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Cosmetic pesticides could be banned next year: Mackintosh

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Manitoba could see a ban on cosmetic pesticides next year, Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh said today.

Such a ban, to be phased in, would see chemicals like WeedEx and Roundup outlawed in the province.

Mackintosh made his comments following a presentation of a letter this morning by health and environment groups calling on the Manitoba government to ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides. More than 1,000 people have also shown support for the ban either by signing letters or by adding their names to an online petition.

The province said in January it would soon join most other Canadian provinces and ban cosmetic pesticides -- sprays that keep lawns perfect by killing weeds like dandelions and bugs.

A ban would not apply to farms, but only lawns and other public green spaces. It also would not apply to pesticides used for health issues such as mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus or dangerous plants such as poison ivy.

Manitoba is one of only four provinces left that hasn't created some kind of ban on cosmetic pesticides. Nova Scotia and Ontario have relatively new bans that are considered the toughest.

The province is currently accepting feedback on the proposed ban. The deadline is Oct. 1 http://www.gov.mb.ca//conservation/envprograms/pdf/june_20_pesticides_release.pdf

Mackintosh said his department is looking at what is done in other provinces and municipalities.

Local lawn-care companies have said a cosmetic-pesticide ban is little more than politics.

Organic pesticides are available — some stores have already taken toxic chemicals off their shelves — but critics argue they tend to cost more and are not as effective.

Cities can ban the use of pesticides but only the province can ban the sale, a more effective method of reducing pesticide use. Brandon has a bylaw restricting cosmetic-pesticide use near schools, daycares and parks. Winnipeg's bylaw only requires lawn-care companies to post warning signs when they apply chemicals.

 

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