Ecojustice Blog – Healthy communities Posted on April 22, 2014 (updated: July 22, 2020)

Ecojustice applauds Manitoba legislation to ban certain cosmetic pesticides in 2015

Ecojustice lawyer Kaitlyn MitchellKaitlyn MitchellEcojustice Alumni
Photo of a child
Photo by seventwentysk via Flickr

This Earth Day, we’re celebrating an important environmental victory that will protect people, pets and wildlife populations in Manitoba from cosmetic pesticides.

Gord Mackintosh, Manitoba’s Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship, introduced legislation that will ban the use of certain cosmetic of pesticides in 2015. While the proposed legislation is not an outright pesticide ban, it would limit uses. This is an important turning point in protecting the health of Manitobans and the environment from unnecessary exposure to pesticides applied for purely cosmetic purposes.


How (and why) did Ecojustice get involved?

When children, the most vulnerable among us, are threatened by something our governments can prevent, the time to act is not tomorrow but now.

That’s why for the past couple years, we worked with Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. We shared information about the campaign, we consulted with the Manitoba government and we helped dispel myths surrounding similar bans. For us, protecting your health and the health of people, pets, and wildlife is important.


But aren’t most pesticides okay for use?

While pesticide-ban opponents claim that Health Canada’s approval and regulation of pesticides makes them safe, this is far from the truth.

Health Canada does not study how mixtures of pesticides may impact human health and the environment how long-term and whether low-level exposures will impact health and the environment. Health Canada also doesn’t ask pesticide makers to study those issues.


What does the science say?

Scientific and medical literature reveals that pesticide exposure poses serious health risks. These can include cancer risks among children, as well as reproductive and respiratory problems.

There’s an old adage that bears repeating: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Today’s legislation to ban certain cosmetic pesticides puts prevention first. Reducing exposure to pesticides is still the best way to protect your health, and the health of all Manitobans.

In 2015, Manitobans will join people in six provinces who are living in healthier environments as a result of bans on cosmetic pesticide uses. Provinces that have banned (or restricted) the use of cosmetic pesticides:

Quebec, 2003
Ontario, 2008
P.E.I., 2009
New Brunswick, 2009
Nova Scotia, 2010
Newfoundland & Labrador, 2012


Looking ahead

Ecojustice lawyers and scientists will continue to work with the Manitoba government. The government must still develop regulations that will install the ban. We look forward to 2015, when Manitobans can enjoy their lawns, public parks and other spaces without exposing themselves to cosmetic pesticides.

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