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Unsupported by science

I was disappointed to see Dr. Debbie Pollock's fear mongering and half-truths regarding lawn pesticides in her Oct. 1 column, Precaution on cosmetic pesticides call for ban. Her accusations are unsupported by science and deliberately misleading.

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For instance, she says "(pesticides) are a leading cause of poisonings here in Canada" but fails to point out that medication is the leading cause of poisoning among children. By her logic we should ban all medication and she as a medical doctor should be prohibited from prescribing medication and instead recommend "natural" products for the sick and dying.

The real facts are that Health Canada has tested and proved these products as safe, and there is no credible scientific evidence that proves they are harmful when used as directed. People need to get the facts and make an informed decision, not be part of a knee-jerk, politically motivated reaction to appease the vocal minority like Pollock.

RUSS PATTERSON

Winnipeg

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I fully agree with Dr. Debbie Pollock's position on banning cosmetic pesticides in Manitoba.

Pesticides used on lawns and gardens pose needless dangers to people, pets and the environment. The risks to children are of particular concern. Medical studies have shown exposure to many common pesticides poses serious health risks.

I was a paper carrier for more than two decades and was needlessly exposed to cosmetic pesticides on people's lawns. I contracted non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and one of the documented causes of this type of cancer is pesticides.

Organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Ontario College of Family Physicians have endorsed the call for a cosmetic pesticide ban. Pesticides also cause harm to sensitive ecosystems.

Contamination from pesticide residues puts our waterways at risk, and some pesticides have also been found to harm honeybees and other pollinators that are essential for food production.

Now is the time for the government of Manitoba to take a leadership position to protect the health and environment of Manitobans.

NICK TERNETTE

Winnipeg

Targeted subsidies

In his Sept. 19 feature From China to Iqaluit, Gerald Flood writes that "a year-old federal program... switched transport subsidies from pretty much anything that could be flown north to more nutritious foods."

In fact, the Food Mail Program, which was replaced by Nutrition North Canada on April 1, 2011, did not subsidize the transportation of "pretty much anything": foods of little nutritional value and many "convenience" perishable foods such as frozen breaded fried chicken and packaged sandwiches were not eligible, nor were recreation and entertainment equipment and supplies, animal food and most paper products (with only a few exceptions).

A long list of non-essential non-food items were eliminated from the program in 1996. However, diapers, other non-food items required for personal hygiene and those that support access to country food through hunting and fishing remained eligible. In recent years, only about four to five per cent of Food Mail Program funding was applied to non-food items, and about 12 to 13 per cent to non-perishable food products, most of which have become ineligible for Nutrition North Canada.

MICHAEL FITZGERALD

Ottawa

Encouraging families

Re: Missing the core problem (Letters, Sept. 29). Certainly, Child and Family Services has problems, as Dave Ferguson suggests, but it is also dealing with huge problems in society.

Two solutions: Encourage families to rear their own children and not farm them out to relatives; and institute a campaign to educate pregnant women about the risks of fetal-alcohol syndrome.

The ultimate responsibility for the sexual and moral education of children lies with their parents. Academics and socialists want to take away this right because they think they know better and because they want to remake society.

Parents need to be extra vigilant of school trustees and other politicians.

In closing, I'll say thank God for single women. At least someone is having children.

ERNEST DIAS

Winnipeg

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Dave Ferguson sounds like he believes sex education focused on target groups would solve the big problem by reducing kids in care.

Like they don't know birth control exists. Why not just sterilize them all? It would be cheaper.

I don't have a solution, but I know a single person in Manitoba who works and earns $12,000 a year has to pay a $295 deductible on Manitoba medical coverage.

Then their prescriptions are free -- except for birth control. The same problem exists in many other jurisdictions.

Birth control should be free and easily available.

LAVONE HOLLER

Winnipeg

An isolated case

I feel I must correct Renee Peloquin (Inexperience leads to tragedy, Letters, Oct. 2) on a number of points. First, this is a sad, but isolated case. And it is important to point out that police make these type of mistakes as well.

However, there are many more examples of citizens who carry concealed weapons saving the day. Recently in Utah, a man was on a stabbing spree and a citizen pulled a gun and told him to stop or he would shoot. It ended there with only two people stabbed. Police arrived five minutes later. How many more victims would there have been by then?

In the U.S., citizens allowed to carry a weapon have to undergo training, and for most it is a hobby where they practice combat situations. With it being a hobby, they often are better trained than police officers.

Finally, if Peloquin read anything at all on the subject, she would know that in fact more guns do indeed lead to more peace. Those U.S. states where it becomes legal to carry a gun have seen a drop in violent crime, whereas those countries that severely restrict guns (England) have an increase in violent crime.

JAMES THACKER

Steinbach

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Continuing his one note attack on firearms owners, Ron Charach (A defective product, Letters, Oct. 1) animates semi-auto guns in the way a child blames the hammer for a flattened thumb. Haven't we decided that there is more success combating violent crime if we look at the human dimension instead?

Would anyone really feel safer if crooks and cops alike carried antique weapons like dynamite or blunderbusses?

ROB SCHMIDT

Winnipeg

True beauty is selfless

Re: If the shoe fits -- give it (Sept. 29). Lindor Reynolds, please stop writing about Kris Doubledee's good deed. Deeply sensitive people are taking it up as a Facebook and Twitter quote that must be passed on and imitated.True beauty needs no audience. It has its own light that burns from within -- it needs none shone on it.

CHRISTINA LOPEZ

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 4, 2012 A9

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