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Press release on pesticide inaction in Moncton

Greater Moncton city councils are currently trying to establish a new policy on lawn pesticides. If you want to protect your family from the cancer causing agents in common lawn chemicals, sign the petition. For more information about the issue, read on....

Click Here to Sign the 'Ban Lawn Pesticides' Petition

Open letter to Dieppe, Moncton, Riverview city councils

My name is Armand Melanson & I was an attendee at the OCT 23rd meeting on the issue of municipal & residential use of synthetic pesticides & herbicides.

Although I had not planned to speak at the meeting, I felt compelled to respond to some of the misleading comments made by people representing the lawn care industry. I’d like to re-iterate & expand on some of the notions that were touched on at the meeting.

[Author’s note] – where used, the term pesticide refers to synthetic pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide products.   As well, the term Moncton is meant to encapsulate the tri-community area including Dieppe & Riverview.

Concerns over pesticide/herbicide health risks

A fundamental concern for human health is driving the current trend to re-examine the use of pesticides. This concern is based on the growing body of scientific & anecdotal evidence that supports the notion that currently used pesticides present significant & serious risks to human health. Here is a summary of those concerns:

·               According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 95% of the pesticides used on residential lawns are possible or probable carcinogens.

·               The National Cancer Institute reported children develop leukemia six times more often when pesticides are used around their homes.

·               The American Journal of Epidemiologist found that children exposed to insecticides showed higher incidents of brain tumors and other cancers.

·               Studies by the National Cancer Society and other medical researchers have discovered a definite link between fatal non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) and exposure to triazine herbicides (like Atrazine), phenoxyacetic herbicides (2,4-D), organophosphate insecticides (Diazinon), fungicides, and fumigants; all of which have uses as lawn chemicals.

·               The National Academy of Sciences reports that at least one out of seven people are significantly harmed by pesticide exposure each year.

·               Pesticides have a cumulative multigenerational destructive impact on human health. Pesticides are a serious threat to the physical, emotional and mental development of children and future generations.

Dr. Kelly Martin is an epidemiologist and a member of Health Canada's Pest Management Review Agency. "Children are… at increased risk from pesticides," she says.  

"We have five or six good studies that show that if you use lawn pesticides on your lawn or garden one to four times a year, your child has a five to six times increase of developing leukemia."

 The Canadian Federal Government Standing Committee on the Environment has concluded that chemical pesticides "pose a threat to human health and to the environment," and have been linked to different forms of cancer, and should be "weeded out" to protect our children.  

Experts Comment on Pesticide Dangers

Dr. Joe Reisman
Chief of Paediatrics, CHEO,
Pediatric Respirologist
Professor and Chairman,
Department of Paediatrics,
University of Ottawa

Dr. Reisman works with almost
100 physicians who support the
aggressive elimination of the
cosmetic use of pesticides.

"It is not a case of innocent until
proven guilty. We have ample
reason to be concerned. It is a
case of acting on what we know
now, because health risks are
cumulative and can last for
Dr. Alex MacKenzie
Director CHEO Research
Institute and V.P. Research
Genome Canada, Pediatrician

"We are facing increasing
numbers not only of some
childhood cancers but other
conditions such as type one
diabetes, autism, and childhood
asthma. These are real and
consistent and are happening so
quickly that they are clearly
caused by the environment.
Pesticides are associated with an
increased incidence of childhood
neuroblastoma. How many
deaths are acceptable before we
move on this? Speaking as a
pediatrician, a father [...], it is important to ban cosmetic pesticide use."
Dr. C. Scott Findlay,
Associate Professor of Biology
at the University of Ottawa

Dr. Findlay is a resident of
Chelsea, which has a ban on the
cosmetic use of pesticides.

"As a risk analyst, I consider the
negative effects of a particular
decision and weigh the potential
positive outcomes because these
two issues determine the
acceptable risk threshold. The
possible negative health effects of
pesticides are large and the
possible positive effects are
relatively small, which means that
the acceptable risk threshold is
very low."
Dr. John Molot,
Ontario College of Family
Physicians, Environmental
Medicine Physician

