Pesticide Ban in Canada
Halifax, Nova Scotia,
has banned all pesticides used for "cosmetic" purposes, according
to The Boston Globe (9/3/01). This means pesticides used for garden pests
such as grubs and dandelions are prohibited. Pesticides to combat health
risks such as hornets or rats in the home are allowed. This ban is upheld
by the recent Canadian Supreme Court ruling that cities and towns can
place bans on pesticides without scientific proof that the pesticide is
harmful. If the public perceives that they are at risk from a certain
chemical, they can act to protect themselves.
This protection is
important for health and safety reasons even when there is no scientific
proof that a particular chemical is harmful. Many times, no proof of harm
means significant research has not been done. The public ends up being
the test subjects for the toxicity of the chemicals put on the market.
"Better to err on the side of safety than suffer while awaiting some
scientific proof," said Maureen Reynolds, a supporter of the pesticide
ban in Halifax. Stephen King, the municipal manager for parks and natural
regions said of the ban, "I like to think Halifax is one of the most
progressive cities in the world. We are getting inquiries from communities
all over the United States, Canada, Europe, even Japan. They want to know
how to imitate our program."
The Canadian pest
control operators make the same arguments as their counterparts in the
U.S., although U.S. regulations prohibit the manufacturers and applicators
of pesticides from making claims that the pesticides are "safe."
Apparently, the Canadians do not have that same level of protection. Kimberly
Bates of the Urban Pest Management Council of Canada, a group that represents
lawn and garden care product manufacturers, said, "Producers of pesticides
make easy villains, but the industry is made up of family people committed
to safety. Unfortunately, draconian measures like we've seen in Halifax
and Quebec aren't going to make anyone healthier or safer. All they do
is inconvenience people who enjoy making beautiful yards and gardens."
To read the full article
on this controversy, see http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/246/nation/A_grass_roots_drive_for_purity+.shtml.