letter to Dieppe, Moncton, Riverview city councils
name is Armand Melanson & I was an attendee at the OCT 23rd
meeting on the issue of municipal & residential use of synthetic
pesticides & herbicides.
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.
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.
over pesticide/herbicide health risks
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Comment on Pesticide Dangers
|Dr. Joe Reisman
Chief of Paediatrics, CHEO,
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
Ontario College of Family
"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
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
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,
Environmental Health Clinic
Board of Directors, American
Academy of Environmental
linked to pesticides include
development of environmental
sensitivities, worsening of
allergies and other chronic
illnesses, and chronic
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
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
"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."
President of the Allergy and
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
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
Habitat Enviroscaping and
"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."
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
variety of sources linking pesticides to illness
policy principle: the need
for the protection of public health is fundamental
the scale of needs, the protection of human health is sacrosanct. It's a
fundamental principle for any civilized society.
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.
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
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
case (total ban) - if council
implements a total ban: more weeds/pests, some potential revenue impacts
on spray companies & a few irate citizens.
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.
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.
Here to Sign the 'Ban Lawn Pesticides' Petition
Answers on Pesticides
a sufficient means of reducing herbicide/pesticide use to acceptable
is IPM the solution the industry recommends?
is the main benefit of a total ban?
are the incidental benefits of a total ban?
herbicide/pesticide users be upset by a ban?
a ban on pesticides increase the use of store-bought products that are
often misused by homeowners?
every product has someone somewhere who thinks it should be banned. We
can't ban everything can we?
my property and I should be able to do what I want with it.
the herbicide/pesticide products being used are legal & regulated.
So how can they present a danger?
a ban on pesticides is advisable, then what form should it take?
should the ban be enforced?
Appeal to Councils
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
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
a sufficient means of reducing herbicide/pesticide use to acceptable
IPM is fundamentally flawed in 2 significant ways:
IPM assumes that if proper IPM protocols/guidelines are followed when
applying pesticides, public health will not be compromised. This is
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.
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
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.”
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.
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)
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
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.
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.
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
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. “
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,
like Moncton must themselves act to protect residents.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
used to drive 100KM over the speed limit & now I only drive 50km
over the limit. [still very dangerous at 50km over the limit]
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
IPM is further undermined because pesticide applicators by in
large do not adhere to the IPM policies.
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…).
were subsequently charged by the dept. of environment for violating the
Pesticides Control Act.
the details here: http://www.gnb.ca/cnb/news/elg/2004e0157el.htm
doubt this is only the tip of the iceberg for infractions &
violations which jeopardize public health.
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]
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.
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
is IPM the solution the industry
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.
is the main benefit of a total ban?
total ban will prevent needless exposures to harmful lawn chemicals
& augment the overall safety & health of the community.
are the incidental benefits of a total
benefits may include:
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.
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.
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
that in the long run will enhance their service packages & their
revenue streams. Necessity is the
mother of invention.
pesticide users be upset by a ban?
will. But they will be a very small minority. Within 2 years, even these
people will adapt to a chemical free regime.
a ban on pesticides increase the use of store-bought products that are
often misused by homeowners?
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.
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.
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.
have used pesticides for a long time & I'm plenty healthy. If
these products are so dangerous, why haven't I noticed anything?
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.
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…
every product has someone somewhere who thinks it should be banned. We
can't ban everything can we?
the safety of any product is called into question, 3 factors are
significant is the danger?
solid & widespread is the science that points to the danger?
essential is the product to society & are the impacts of banning it
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.
my property and I should be able to do what I
want with it.
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
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.
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)
the pesticide products being used are legal
& regulated. So how can they present a danger?
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.
a ban on pesticides is advisable, then what form
should it take?
is an excellent model to use. They have received regional, national
& international acclaim their pesticide ban implementation strategy.
implemented a phased-in total ban that allows the use of pesticides
on an ad hoc basis only. Permits are
requested & issued where appropriate.
has great documentation on how & why they implemented the ban. See
their website here:
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
more technical information on the Halifax Regional Municipality
pesticide initiatives, contact:
Strategic and Sustainable Resource Mgt., Environmental Management
Halifax Regional Municipality
Tel: (902) 490-6188
should the ban be enforced?
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.
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.
is a moral obligation to protect human health from reasonably avoidable
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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,
doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever does.'
'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.'
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
current scientific consensus is that common lawn chemicals
create significant human health risks and pose a threat to our
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;
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
undersigned, petition you, as municipal councilors for Dieppe,
Moncton & Riverview, to implement a total ban on synthetic
pesticides & herbicides.
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.
of Moncton City Council
Moncton’s Courage on Pesticides
Fearing Reprisals from Pesticide Industry, City
Considers Status Quo
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.
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
From the outside it seems Moncton wishes, collusively, to mimic
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
“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
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 – www.banpesticides.com
Daniel LeBlanc, Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, (506) 388-5337
Louisa Barton-Duguay, SOS Eau Water Sankwan, (506)
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
you're interested, you can also join the petition to stop the Belledune
Toxic Waste Incinerator here:
Phone: 854 0064