BC groups seek ban on lawn and garden chemicals

Vancouver – An unprecedented coalition of 18 health and environment organizations is urging the BC government to “go for gold” and pass leading-edge legislation to ban the use and sale of cosmetic pesticides. The coalition released a five-point statement calling for new legislation to prohibit the use and sale of these toxic lawn and garden chemicals.

The coalition statement points to the health and environmental concerns associated with needless pesticide use and highlights the success of cosmetic pesticide bans in Quebec and Ontario.

The coalition includes health and environmental authorities such as:

  • Public Health Association of BC
  • West Coast Environmental Law
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
  • Toxic Free Canada
  • David Suzuki Foundation

“We want legislation that meets or beats the strongest protections in place in other provinces,” says Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, BC & Yukon. “BC’s current approach is inadequate because it continues to allow the use of pesticides to improve the appearance of lawns and gardens. BC has an opportunity to demonstrate national leadership by adopting the strongest cosmetic pesticide ban in Canada.”

Last month the provincial government initiated an online consultation on potential statutory measures to protect the environment from cosmetic chemical pesticides.

“With each new month, new evidence comes forward citing the link between pesticides and cancer, birth defects, and neurological illness,” says Warren Bell, MD, and past founding president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. “Children are at greatest risk.”

Seventy six per cent of British Columbians are in favor of provincial pesticide legislation and last fall the Union of British Columbia Municipalities also called for a provincial ban.

“With such broad-based support, the province has a golden opportunity to lead on this issue,” says Mae Burrows, executive director of Toxic-Free Canada. “The coalition is calling for new pesticide legislation to be passed this year and fully implemented by 2011.”

“We are joining together today to call for a comprehensive provincial ban, with exemptions only where necessary to protect health and safety,” says Lisa Gue, Environmental Health Policy Analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation. “If the coalition’s recommendations are followed, BC will have the most health-protective pesticide legislation in Canada.”

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