Thursday, December 18, 2008
It pays to go pesticide-free...
It pays to go pesticide-free; Ban will help economy grow withouthurting consumers
by Gideon Forman
The Ontario government's new lawn pesticide ban, which should comeinto effect in early 2009, will do much to protect human andenvironmental health. But it's also becoming clear the legislationwill be a boon to our economy -- boosting business and creating greenjobs.
Communities across Canada that already have pesticide restrictionshave enjoyed a major expansion of their lawn-care sector. For example,in the five years following a pesticide ban in Halifax, the number oflawn-care firms in the city grew to 180 from 118 -- an increase of 53per cent, according to Statistics Canada. The number of employees inthe sector also grew. As well, Statistics Canada reports the number oflandscaping and lawn-care businesses in Toronto has grown each yearsince that city passed a pesticide ban.
Why does the nontoxic route help the economy? For one thing, it's abit more labour-intensive, relying less on chemicals and more on hand-weeding. But it also requires some specialized knowledge of plant andsoil ecology that homeowners often lack -- hence their increasedreliance on organic professionals.
Ontario's organic lawn-care providers are booming. For instance,Barrie-based Turf Logic Inc. will be doubling its business by spring2009. The Oshawa-based organic firm Environmental Factor has grown itsbusiness tenfold over the last eight years.
It's also the case that many organic lawn products (such as corngluten meal, horticultural vinegar, compost and beneficial nematodes)are produced right here in Ontario -- which means more business forour manufacturers. (By contrast, many of the toxic lawn chemicals aremade in the United States or Europe.)
Two questions often raised during discussions of market change are"Will the transition happen smoothly," and "Will the new services beaffordable?" In this case, the answer to both is yes.
More than five million Ontarians live in municipalities that alreadyrequire nontoxic lawn care. So the industry already has the know-howand products -- including corn gluten meal for weeds and nematodes forgrubs -- to provide pesticide-free services province-wide. As well,major retailers (such as Rona and the Home Depot) are now committed tothe nontoxic approach, meaning do-it-yourselfers have everything theyrequire.
What about costs to the consumer? A recent survey of Ontario lawncompanies showed the price of pesticide-free services is competitivewith traditional services and is sometimes exactly the same. (Onecompany, for example, charges $159.88 to treat a 2,500-square-footproperty -- whichever service the customer picks.) And as more firmsgo organic, prices will drop.
Nontoxic lawn care not only produces beautiful properties -- just lookat the Stratford Festival lawns, the campus of Trent University or thegrounds of the Ontario legislature -- but it's also very cost-effective.
Scientists have long told us that pesticides are associated withcancer (such as non-Hodgkins lymphoma), neurological illness (such asParkinson's disease) and birth defects. Health authorities --including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Registered Nurses'Association of Ontario and the Ontario College of Family Physicians --have long supported cosmetic pesticide bans. But now we know that, inaddition to its health benefits, going pesticide-free also makes goodeconomic sense.
Gideon Forman is executive director, Canadian Association ofPhysicians for the Environment. www.cape.ca
© 2008 Torstar Corporation
Thu 18 Dec 2008
The Toronto Sun
Green jobs grow from ban
BY GIDEON FORMAN
The Ontario Government's new lawn pesticide ban -- which should comeinto effect in early 2009 -- will do much to protect human andenvironmental health. But it's also becoming clear the legislationwill be a boon to our economy -- boosting business and creating greenjobs.
Communities across Canada which already have pesticide restrictionshave enjoyed a major expansion of their lawn care sector.
For example, in the five years following a pesticide ban in Halifaxthe number of lawn care firms in the city grew from 118 to 180 -- anincrease of 53%, according to Statistics Canada.
The number of employees in the sector also grew.
Statistics Canada also reports the number of landscaping and lawn carebusinesses in Toronto has grown each year since that city passed apesticide ban.
Why does the non-toxic route help the economy? For one thing, it's abit more labour-intensive, relying less on chemicals and more on hand-weeding. But it also requires some specialized knowledge of plant andsoil ecology which homeowners often lack -- hence their increasedreliance on organic professionals.
Ontario's organic lawn care providers are booming. For instance,Barrie-based Turf Logic Inc. will be doubling its business by spring,2009.
The Oshawa-based organic firm, Environmental Factor, has grown itsbusiness 10-fold over the last eight years.
It's also the case that many organic lawn products (such as corngluten meal, horticultural vinegar, compost, and beneficial nematodes)are produced right here in Ontario, which means more business for ourmanufacturers. (By contrast, many toxic lawn chemicals are made in theU.S. or Europe.)
Two questions often raised during discussions of market change are:"Will the transition happen smoothly and will the new services beaffordable?" The answer to both is yes.
KNOW-HOW AND PRODUCTS AVAILABLE
More than five million Ontarians live in municipalities which alreadyrequire non-toxic lawn care. So the industry already has the know-howand products -- including corn gluten meal for weeds and nematodes forgrubs -- to provide pesticide-free services province-wide.
As well, major retailers (such as Rona and Home Depot) are nowcommitted to the non-toxic approach, meaning do-it-yourselfers haveeverything they require.
What about costs to the consumer? A recent survey of Ontario lawncompanies showed the price of pesticide-free services is competitivewith traditional services and is sometimes exactly the same. (Onecompany, for example, charges $159.88 to treat a 2,500-square footproperty -- whichever service the customer picks.)
As more firms go organic, prices will drop. Non-toxic lawn care notonly produces beautiful properties -- just look at the StratfordFestival lawns, the campus of Trent University, or the grounds of theOntario legislature -- but it's also very cost-effective.
