BC Health and Environmental Powerhouses Call for Cosmetic Pesticide Ban as Election Campaign Ramps Up

    VANCOUVER, April 20 /CNW/ - BC-based health and environmental groups,
including the Canadian Cancer Society and the David Suzuki Foundation, are
calling on all political parties to ban cosmetic pesticides as they campaign
leading into May 12. With Ontario's landmark ban on more than 250 lawn and
garden pesticides set to go into effect this Wednesday, the call seems timely.
    "We must act in BC. With each month, new evidence comes forward citing
the harmful effects of pesticides on human health, and on non-target species,"
says Warren Bell MD, past founding president of the Canadian Association of
Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). "Economic arguments against phasing out
pesticides are pure myth: landscaping businesses actually flourish when
cosmetic pesticides are gone," states Bell.
    This call is not something new; many lawn and garden pesticides have been
banned since 2003 in Quebec. Prince Edward Island has announced its intent to
ban lawn and garden pesticides come 2010 and New Brunswick has garnered much
public support for a ban on lawn and garden pesticides.
    A 2008 Ipsos Reid poll conducted for the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and
Yukon Division shows that the majority of British Columbians support
provincial legislation to restrict pesticide use. Kathryn Seely, Public Issues
Manager, states, "this healthy public policy is popular with British
Columbians. Approximately three-quarters of all British Columbians believe
that pesticides have a negative impact on their health, as well as the health
of their children and pets, and similar numbers are concerned about the
environmental impacts of pesticides" (Canadian Cancer Society Advocacy Public
Opinion Research Survey, 2008).
    Delegates to the 2008 Union of BC Municipalities voted in favour of
bringing in province-wide regulations to restrict the sales of cosmetic
    "Decision makers are aware that many of the cosmetic pesticides available
to consumers in British Columbia to kill buttercups and dandelions contain
active ingredients that are classified as possible human carcinogens,
reproductive toxins, endocrine-disrupting chemicals or neurotoxins," according
to Mae Burrows, executive director of Toxic Free Canada. "Bringing these toxic
chemicals into the environment is unhealthy and unnecessary."
    Eighteen BC cities and towns have already passed bylaws restricting
cosmetic pesticide use, but municipalities lack the authority to regulate
pesticide sales.
    "We are asking all provincial parties to commit to banning lawn and
garden pesticides to promote healthy BC communities," says Lisa Gue,
Environmental Health Policy Analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation.
    The NDP and Green Party have included a province-wide ban on cosmetic
pesticides in their party platforms.

    The coalition of health and environmental groups has recommended
provincial legislation that:

    1.  Bans the use and sale of pesticides used to improve the appearance of
        lawns and gardens, including a requirement for golf courses to phase
        out pesticides.

    2.  Allows exemptions only when necessary to protect public health and

    3.  Allows municipalities to enact and enforce bylaws that are more
        restrictive of pesticide use than the provincial law.

    4.  Includes a 'white list' of low-risk pesticides that are permitted on
        lawns and gardens to promote public awareness.

For further information:

For further information: Kristine Carrick, Canadian Cancer Society, Tel:
(604) 675-7340; Lisa Gue, David Suzuki Foundation, Tel: (613) 594-5428 or
(604) 732-4228; Mae Burrows, Toxic Free Canada, (604) 916-9026

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Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)

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