Manitobans warned too many kids exposed to pesticides

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Is that beautiful lawn poisoning your kids?

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) released a new report and provincial scorecard that documents the state of provincial regulations when it comes to protecting Canadian children from cosmetic pesticides used on lawns and gardens.

The report, which compares provincial and municipal laws used to limit the cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns and gardens across Canada, found that comprehensive laws exist in only a few provinces.

“While seven provinces have laws that ban the non-essential use of cosmetic pesticides, only two provinces – Ontario and Nova Scotia – provide strong protection from chemicals often referred to as cosmetic pesticides,” observed Kim Perrotta, CAPE’s Executive Director.

“There is a strong body of evidence linking pesticides to cancer, developmental deficits in our children, and adverse reproductive outcomes,” said Dr. John Howard, Chair of CAPE’s Board. “As health professionals, we say the health of our children is more important than a perfect lawn or garden,” he added.

“The white list approach adopted by Manitoba is a good one, but it has only been applied to herbicides used on lawns, which is why it scored a B-,” said Dr. Warren Bell, a founding member of the CAPE Board. “It is also of significant concern that Manitoba’s newly elected government is actively considering rolling back these rules.”

Manitoba’s cosmetic pesticide legislation was implemented in 2014, as the result of three years of discussion, debate and consultation.

“Canadians know that cosmetic pesticides are unnecessary and feel that health risks far outweigh the value of a pristine yard,” said Ms. Perrotta. “We need Canadian regulators to keep pace with citizen concerns. CAPE trusts, our report, Cosmetic Pesticides – Provincial Policies & Municipal Bylaws: Lessons Learned & Best Practices at: (cape.ca/pesticide-policy-report) is a positive contribution to this important children’s health issue.”

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Living Green Living Well Coordinator, Green Action Centre, neil@greenactioncentre.ca 204-979-6345