"North Americans have
measurable levels of pesticides in
their bodies. Although cosmetic
application of pesticides is not the
only source, it is certainly the
most frivolous. Family physicians
are taught that pesticides
potentially affect health and that
there are cumulative, life-time
risks. The following points need
to be emphasised:
1. young children are most at risk
2. pregnant women are at high
3. pesticides appear to exert toxic
effects on bone marrow, and may
cause hematopoetic cancers after
a latency of 10-25 years
4. pesticides may have cumulative
neurotoxic effects which, in
combination with genetic
susceptibility, cause neurological
5. a link has been established with
pesticides and Non-Hodgkins
6. a link has been established with
prostate cancer
7. pesticide exposure is related to
Parkinson's disease with
8. there is an increased risk for
developing Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig‚s disease)
9. studies of 'inert' ingredients
not disclosed on packaging
suggest that they can also have
adverse effects on brain and
immune function
10. 6 to 15% of the population
are sensitive to chemicals and are
at risk of acute adverse reactions
to pesticide sprays"
Dr. Jennifer Armstrong,
Physician, Ottawa
Environmental Health Clinic
Board of Directors, American
Academy of Environmental

"Environmental health illnesses
linked to pesticides include
development of environmental
sensitivities, worsening of
allergies and other chronic
illnesses, and chronic
fatigue/fibromyalgia syndrome.
About 5% of us experience some
degree of mild symptoms from
cosmetic pesticide exposure, 1%
experience severe reactions and
0.1% experience life-threatening
reactions. Reduce the "chemical
soup", starting with pesticides,
and I assure you that the
population will be healthier."

Dr. Richard Van der Jagt
Haematologist and Chair of
the Canadian Leukemia
Studies Group

Dr. Van der Jagt has a career-long
interest in decreasing the number
of deaths due to cancer, and who
declined an offer of money to
speak in favour of pesticides.

"Some pesticides cause birth
defects or cancer after chronic
exposure. Many of the most
common cancers in children and
in adults have been demonstrated
to be correlated with exposure to
pesticides. Pesticides have also
been shown to affect hormone
systems and may be altering the
basis of life. Some pesticides
inhibit cholinesterase, affecting
the nervous and immune
Ann Coffey
Canadian Biodiversity

"The health of the whole should
be the bottom line. Pesticides are
designed to kill. Biological
weapons are considered
terrorism. When pesticides
contaminate air and water or
harm citizens, this is ecological
terrorism. Canada has the most
polluted animal on earth, the
Beluga Whale. When washed up
dead, it is treated as hazardous
waste, with high
bioaccumulations of pesticides
and other toxins in their body fat.
If industry has failed to respond
to the current anti-pesticide
movement that has been a long
time coming, it is no-one‚s fault
but their own. Our health should
not be compromised because of
their inability to adapt to change."
Barbara Leimsner,
President of the Allergy and
Environmental Health

"... Approximately
15% of the population have
environmental sensitivities and
suffer immediate adverse effects
from low level exposure to
pesticides. The treatment for
environmental sensitivities is
prudent avoidance, but people
cannot hide from pesticides
sprayed in their neighbourhood."
Dr. Shiv Chopra
Health Canada Scientist

"The information submitted to
Health Canada is not available to
the public. People should not trust
industry-funded and directed
studies that can't receive third
party evaluation."
Dr. Paul Claman
Professor, Obstetrics and
Gynecology, University of
Ottawa Faculty of Medicine

"Available studies provide
compelling data showing that
pesticides likely have profound
adverse effects on human
reproduction, reducing sperm
count and egg quality, and
increasing risk of miscarriage and
birth defects."
Robin Wentzel,
Habitat Enviroscaping and
Property Maintenance

"People pollute more and
exterminate more species every
year. What we do in our
backyards affects our neighbours,
and what is done in the
neighbourhood effects the City
and what we do in this City affects
our Environment. Pesticide
companies are selling us a
product that we don‚t need."
Robert Cushman
Ottawa Medical Officer of

"Like antibiotics, pesticides
should be used only when
necessary, and where indications
for their use are clear. The
overuse of pesticides not only
leads to pest resistance, but also
poses health and environmental

 A variety of sources linking pesticides to illness 

Common Lawn Pesticide Linked to Cancer

Common Birth Defects Increase After Pesticide Exposure - Hydrocephaly & Cleft Palete

Common Weed Killer (Roundup) Shows Evidence of Environmental and Health Problems

Brain Damage Linked to Lawn Pesticides

Pesticide Inhalation Associated with Brain and Lung Cancer

Home Pesticides Increase Risk of Leukemia in Children

Pesticide Exposure Increases Miscarriage Risk

Golf Course Superintendents Face Higher Cancer Rates

Prostate Cancer Risk Doubles in Pesticide Applicators

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Linked to Pesticides & Chemicals


Guiding policy principle:  the need for the protection of public health is fundamental

On the scale of needs, the protection of human health is sacrosanct. It's a fundamental principle for any civilized society.

