Daily News Archive
April 25, 2006
for Pesticide Moratorium, 2, 4-D Assessement Flawed
(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2006) The National Democratic
Party called for a moratorium on the non-essential use of pesticides
yesterday. Member of Parliament, Pat Martin was joined by scientist
Meg Sears of the Canadian Coalition for Health and Environment in introducing
a Private Members Bill which would amend the Pest Control Products Act
to place a ban on cosmetic use in homes, gardens and recreational facilities
until evidence showing that such use is safe is presented to Parliament,
and concurred by a parliamentary committee. The moratorium would take
effect on Earth Day 2007.
In other Canadian
news, two studies highlighted in this month’s publication of Paediatrics
& Child Health, published by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS)
question whether current regulation of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid
(2,4-D), the most common herbicide used to kill weeds in grass, protects
human and ecosystem health, and identify tobacco smoke and pesticides
as top children’s environmental health concerns.
In the first study,
assessment: Protecting public health on the home turf,” pesticide
regulation is examined in the context of Health Canada’s Pest
Management Regulatory Agency’s assessment of2,4-D. The authors
M Sears, CR Walker, RHC van der Jagt, and P Claman, state that while
the medical literature does not uniformly indicate harms from herbicides,
the balance of epidemiological research suggests that 2,4-D can be persuasively
linked to cancers, neurological impairment and reproductive problems.
These may arise from 2,4-D itself, from breakdown products or dioxin
contamination, or from a combination of chemicals.
The authors go on to explain that the regulators rely largely on toxicology,
but that experiments may not replicate exposures from 2,4-D application
to lawns because environmental breakdown products (eg, 2,4-dichlorophenol)
may not accumulate, and selected herbicides are possibly less contaminated.
Dioxins are bioaccumulative chemicals that may cause cancer, harm neurological
development, impair reproduction, disrupt the endocrine system and alter
immune function. The authors criticize the assessment process because
no dioxin analyses were submitted to the Pest Management Regulatory
Agency, and the principal contaminants of 2,4-D are not among the 17
congeners covered in pesticide regulation.
They conclude “the 2,4-D assessment does not approach standards
for ethics, rigor or transparency in medical research and that Canada
needs a stronger regulator for pesticides. Potentially toxic chemicals
should not be registered when more benign solutions exist, risks are
not clearly quantifiable or potential risks outweigh benefits. Until
landscaping pesticides are curtailed nationally, local bylaws and Quebec’s
Pesticide Code are prudent measures to protect public health. Physicians
have a role in public education regarding pesticides.”
The second study, “An
urban survey of pediatric environmental health concerns: Perceptions
of parents, guardians and health care professionals,” by I
Buka, WT Rogers, AR Osornio-Vargas, H Hoffman, and M Pearce, YY L surveyed
parents/caregivers and health professionals in Edmonton, Alberta, to
better understand their concerns about the influence of environmental
factors on children’s health. Both groups said tobacco smoke and
pesticides in water were their greatest concerns. The information will
be used to set an agenda for the resources of the Paediatric Environmental
Health Specialty Unit at Misericordia Hospital (Edmonton, Alberta).
Join CAP president
Michel Gaudet at the National Pesticide
Forum, May 19-20 in Washington, DC. The Forum will follw Beyond
Pesticides' 25th Anniversary Gala on May 18.