Top health, environment leaders urge world-class pesticide ban

TORONTO – Ontario’s top health and environment organizations today urged the McGuinty government to enact strong legislation banning the use and sale of “cosmetic” pesticides. This marks the first time these leading authorities have collectively called for a provincial prohibition on toxic lawn chemicals.

The coalition is releasing a five-point statement outlining what it would like to see in the new legislation. The statement is endorsed by 15 organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division), Canadian Environmental Law Association, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario College of Family Physicians, Ontario Medical Association (Section on Pediatrics), and the  Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.

The coalition calls for legislation — to be passed in 2008 — prohibiting the use and sale of ornamental pesticides for outdoor, non-agricultural use (including pesticide/fertilizer combinations).

“The majority of Ontarians want the province to ban both the sale and use of lawn and garden pesticides,” said Pesticide Free Ontario spokesperson, Susan Koswan. “We want legislation that sets the world standard for eliminating pesticides from our landscaping practices.”

“Ontario’s registered nurses urge Premier McGuinty to act speedily on his commitment to ban the ornamental use of pesticides,” said Doris Grinspun, Executive Director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. “Pesticides are poisonous, and governments have a duty to protect the public from them.”

Jan Kasperski, CEO of the Ontario College of Family Physicians – which represents 8,000 doctors – said: “We found links between pesticides and cancer, birth defects, and neurological illness. Children are at greatest risk. Banning lawn pesticides will be a major contribution to children’s health.”

 If the coalition’s recommendations are followed, the legislation will be among the most health-protective pesticide laws in the world.

 The Coalition Includes:

    Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
    Canadian Cancer Society – Ontario Division
    Canadian Environmental Law Association
    Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
    David Suzuki Foundation
    EcoJustice
    Environmental Defence
    Learning Disabilities
    Association of Canada
    Ontario College of Family Physicians
    Ontario Medical Association (Section on Pediatrics)
    Ontario Public Health Association
    Organic Landscape Alliance
    Pesticide Free Ontario
    Prevent Cancer Now
    Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario

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