Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Regulated pesticides safe, effective

  • Print

Dear Editor,

Manitoba's Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship, Gord Mackintosh, has made baseless claims about the health and safety of pesticides that totally contradict the comprehensive health-and-safety assessments done by Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), the federal body responsible for approving pesticides in Canada.

Health Canada's PMRA evaluates all pesticides -- whether "synthetic" or "natural" -- before they can be sold in Canada. Whether these products are used on lawns or crops, regulators base their decisions on the best available scientific information.

In addition, all registered products are required to be periodically re-evaluated. Health Canada recently completed an extensive re-evaluation of 2,4-D, one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It concluded: "Risks to homeowners and their children from contact with treated lawns and turf are not of concern," and "there is reasonable certainty that no harm to human health, future generations or the environment will result from use or exposure to the product."

Quite simply, Health Canada does not approve any product for use it considers to pose an unacceptable risk to humans, including vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women, or the environment.

If any provincial government has a concern about a particular pesticide, the appropriate course of action would be to inform Health Canada, which can then do a special review.

Many of the active ingredients used in pesticides formulated for urban use are the same ones used in pesticides designed for farm use. That is why Health Canada does not distinguish between urban or farm use when conducting evaluations; either the product is safe or it is not. Health Canada's position is you cannot have one health standard for urban populations and another, lower, standard for rural populations. And we certainly agree.

Manitobans are getting mixed and contradictory messages about the safety of pesticides and they deserve better. The Conservation and Water Stewardship department should leave the human health and environmental safety assessment of pesticides to Health Canada, which is staffed with more than 300 professionals whose sole responsibility is to look at these issues.

A ban on urban pesticides would do nothing to protect the health of Manitobans. It would simply rob urban residents of the ability to use federally approved tools to control pest infestations in their lawns and gardens, forcing them to use more expensive, less effective alternatives, turn to illegal products or abandon control measures on their properties altogether.

As we've seen in other jurisdictions, such as Ontario, bans are cosmetic in nature. There simply aren't the resources available to enforce them and many homeowners turn to potentially dangerous homemade concoctions or illegally bring in pesticides from other jurisdictions. Polling in Ontario shows more than half of homeowners are unhappy with the ban and want it changed. We have every reason to suspect it would be a similar story in Manitoba if a ban were implemented here.

The reality is pesticide policy should be driven by sound science, and science shows pesticides can be safely used. Let's not punish law-abiding Manitobans for using safe and effective products on their lawns.

 

Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers and 12 other agriculture-based or lawn care companies.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 5, 2013 A13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google