Where fundamental principles are in opposition, balance is required. Although automobiles present a serious risk to human health, their benefit is very significant. It would be foolish to ban them because the need for transportation is too great. So we set limitations on automobile transportation in order to respect the need to protect human health (speed limits, car inspections, traffic lights, etc.) and an acceptable balance is achieved.

The desire to maintain weed & pest free green spaces is not a fundamental need. It's like the desire to have a good haircut or a fine set of golf clubs. Nice to have but, in the grand scheme, not all that important.

The municipality needs to evolve policy that aptly reflects this difference between needs & wants: the protection of health must greatly supercede the desire for weed & pest free green spaces.  As such the right to use pesticides should be suspended.

Worst case (total ban) - if council implements a total ban: more weeds/pests, some potential revenue impacts on spray companies & a few irate citizens.

Worst case (no ban) - if council fails to implement a total ban: continued public exposure to unsafe chemicals that can cause a variety of illnesses, cancers & neurological disorders in children & adults.

The consequences of not banning are so much more serious/significant than those of banning that it would seem negligent for the municipality to implement anything less than a total ban on pesticides.  

Click Here to Sign the 'Ban Lawn Pesticides' Petition

Questions & Answers on Pesticides

What is IPM?

Is IPM a sufficient means of reducing herbicide/pesticide use to acceptable levels?

Why is IPM the solution the industry recommends?

What is the main benefit of a total ban?

What are the incidental benefits of a total ban?

Won't herbicide/pesticide users be upset by a ban?

Won't a ban on pesticides increase the use of store-bought products that are often misused by homeowners?

Almost every product has someone somewhere who thinks it should be banned. We can't ban everything can we?

It’s my property and I should be able to do what I want with it.

All the herbicide/pesticide products being used are legal & regulated. So how can they present a danger?

If a ban on pesticides is advisable, then what form should it take?

How should the ban be enforced?

Closing Appeal to Councils


What is IPM?

[Author's note] - City councils are leaning towards a partial solution called IPM which allows the lawn care industry  to keep spraying & to police itself. See the details of this solution below. [End author's note] 

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a means of keeping pest damage below unacceptable levels. This is done by routinely monitoring pest problems and managing them by using a combination of preventive practices and carefully selected control treatments. IPM is based on the principle that a combination of strategies is more effective in the long run than reliance on a single strategy. IPM establishes a series of protocols that are meant to provide best practice guidelines & quality assurance to herbicide/pesticide applicators.


Is IPM a sufficient means of reducing herbicide/pesticide use to acceptable levels?

No. IPM is fundamentally flawed in 2 significant ways:

1) IPM assumes that if proper IPM protocols/guidelines are followed when applying pesticides, public health will not be compromised. This is absolutely false.

The guidelines that IPM bases itself on are inadequate & outdated. For example, there are over 500 chemical compounds currently approved by Health Canada & The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). Most of these compounds were licensed between 20 & 50 years ago when health concerns over their use & safety testing were minimal. 

In his 1999 report, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development criticized the PMRA for not re-evaluating "old pesticides," pointing out that of the 500 active ingredients in registered pesticides, over 300 were approved before 1981 and over 150 before 1960. The Commissioner expressed frustration over the lack of progress that the Canadian government has made towards the re-evaluation of pesticides.

“The need to re-evaluate pesticides has been formally recognized by the federal government for over 13 years, and we expected that it would have developed a program to do so. We found Canada's track record to be one of inaction and unfulfilled commitments.”

As new information becomes available on the fate and effects of toxic chemicals, new testing schemes are introduced into the risk assessment framework. The re-evaluation of old pesticides is necessary because pesticides that were registered 15 years ago did not receive the same scrutiny as those that are currently being registered.

Although the PMRA is conducting re-evaluations of some old pesticides, progress has been slow and it is unclear if these reviews have incorporated parameters such as cumulative and aggregate risk. The Committee discovered that some re-evaluations have been under way for up to 20 years (e.g. review on pentachlorophenol)  

In her 2003 audit of the PMRA environment commissioner Johanne Gélinas had this to say of the PMRA: "I am appalled by what I have seen." "My confidence is shaken."

Her report complained that PMRA failures include:

• Allowing old pesticides to stay on the market even though they have not been tested to make sure they are safe by modern standards.

• Lagging behind its schedules on retesting. Although all products approved before 1994, including 405 active ingredients, are supposed to be re-evaluated by 2006, "by March 2003 only 1.5 percent of the active ingredients had been fully re-evaluated."

