Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Province days away from policy to control pesticides on lawns

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CONSERVATION and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh says the province is days away from announcing a strategy to curtail the use of pesticides on lawns.

Mackintosh made the statement Tuesday after receiving about 8,000 postcards opposing any move to block Manitobans from using licensed chemical products on their properties.

"The province will announce its general intentions with regard to regulating exposure to lawn pesticides (in) the next couple of weeks at the outset," the minister said.

But he wouldn't provide any hints as to the extent of the ban. "Stay tuned," he told reporters and several protesters outside his office.

Manitoba announced its intention to join several provinces in banning pesticides used for cosmetic purposes in early 2012.

On Tuesday, representatives of the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, which markets pesticides, and the lawn-care industry attempted to convince the province to back off.

They said all the chemicals used in Canada have been federally approved for use and Manitoba should follow the advice of scientists rather than bow to political pressure.

"Homeowners in Manitoba -- they want a choice on how to maintain their properties. These products are legal, registered products with Health Canada," said David Hinton of Landscape Manitoba, which represents garden centres and nurseries as well as lawn-care and landscaping companies.

A survey of Manitobans conducted earlier this year for the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment found 71 per cent would support a law phasing out the use and sale of lawn and garden pesticides.

A coalition of 30 national and provincial health and environmental groups has been pressuring Manitoba to institute a ban.

Josh Brandon, a spokesman for Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba, said the health risks from unnecessary pesticide use are becoming more clear.

"Just last year, the Ontario College of Family Physicians published a report documenting 142 scientific peer-reviewed studies linking pesticide use to serious health impacts," he said.

 

-- Larry Kusch

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 26, 2013 A4

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Updated on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 7:32 AM CDT: changes headline

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