's Integrated Pest Management Act, click here.

Local Government Regulation

Municipal and regional governments (our local governments) can pass restrictive use bylaws to protect residents and the environment.

Over 170 municipalities across Canada have passed bylaws to protect residents and the environment, with 40 communities in BC.


However, City Hall's authority is limited in three significant areas as local government cannot . . .

  • Stop pesticide use on non-residential private property;
  • Stop the sale of pesticides; or
  • Override provincial legislation (unless specifically included, like Quebec's ban).

In BC, stopping pesticide use on commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-residential properties is voluntary and must be initiated by the property owner . . . this includes our day cares, school yards, soccer and other sport fields, hospital grounds, university campuses and golf courses.

Because of these limitations, the group representing local governments throughout BC, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), has passed resolutions requesting provincial legislation to ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.

For UBCM's 2008 and 2009 resolutions, see "City Hall wants BC Ban" right sidebar.

For more on why BC pesticide bylaws don't protect residents or the environment, click here.

Hudson's Bylaw . . . a Canadian First!
Canada’s first municipal pesticide bylaw was passed May 6, 1991 by the small town of Hudson, Quebec on Montreal's West Island (pop 5,000) . . . over twenty years ago!

Hudson's community effort was initiated by dermatologist Dr. June Irwin, who in the early 1980s, started making a connection between the health of her patients and their exposure to chemicals in lawn and garden products.

Dr. Irwin went to every town meeting from May 6, 1985 until Bylaw 270 was passed six years later (to the day!) on May 6, 1991.

Her persistence is legendary, including her trademark statement: "We are a human experiment without records being kept."

See "We're a Human Experiment" right sidebar.

Two lawn companies challenged Hudson's bylaw and ten years later, on June 28, 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously upheld Bylaw 270:
“It is reasonable to conclude that the town by-law's purpose is to minimize the use of allegedly harmful pesticides in order to promote the health of its inhabitants," and that 
"Permitting the town to regulate pesticide use is consistent with international law's precautionary principle, which states it is better to be overly cautious than to create a potential risk to the environment.”
Over twelve years ago, the Supreme Court ruling confirmed the "precautionary principle" for Canadian pesticide laws.

See "Precautionary Hudson Case" left sidebar.

Hudson's inspiring and successful effort of taking on North America's powerful chemical landscaping industry is documented in Paul Tukey's 2009 film "Hudson: A Chemical Reaction".

For info on the ten year legal case, see the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

Canada Needs a Ban
If three government levels have pesticide rules, why does Canada need a ban?

It is wrong that the risk of harmful exposure to cosmetic pesticides depends on where you live in Canada.

It is also wrong that harmful pesticide ingredients and products continue to be sold across Canada.

Many countries have banned numerous known carcinogens and hormone disruptors years ago.

Many Canadians think that because pesticides are for sale, they must be safe.

Why would Health Canada allow products to be sold that can harm our children? our pets? the environment?
 
Canada needs a national ban on the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides because . . .
  • Health Canada’s PMRA continues to approve ingredients and products that are known to be harmful to human health or the environment.

    See Ecojustice's October 2012 request that Health Canada review the continued use of 30 harmful chemcials.
  • The 2000 national phase-out recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Development continues to be ignored (See "Can. Needs Phase-Out" left sidebar);
  • The chemical landscaping industry has successfully (and incorrectly) convinced many homeowners and most governments that "safe and science based" Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the answer to our landscaping needs; and
  • The chemical landscaping industry continues to lobby against pesticide rules, including the unconscionable position that golf courses must be exempt from provincial bans and local bylaws.
Two Private Members' Bills were introduced April 2009 in the House of Commons for a Canada-wide ban to protect all Canadians.  Neither bill was passed for further consideration.

In February 2012, Pat Martin, NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre showed his continued commitment to a Canadian pesticide ban with his introduction of Bill C-390, An Act to amend the Pest Control Products Act.  This bill also did not get further consideration.
 
See right sidebars . . . "Canada Needs Ban" and "Federal Ban Bill C-390".

For more info on . . .
  • Why Health Canada's flawed approval of pesticide products does not protect any Canadian, click here.
  • The need for a precautionary approach to pesticide regulation, click here.
  • BC's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Act and seven provincial bans, click here.
  • Industry opposition to pesticide laws, except those that support continued pesticide use through IPM, click here.
  • To get your lawn and garden off traditional, highly toxic pesticides by using 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, 18 September 2013 12:27
 

Tell Premier Clark she needs to honour her 2011 pesticide ban commitment.

Call the Premier's office at 250 387 1715 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Together, let's make BC pesticide free.

                                                                                                                     
 


PMRA's Conflict of Interest

" . . we asked ourselves
whether
it is possible
for one agency,
the Pest Management
Regulatory Agency (PMRA),
to perform two virtually
conflicting tasks,
namely that of
approving chemical pesticides
as requested
by industry
while at the same time
regulating them
in order
to protect
human health."

Pesticides,
Making the right choice
for the Protection
of Health and the Environment
.

Parliamentary Standing Cttee
on Environment and
Sustainable Development. 
May 2000 Report.

See Chair's Preface to Report.

No Harm if Used Properly

"Health Canada assesses
all of the ingredients,
determines label directions
for each product,
and
registers
only those products
that will not harm
human health or
the environment.
If you choose
to use a pesticide
in or around your home,
you are responsible
for its proper use.

This includes being familiar
with safe handling
and
application procedures,
the precautions
described on the label,
and
how to dispose
of pesticides properly."

Homeownership Guidelines
for Using Pesticides
Health Canada website.

City Hall wants BC Ban

Elected officials representing
cities and towns across BC
have repeatedly requested
that the Province
pass legislation to ban
the sale and use
of cosmetic pesticides.

In September 2009,
the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) resolved that:

“WHEREAS residents of
the Province of British Columbia
are increasingly requesting
their local governments
to ban the use
of cosmetic pesticides
within their boundaries
in order
to mitigate concerns
that these pesticides
present a threat
to the environment,
children, pets and
personal health; . . . 

“AND WHEREAS
the Community Charter
does not give communities
the legislative authority
to ban
the sale of pesticides,
only to regulate their use:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
that the Province
of British Columbia
enact provincial legislation
that will ban
the sale and use
of cosmetic pesticides
province-wide.”
 
For the complete 2009 Resolution B38, click here.

Also see 2008
Resolutions B81 and B82.

BC's Environment Minister Lake championed Resolution B81 while Mayor of Kamloops.

We're a Human Experiment

"We are a
human experiment
without records being kept.

We have chemical warfare
going on
in our neighbourhoods.

The spreading
and the spraying
of chemicals
on lawns, trees and houses
is against
the common right
of all citizens
to breathe clean air
and to remain in health."

Are pesticides killing
the boy next door?


Dr. June Irwin, Feb 9, 1991.

Canada Needs Ban

In April 2009,
two private members' bills,
Bill C-363 and C-368,
were introduced
in Parliament
calling for
a Canada-wide ban
on non-essential
cosmetic pesticide use.

These bills show
the need to protect
all Canadians
from harmful
pesticide exposure.

Federal Ban Bill C- 390

“The purpose
of this enactment
is to place a moratorium
on the use
of chemical pesticides
in the home and garden,
on recreational facilities
such as parks
and golf courses,
until scientific and
medical evidence
showing that
such use is safe
has been presented
to Parliament
and confirmed
in a report prepared by a
parliamentary committee."

For Bill C-390, click here.
Introduced by Pat Martin, Winnipeg Center NDP MP February 9, 2012.