• Too readily giving temporary permits to import chemicals that have not received full health and safety testing.

"The range of weaknesses we identified raises serious questions about the overall management of the health and environmental risks associated with pesticides," Gélinas wrote in her report to Parliament.

"I conclude that the federal government's ability to detect and prevent the harmful effects of toxic substances remains impaired," "The situation regarding pesticides is even more disturbing. Little effective action has been taken by the PMRA in response to our recommendations."

"Based on my observations, the federal government is not managing pesticides effectively. There are weaknesses in many areas that raise serious questions about the overall management of the health and environmental risks associated with pesticides. The government is not meeting its responsibility to ensure that all pesticides in use meet current standards. Urgent corrective action is needed. “ 

Contrary to what the lawn care industry says, the federal government does not adequately protect us from pesticide dangers & the IPM program that they so vehemently endorse ( which gets its basis from outdated PRMA guidelines ) will not protect the health & safety of the public . Therefore, municipalities like Moncton must themselves act to protect residents.


 The majority of the commonly used pesticides currently licensed by PMRA  & supported by the IPM  present significant health risks. These risks are sometimes exponentially increased when products are used in combinations or with carrier agents used to facilitate application & dispersal.

 ·                    Most people seriously overestimate the amount of protection given them by governments regarding pesticide safety. The US Congress found that 90% of the pesticides on the market lack even minimal required safety screening. Of the 34 most used lawn pesticides, 33 have not been fully tested for human health hazards. Until very recently, the chemical manufacturers have performed any tests being done (not non-biased government agencies).

 Who are the biggest manufacturers of pesticides? Chemco, Monsanto, Dow-Corning, Dupont Chemical... These are not companies who have been noted for their commitment to the protection of human health. Every major manufacturer of pesticides is currently battling one or more class action lawsuits brought by groups who allege harm by their products even when used as directed.

 And yet IPM continues to adhere to the policy that when used as directed by manufacturers, the products are safe. This is clearly negligent. Before IPM, a million or more people in Canada were being annually exposed to dangerous lawn chemicals. Under IPM there are still hundreds of thousands of people needlessly exposed to products which when used as directed are dangerous to human health.

[Author’s note]

IPM originated in the agricultural industry & has been around for a long time. It has only recently been applied to the lawn care industry – coincidentally, around the same time municipalities starting to seriously discuss banning lawn chemicals. Given the many reasons quoted above, I feel IPM is dangerous because it provides policy makers with a false sense of security over how much protection is provided to the public.

When asked about the overall dangers of pesticides, Ken Pavely, eastern Canada’s IPM coordinator, totally avoided the question & alluded to the fact that chlorine is a pesticide that we all require for water safety. The issue is clearly about what is being spread on people’s lawns & not about chlorination of water. This absurd answer provides significant insight into the attitudes that pervade IPM & its proponents – little or no concern for the true health dangers inherent in pesticides.

One of the IPM success stories is that one jurisdiction in Quebec showed a drop in pesticide use by between 70%-89% (the implication being that levels are now safe). The problem is that IPM still permits widespread use of pesticides. The fact that applicators have reduced from using 100X too much synthetic to 10X too much does not meet the fundamental need to protect human health. A good analogy: I have reduced my avg. highway driving speed by 50KM. This information can be deceiving if not related to a safe threshold.

I used to drive 100KM over the speed limit & now I only drive 50km over the limit. [still very dangerous  at 50km over the limit]

So the IPM stats are only meaningful when viewed in the broader context relating to what the safe threshold is. In 99% of cases, that threshold is 0 – no amount of synthetic product is safe. Under IPM, the entire pesticide/herbicide industry is still way over the safe limit: hundreds of thousands of people are still needlessly exposed to dangerous pesticides.

[End author’s note]

2) IPM is further undermined because pesticide applicators by in large do not adhere to the IPM policies.

There is little if any enforcement related to IPM. The appeal to IPM by industry is essentially like the fox asking to guard the henhouse. Case in point: At the meeting, Lawn Rangers' owner spoke at length about how important IPM is to their processes. He did not mention that less than 1 week previous, his own company failed to use even basic safety precautions when they sprayed the soccer field of St-Therese school (K to 3) on a weekday morning 45 min. before the school kids where scheduled to use the field for play. Neither the school nor the municipality of Dieppe was notified in advance. Had school staff not taken notice of the spraying, there would have very likely been one or more cases of acute herbicide poisoning (the chemical sprayed was a herbicide called par-3 which is made with 2,4-D, the active ingredient in "Agent Orange" & a suspected carcinogen…).  

