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Ad campaign to begin on lawn and garden pesticides

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It’s kind of difficult to think about today, but soon, Mother Nature willing, it’ll be time to manicure the front lawn.

It will be the last summer Manitobans will be allowed legally to use synthetic pesticides to control weeds.

Manitoba is to join several other Canadian jurisdictions in banning the sale and use of chemical pesticides on lawns, playgrounds and schoolyards for the 2015 lawn-care season.

The government could introduce enabling legislation as early as this sitting of the legislature. The province has said it’s introducing the ban because scientific studies have shown "associations" between pesticide use and adverse health effects.

To remind Manitobans of the pending ban, physicians, environmentalists, and animal welfare authorities have launched an advertising blitz to highlight the dangers of lawn and garden pesticides.

A transit shelter ad, paid for by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), the David Suzuki Foundation and the Winnipeg Humane Society, convey the message "Doctors say Lawn and Garden Pesticides Hurt our Kids".

"The ads raise awareness about the threats pesticides pose for our children," says CAPE Executive Director Gideon Forman in a statement. "The science shows kids exposed to these poisons are at increased risk for leukemia, a sometimes fatal cancer. Doctors believe we can use non-toxic lawn care and have beautiful properties without making our kids sick."

Penalties for breaking the upcoming pesticide ban are still to be announced. They would be directed primarily at retailers and professional applicators rather than homeowners, unless there were persistent complaints about an individual. The government is also counting on education rather than punishment.

Homeowners would also be granted a one-year grace period after the law is in place before facing any penalties.

The Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers has argued the ban is unnecessary. It says lawn-care products have been approved by Health Canada and any link between those pesticides and health issue are inconclusive.

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