Registered nurses and doctors thank Minister for strong pesticide stance



    TORONTO, Oct. 31 /CNW/ - Ontario's registered nurses and doctors say that
Environment Minister John Gerretsen did the right thing in standing up for
public health against Dow Chemical on pesticides.
    Wendy Fucile, President of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
(RNAO), applauded the Minister for his firm stand against the threat from a
challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). "The Minister
sent a timely message that protecting the public from the cosmetic use of
pesticides is more important than protecting the right to sell pesticides."
    Fucile was referring to the environment minister's comment this week that
Ontario would include 2, 4-D, a powerful herbicide used to control weeds, on a
list of substances banned for use in the province under its new pesticide law.
    In August, Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical that
manufactures the herbicide, filed a notice of intent to submit a claim against
the federal government. The company alleges that Quebec's ban on 2, 4-D
violates Canada's obligations under NAFTA because it prohibits a product that
hasn't been deemed unsafe by Health Canada. According to Health Canada, the
substance can be used safely if package directions are followed closely.
    However, several environmental and health groups that support Ontario's
and Quebec's pesticide bans say studies have linked 2, 4-D to serious
illnesses such as cancer.
    RNAO and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
(CAPE) say Chapter 11 of the NAFTA allows investors of one NAFTA partner to
sue the government of another for actions that could harm a company or their
investments. Both organizations warn against trade agreements that can
undermine regulations deemed in the public interest.
    Gideon Forman, Executive Director of CAPE, argues it is ironic the
company is challenging the Quebec pesticide ban because of alleged lost
revenue. "With organic landscaping growing by leaps and bounds, we know there
is more money in non-toxic lawn care. Instead of selling poisons, the chemical
companies can sell non-toxic products."

    The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has
lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice,
increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care system, and
influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

    The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) is a
national organization of 3,500 doctors and concerned citizens working to
protect human health by protecting the planet. In 2006, the association won a
Canadian Environment Award (gold medal). CAPE played a leadership role in the
campaign for Ontario's Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act, 2008.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, Registered Nurses' Association of
Ontario (RNAO), Office: (416) 408-5605, Mobile: (647) 406-5605; Gideon Forman,
Executive Director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
(CAPE), Office: (416) 306-2273, Home: (416) 531-2111


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