They were subsequently charged by the dept. of environment for violating the Pesticides Control Act.

See the details here:

No doubt this is only the tip of the iceberg for infractions & violations which jeopardize public health. 

[Author's note] - I asked the owner of Lawn Rangers what proportion of his clients are treated with a totally organic solution for lawn care. Of 800 clients, 98% are treated with chemicals. As long as lawn care companies are allowed to use chemicals, they will continue to promote them as the best solution. This is what we will continue to see if a total ban is not implemented...  [End author’s note]  

When a 5-7 yr old walks home from school, he should not be expected to recognize the dangers awaiting him on freshly sprayed lawns. It is an unrealistic expectation & one that needlessly puts children at risk.

Even when applied as directed, most pesticides present significant danger to human health. Add to this the fact that operators sometimes use poor judgment/make mistakes over when, where, what & how to apply any particular treatment and the already inherent health risks are compounded.

Why is IPM the solution the industry recommends?

IPM is in essence a way for the industry to keep doing what it’s doing with chemical treatment as its primary means of operation. The industry is scrambling to avoid the consequences of widespread bans.  IPM provides the veneer of legitimacy that it hopes will lead policy makers away from total bans & leave the control in the hands of the industry. However, only widespread bans on pesticides will adequately protect the citizenry from harm.

What is the main benefit of a total ban?

A total ban will prevent needless exposures to harmful lawn chemicals & augment the overall safety & health of the community.

What are the incidental benefits of a total ban?

Secondary benefits may include:

1)       A ban will increase public perception that Moncton is an environmentally conscious green community. This is becoming a more important value for the public. When people consider relocating to Moncton, the ban on synthetic lawn chemicals provides a powerful indicator that Moncton is concerned about the health of citizens & wants to foster a safe environment for children. This helps to promote Moncton both locally & abroad.

2)       A ban is good political currency – when the municipality issues a ban in order to safeguard the health of residents, public perception will be that council is proactive & has its priorities straight.

3)       A ban will force local lawn care companies to evolve non-chemical methods to deal with pests & weeds. They will also increase focus on more sustainable people-friendly services that in the long run will enhance their service packages & their revenue streams. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Won't pesticide users be upset by a ban?

Some will. But they will be a very small minority. Within 2 years, even these people will adapt to a chemical free regime.

Won't a ban on pesticides increase the use of store-bought products that are often misused by homeowners?

In Halifax many retailers pulled the store-bought products off the shelf or radically diminished their inventories, so the suggestion by lawn care companies that Halifax saw a 300% increase is very likely untrue. There is no hard data to support this – more fear tactics to discourage the municipality from considering a ban.

Even if it were true, it should be viewed in the broader context. Lawn care companies apply the great majority of lawn chemicals. When you review both the reduction of chemicals used by lawn care companies & the potential increased use of store-bought products, the result is a significant net reduction in synthetic chemical use.

The great majority of people are law-abiding. So even initially, most people will adhere to the by-law. Those who resist will adapt over the next few years as public pressure & enforcement force them to.

I have used pesticides for a long time & I'm plenty healthy. If these products are so dangerous, why haven't I noticed anything?

Lawn chemicals affect people in different ways. For some, the effects of lawn chemicals can be a symptomatic & take years to manifest (lowered fertility, birth defects, miscarriages, blindness, liver and kidney dysfunction, neurological damage, heart trouble, stroke, immune system disorders, menstrual problems, memory loss, suicidal depression, cancer, and death). For others, effects can be more immediate: flu-like symptoms, asthma, or allergies.

A good analogy is cigarette smoking – its harm, although incontestable, is often un-noticed. Absence of proof of harm is not proof of absence of harm…

Almost every product has someone somewhere who thinks it should be banned. We can't ban everything can we?

When the safety of any product is called into question, 3 factors are considered:

1)       How significant is the danger?

2)       How solid & widespread is the science that points to the danger?

3)       How essential is the product to society & are the impacts of banning it acceptable?

 A long list of products have been banned for the protection of public safety (lead paint, asbestos, mercury amalgam dental fillings, arsenic pressure treated lumber, CFCs, etc.). These are not bans based on the alarmist whims of a few ‘nervous Nellies’ but well reasoned limits on public freedom in the name of safety. Pesticides present significant danger based on widespread scientific consensus & the impact of a ban will be minor.

It’s my property and I should be able to do what I want with it.

Many city bylaws already regulate what we can legally do on our properties. We are not free to do as we please where it can have nefarious impacts on others or ourselves. This is a reasonable limitation on our rights & freedoms.

