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Daily News Archive
From April 14, 2006                                                                                                        

Canadian Cancer Society Calls for Pesticide Ban
(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2006) Due to the rise in cancer rates and evidence linking pesticides with cancer, the Canadian Cancer Society is urging municipalities across New Brunswick, Canada to ban the use of pesticides on residential and public property. According to a report in the Canadian Press, the Cancer Society feels it simply doesn't make sense to use a substance that could cause cancer to make a lawn look pretty.

Lynn Ann Duffley, spokesperson for the Canadian Cancer Society in New Brunswick said a ban is especially important to protect children. According to Ms. Duffy, "We do know that children are very susceptible to the toxins within pesticides. And we know that repeated exposures to pesticides can increase the incidence of brain cancer, leukemia, non-hodgkins lymphoma." Researchers have also found that pesticide exposure can induce a poisoning effect linked to asthma.

But CropLife Canada, a trade association that represents pesticide companies, and executive director Peter MacLeod rejects the cancer society's argument. According to Mr. MacLeod, "I think that their explanation is very simplistic and misleading." Mr. MacLeod continued by saying no pesticide used in Canada is known to cause cancer, and that he believes towns and cities should steer clear of regulation. Although the call for the ban is coming from the Canadian Cancer Society, Mr. MacLeod said, "We just feel that municipalities by and large do not have the scientific capacity to make that choice, whether a product should be used or not. We should leave that to Health Canada."

In the United States this past summer, three leaders of cancer support and education groups accused the American Cancer Society (ACS) of downplaying the links between environmental contaminants and cancer during a forum held in Millbrook, New York (see Daily News). A growing number of studies have linked pesticides to cancer. Of the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 13 are probable or possible carcinogens. In schools, 24 of 48 commonly used pesticides are probable or possible carcinogens. A study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute indicates that household and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood leukemia as much as seven-fold. Other studies show that children living in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of leukemia, brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma. Two commonly used herbicide, 2,4-D and glyphosate, have been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in scientific studies.

Currently seventy-three municipalities across Canada have laws that ban pesticide use, but only three of those are in New Brunswick - Shediac, Caraquet and Sackville. St. A public hearing will be held in Andrews on the matter on April 24.