Ecojustice Blog – Healthy communities Posted on March 22, 2013 (updated: February 17, 2015)

Why Manitobans would benefit from a cosmetic pesticide ban

Ecojustice lawyer Kaitlyn MitchellKaitlyn MitchellEcojustice Alumni

Today a coalition of health and environmental groups from across Canada urged the Manitoba government to protect the health of its communities with a province-wide, cosmetic pesticide ban.

We addressed our letter to the Honourable Gord Mackintosh, Manitoba’s Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship, who recently took an important first step toward banning cosmetic pesticides by releasing a discussion paper entitled Play it Safe; A Consultation on Cosmetic Law Pesticides. Pesticides used on lawns and gardens for cosmetic purposes expose people, pets and Manitoba’s lakes and rivers to unnecessary and potentially serious harm.

Groups that signed the letter included Ecojustice, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, the Ontario College of Family Physicians and many others.

Scientific research overwhelmingly shows that exposure to many pesticides poses serious health risks, including cancer risks among children, as well as reproductive and respiratory problems.

Children face the greatest risks from pesticide exposure because they are closer to the ground and because their bodies are still developing.  Pesticides can also pose risks to drinking water, as well as fish and wildlife populations.

Many municipal and six provincial governments across Canada have already reduced that harm, banning the use of non-essential pesticides from lawns, gardens and public parks. Governments have an important role to play in helping Canadians to protect themselves from toxics, and Ecojustice is pleased that the Manitoba government is considering its own ban.

Providing Manitobans with the same protections from exposure to harmful non-essential pesticides that most other Canadians enjoy is the right move. Manitoba families, as well as rivers, streams, and lakes such as Lake Winnipeg, deserve protection.

In our joint letter, the coalition urged the Manitoba Government to take a science-based, precautionary approach and to enact legislation that:

  • prohibits the use, sale, and retail display of chemical pesticides for lawns, gardens, and non-agricultural landscaping;
  • allows for exemptions to the ban only where necessary to protect public health;
  • provides for public education about the ban and alternatives to chemical pesticides; and
  • includes effective mechanisms for enforcement.

We look forward to a future where Manitoba’s most vulnerable, children, are no longer exposed to harmful chemicals while playing on lawns or in parks.

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