The reality is that what you put on your lawn goes well beyond the boundaries of your own property.  Lawn chemicals are dispersed via wind & rain run-off where they can affect anyone in your neighborhood. They are also tracked/blown into people's homes where they can cause prolonged exposure long after the lawn treatment was applied.

·                     There is no protection from pesticides by remaining indoors. A study found that 5-6 hours after spraying pesticides began, indoor concentrations exceeded that outdoors. "The initial benefits of remaining indoor during spraying may not persist" as toxins in outside air move indoors with normal daily activities. (K.Teschke, Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 109, Number 1, January, 2001)

All the pesticide products being used are legal & regulated. So how can they present a danger? 

Many legal & regulated products have been proven to be harmful even when used as directed (as above). Widespread scientific & anecdotal evidence suggests that lawn chemicals present significant risk to human health. For more information on how the current regulatory system fails to adequately protect the public, see the section on IPM.

If a ban on pesticides is advisable, then what form should it take?

Halifax is an excellent model to use. They have received regional, national & international acclaim their pesticide ban implementation strategy.

They implemented a phased-in total ban that allows the use of pesticides on an ad hoc basis only. Permits are requested & issued where appropriate.

Halifax has great documentation on how & why they implemented the ban. See their website here:

Moncton would benefit greatly from close collaboration with Halifax on the implementation of a ban. Lessons from their experience will help Moncton to avoid potential pitfalls & problems associated with the transition.

For more technical information on the Halifax Regional Municipality pesticide initiatives, contact:

Stephen King
Manager-Senior Advisor
Strategic and Sustainable Resource Mgt., Environmental Management Services
Halifax Regional Municipality
Tel: (902) 490-6188
Email: [email protected]

How should the ban be enforced?

Halifax uses a reactive approach to enforcement where complaints about pesticide use are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Personnel involved with by-law enforcement where sworn in as special constables & wear the uniforms of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires.

The Halifax experience has been that enforcement is not a big issue & is only moderately required during the transition to a pesticide free regime. In Halifax, the majority of those who vehemently opposed the by-law now admit that it’s a good thing. Even they have recognized the need to safeguard the health of children & adults from the harmful effects of lawn pesticides.

Closing Comments:

It is a moral obligation to protect human health from reasonably avoidable harms 

There are now 66 municipalities in Canada ( including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal & Halifax who have decided to implement bans on synthetic lawn chemicals. They have acted on the widespread evidence that links lawn chemicals to serious health impacts. Within 5 years hundreds of other communities will have done the same.

Moncton's opportunity to show visionary leadership on the issue has passed. We are now faced with the opportunity to follow the example of the many who have recognized that the need for the protection of human health greatly outweighs the desire for weed/pest free green spaces. Anything less than a total ban in Moncton would be so imprudent as to border on flat out negligence.

The great majority will loudly applaud a decision to implement a full ban - the municipality will be perceived as having rightfully imposed a reasonable limit on the public in the name of safety.  It's a win-win situation where the right decision will also be a popular one.

A very small minority of people & the lawn care industry will complain about a ban. As is the case in Halifax and in other municipalities, these complainers will quickly adapt to the requirements of a chemical free regime.

A partial solution like requiring IPM accreditation for local applicators will be widely viewed as the city kowtowing to the pesticide/herbicide industry at the expense of health & safety. The public will wonder why communities like Shediac & Halifax have greater concern for the protection of health than Moncton. IPM was reviewed by most of the municipalities who have implemented bans & deemed insufficient for public health and environmental protection.

If the municipal council does not implement a full ban and history proves that pesticides are as dangerous as current scientific study suggests, the municipality will have needlessly exposed the public to chronic illnesses, unexplained cancers & neurological disorders which could have been prevented by a ban. This is not a risk that any councilor should take for the sake of weed & pest free lawns.

[Author’s note] – I recently moved into a residential suburb where pesticide use is omnipresent. I have often had to tell my kids to stay inside when neighbors on both sides of me have sprayed pesticides on their lawns.  As a result, I initiated a campaign in my neighborhood to distribute educational info on the dangers of pesticide use just to protect my own family. I have spent many hours reviewing anecdotal & scientific research into pesticide dangers. I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that the dangers are significant & ongoing.

It is very frustrating to have to convince people that lawn pesticides should be banned when even on the surface it seems so obvious that the protection of public health should far outweigh the desire for pest/weed free lawns. But most people assume that if it’s legal, it must not be dangerous. This is simply untrue. The petro-chemical industry has used shrewd marketing & significant political influence to convince people that unsafe & unnecessary products are both healthy & necessary. Much like cigarette manufacturers, they have gone to great lengths to keep people in the dark about the real dangers of pesticides.

