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Toronto Lawn Pesticide Phase-Out Takes Effect
(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2004)
The first phase of a Toronto by-law, which significantly restricts pesticide use on public and private property, went into effect on April 1, 2004. Already, 62 percent of the Toronto population does not use pesticides on their property, according to survey data. The new law will help ensure that everyone avoids the non-essential use of chemical pesticide products.

Councilor John Filion, Chair of the Board of Health, stated, “At this time of year, as residents are preparing to care for their lawns and gardens, we want them to know there are plenty of resources to help them go pesticide-free. Community agencies are offering gardening workshops and many lawn care companies are already providing pesticide-free services."

The by-law, passed in May 2003 by the City Council, only permits the use of products that pose little or no health or environmental risks, according to Toronto Public Health. The first phase involves public education to encourage residents to go pesticide-free with the slogan “It’s perfectly natural.” Additionally, brochures regarding the by-law with tips for alternative lawn care are being distributed to day care centers, schools, hospitals, libraries and retailers.

"Toronto is joining more than 66 other cities and municipalities across Canada that have chosen to make their communities safer and healthier for all residents by implementing pesticide by-laws," said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Acting Medical Officer of Health.

For more information on the by-law, call 416-338-7600 or visit www.toronto.ca/pesticides. For more information regarding lawn chemicals and least-toxic lawn care, see Beyond Pesticides’ Lawns And Landscapes Program Page.

TAKE ACTION: Toronto's pesticide by-law faced fierce opposition from the lawn care industry before it passed. The same tactics employed to keep such laws from passing are currently being practiced in the U.S. See Beyond Pesticides' Daily News story Toronto Bans Private Pesticide Use, U.S. Industry Plans Response for more information. Help promote safer lawns in your own community. You can start by exploring our Lawns And Landscapes’ Tools for Activists.