But the cat’s out of the bag now – no one has an excuse not to ban these products & prevent further harm to the public.

"The medical and scientific literature clearly shows that pesticides 
are a health risk to the entire community, and especially to 
children, as well as a risk to the health of our environment. A total 
ban on the use of landscape pesticides is the only legislative step 
that will substantially decrease the community-wide risk. Lesser 
steps such as registration, notification and restricted areas do 
little to reduce community-wide risk." 

Robert Strang, medical officer of health, Capital health district, Public Health Services, Halifax, NS

'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever does.'

~Margaret Mead~

'The greatest sin of our time is not the few who have destroyed but 
the vast majority who've sat idly by.'

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.~

'Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because 
he could only do a little.'

~Edmund Burke~

If you want to protect our children & our communities from the dangers of lawn chemicals, please sign the petition for a total ban on synthetic herbicides & pesticides in Dieppe, Moncton, & Riverview. Even if you're not from the area, your voice still matters - any community that bans pesticides helps the movement to ban them in all other communities:

Whereas the current scientific consensus is that common lawn chemicals create significant human health risks and pose a threat to our eco-systems;

Whereas The Canadian Federal Government Standing Committee on the Environment has concluded that chemical 'pesticides pose a threat to human health and to the environment', have been linked to different forms of cancer, and 'should be weeded out to protect our children';

Whereas there are now 80+ municipalities in Canada ( like Halifax & Shediac ) who have implemented total bans on synthetic lawn chemicals;

Whereas partial solutions (like IPM) that allow continued & widespread use of lawn chemicals will not adequately protect children or adults from the dangers of synthetic herbicides & pesticides;

I, the undersigned, petition you, as municipal councilors for Dieppe, Moncton & Riverview, to implement a total ban on synthetic pesticides & herbicides.


Postal Code:



If you want to let others know about the petition, click here now and your email program will open with a pre-written message. If everyone who signs the petition can find 2 other people to sign, city councils will be  overwhelmed with email & they'll get the message loud & clear - no more pesticides!!!

This Petition is only one way to apply pressure to city council. Your personal email or phone call will have an even greater impact. To speak directly with the Mayor or George Leblanc (who is in charge of the committee studying the pesticide issue), simply call city hall at 853-3333 and ask for either of them. You can also email any or all city councilors direct. Let them know that this issue is important to you & that they have a duty to follow the lead of Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax & 62 other municipalities who have banned pesticides to protect their citizens.

Members of Moncton City Council

Kathryn M. Barnes
Kathryn M. Barnes
At Large

Norman Crossman
Norman Crossman
Ward 1

Merrill A. Henderson
Merrill A. Henderson
Ward 2

Brian A.Q. Hicks
Brian A.Q. Hicks
Ward 3

Charles Gillespie
Charles Gillespie
Ward 4

Lorne Mitton
Lorne Mitton
Deputy Mayor/At Large

Steven Boyce
Steven Boyce
Ward 1
Doug Robertson
Doug Robertson
Ward 2
George LeBlanc
George LeBlanc
Ward 3
Michel Cyr
Michel Cyr
Ward 4

These 10 people have the power to protect our children from continued exposure to toxic pesticides. Some may tell you that a pesticide ban is not necessary. Or they may tell you that Moncton has no legal right to impose a ban. Don't believe this smokescreen for a minute. Don't let them shirk their duty to the people of Moncton. Monctonians deserve the same protection from pesticides that Shediac, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver residents get. Don't settle for anything less...


News Release

Coalition Questions Moncton’s Courage on Pesticides

Fearing Reprisals from Pesticide Industry, City Considers Status Quo

 (Moncton, February 13, 2004) – A newly formed Coalition to Ban Pesticides in Moncton is raising questions about the City of Moncton’s courage as Council considers a new by-law to regulate the widespread use of cosmetic pesticides in the community.

 Members of the Moncton Coalition, which include Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, SOS Eau Water Sankwan, the Alergy and Environmental Health Association of New Brunswick, le Front commun pour la justice sociale, the Moncton and District Labour Council, the New Brunswick Health Coalition and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick are concerned that City Council is considering to adopt a lawn care industry crafted by-law that will amount to little else than status quo for Moncton residents.

 Members of the Coalition released a report this morning, prepared by the City of Fredericton and which advises on the legality of banning pesticides in New Brunswick, advice that the Coalition believes is erroneous but is being given serious consideration by the City of Moncton. The City of Fredericton report recommends against a ban, arguing that such a by-law would go against the New Brunswick Municipalities Act and that it could provoke a legal challenge by the pesticide or lawn care industry.

 The New Brunswick Municipalities Act states that municipalities may take actions that will “promote the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of their municipality”, an argument used by two New Brunswick municipalities, Shediac and Caraquet, when they adopted by-laws to ban pesticides in their communities in 2003.

 “Why Moncton would fear a legal challenge from the pesticide industry if it chose to take action to protect the welfare of its citizens is beyond our comprehension”, commented Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Daniel LeBlanc, one of the member groups of the Coalition. “Should the City buy into these arguments of fear, it risks giving support to the industry claim that municipalities, such as Shediac and Caraquet, should be sued for their actions. I don’t think that this scenario demonstrates leadership on Moncton’s part”, argued LeBlanc.

 Fredericton’s Barry Cameron, who led the citizen campaign in his community to ban pesticides agreed with the Moncton Coalition’s arguments. “Motivated or not by fear of a legal challenge from the lawn care industry, Fredericton alibied its way out of having to deal with a ban altogether by invoking a false legal precedent suggested to them by former Environment Minister Kim Jardine. There is no legal obstacle in the current Municipalities Act limiting either Moncton or Fredericton from enacting pesticide bans. From the outside it seems Moncton wishes, collusively, to mimic Fredericton.”

 In February 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the important role of municipalities in local protection of health and welfare in the Spraytech v. Hudson P.Q. decision, where it upheld the municipality’s right to adopt a pesticide ban.  The Court noted that all levels of government have an important role to play in environmental protection and has gone so far as to call municipalities "trustees of the environment." 

 Theresa McClenaghan, a lawyer with the Canadian Environmental Law Association in Toronto who was involved with the Supreme Court case says that they took the municipal legislation from provinces across the country in the Hudson case, to ensure that the court would be aware of the ramifications of its decision for all of Canada. “The Supreme Court recognized those ramifications in its decision”, says McClenaghan, “upholding the precautionary principle and the right of municipal governments across Canada to protect the health of its citizens”.

 Over the last decade the number of municipal pesticide by-laws adopted in Canada has increased to a total of sixty-six (66). When all the current regulations and by-laws come into full effect by 2005, the total number of Canadians thereby protected from unwanted exposure to synthetic lawn and garden pesticides will grow to close to eleven million, or approximately 35% of Canada's population (based on the 2001 StatsCan Census). The major urban centers of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax are all covered by such by-laws.

  “Moncton residents have the right to live in a healthy community just as much as the citizens of Halifax, Toronto or Vancouver”, said Louisa Barton-Duguay, spokesperson for SOS Eau Water Sankwan. “Instead of helping to further the financial objectives of the pesticide companies, the City of Moncton should be insuring our communities are safe and free of toxic pesticides”.

 Armand Melanson, author of the website, a resident of nearby Dieppe and  father of two young children is concerned about the impact that Moncton's decision will have on  his community of 17,000 residents. Dieppe is said to be relying on Moncton for advice on how it should regulate the widespread use of cosmetic pesticides in its municipality.

 "Many communities are watching to see what approach Moncton takes. By failing to adopt a pesticide ban, Moncton will be setting a very poor example, one that Dieppe should not follow," he says. "I've been concerned about this issue for a long time and, to be honest, I have seen nothing that suggests Moncton is worried about the dangers of cosmetic pesticides. How Moncton can ignore the overwhelming health evidence in support of a pesticide ban is beyond me. Sacrificing children for perfect lawns is outright negligence."


Coalition to Ban Pesticides in Moncton

Armand Melanson, (506) 854-0064 –

Daniel LeBlanc, Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, (506) 388-5337 -

Louisa Barton-Duguay, SOS Eau Water Sankwan, (506) 855-9119

 Fredericton contact:

Barry Cameron, Citizens’ Coalition for a Pesticide-Free Fredericton, (506) 455-2344

 For further information on the Supreme Court of Canada Spraytech v. Hudson case:

Theresa McClenaghan, Canadian Environmental Law Association, (416) 960-2284 ext. 218


Shediac and Caraquet

Maire Camille Belliveau, (506) 532-7000

Maire Antoine Landry, (506) 726-2727



If you're interested, you can also join the petition to stop the Belledune Toxic Waste Incinerator here:

Armand Melanson
Phone: 854 0064
Email: mailto:[email protected]