Scientists have long told us that pesticides are associated withcancer (such as non-Hodgkins lymphoma), neurological illness (such asParkinson's Disease), and birth defects. Health authorities --including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Registered Nurses'Association of Ontario, and the Ontario College of Family Physicians-- have long supported cosmetic pesticide bans.
Now we know that, in addition to its health benefits, going pesticide-free also makes economic sense.
© 2008 Sun Media Corporation. All rights reserved.
December 16, 2008
California officials launch 'Green Chemistry' initiativeThe plan to regulate product 'greenness' would inform consumers howitems sold in the state are manufactured and transported and howenvironmentally safe their ingredients are.
By Margot Roosevelt
Is that laundry soap truly "environmentally friendly"? Was thatmattress treated with toxic chemicals? Is that sweatsuit fashionedfrom organic cotton? Is that lipstick "natural"?
California officials launched a sweeping green initiative on Tuesdayto inform consumers exactly how hundreds of thousands of products soldin the state are manufactured and transported and how safe theiringredients are.
The plan, which would require every product to reveal its"environmental footprint," envisions the most comprehensiveregulations ever adopted for consumer goods.
"These recommendations usher in a new era of how we look at householdproducts -- from our children's toys to the plastic we use to makeshampoo bottles, to the varnish on our wood furniture," said Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Until now, most of the state's regulation of toxic chemicals, whichcan cause cancer, birth defects and neurological damage, has beenfocused on how to control exposure to factory workers and how to cleanup hazardous waste.
But after an 18-month effort to revamp that approach, "instead ofpaying attention to the toxic substances in our everyday products onlywhen it comes time to throw them away in the landfill," Schwarzeneggersaid, "we will now pay attention . . . when the product is designed,manufactured, used and recycled."
Maureen F. Gorsen, director of the California Department of ToxicSubstances Control, said the administration would propose a lawsetting up a public database that could eventually allow consumers toscan a bar code on every product to determine how green it is -- orisn't.
With scanners at stores, or eventually on cellphones, purchasers couldcompare brands to figure out which one was manufactured, for instance,with coal-fired electricity in China and which one with solar power inCalifornia; how much greenhouse gas was emitted through itstransportation by boat, plane or truck; and whether its ingredientswere the safest available and could be easily recycled.
A more limited regulation by the California Air Resources Boardrequires stickers on new automobiles rating them on how much smog-forming pollution and how much carbon dioxide, a gas that contributesto global warming, they emit.
The proposed "Green Chemistry" initiative comes at a time of growingconcern that the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, passed threedecades ago, has failed to control an explosion of hazardousmaterials. Europe recently enacted tougher toxics rules than theUnited States, forcing many American companies to revamp products soldfor export, but the California program would go further in itsdisclosure requirements.
"We don't know what is really in 'artificial flavors' or 'fragrances,'" said Dan Jacobson, legislative director of Environment California, anonprofit that issued a recent report on the lack of testing onchemicals.
Environmentalists want to curb the current practice of "riskassessment," which requires a complex calculation of exposure and harmbefore a chemical is restricted. Chemicals should be proven safebefore marketed, in their view.
"Industry fights for risk assessment because it is easier to hide thedangers of their chemicals," Jacobson said. "This issue is not fullyaddressed in the report."
Gorsen responded that the plan would mean "a big move away fromtraditional risk assessment. . . . We create a system that acceleratesour move to safer choices -- rather than argue and equivocate abouthow bad is bad."
Meanwhile, companies, latching on to consumer fears, are trying tooutdo one another in advertising their products' eco-virtues -- aphenomenon sometimes disparaged as "greenwashing."
"Most of the green stuff that is marketed is not really green," Gorsensaid. "With this plan, we are moving from 'claims of green' to'metrics of green.' Maybe a company did one thing to make theirproduct green, but their overall footprint is not good. We'll look athow green is green. And how to compare this bottle of shampoo to thatbottle of shampoo."
Approximately 100,000 known chemicals are used in production today,but safety data is available on only a few thousand. In California,644 million pounds of chemical products are sold each day.
"The federal government has not required ingredients disclosure forall products," Gorsen said. "Now for the first time, we will know whatis in products -- and not just those made in California but anythingsold in California."
Two California laws passed last fall have jump-started the program. AB1879, sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D- Los Angeles), requiresthe state to identify "chemicals of concern" and to evaluate saferalternatives. SB 509, sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto),creates a scientific clearinghouse for information on chemicals'effects.
Automakers and electronics manufacturers lobbied against the bills,saying that, given the new European standards, they could be subjectedto a patchwork of warning labels. Car manufacturers use flameretardants that have been linked to neurodevelopmental effects.Computers and other electronics contain contaminants that endangerhealth if they escape into factory workplaces, landfills and watersupplies.
Representatives of the electronics and auto industries in Sacramentodeclined to comment on the new plan, but John Ulrich, executivedirector of the Chemistry Industry Council of California, called theinitiative "balanced. Our industry has been promoting sustainabledevelopment since the 1980s," he said. The initiative takes ascientific approach to regulation, he added, instead of the "earlierchemical-by-chemical approach conducted in the Legislature by peoplewho didn't have a background in the field."
He noted, however, that consumer products associations, such asdetergent manufacturers, have not endorsed the disclosure of theiringredients because of concerns over trade secrets.
Gorsen said industry leaders such as Patagonia, Levi Strauss and Wal-Mart that are already using environmental score cards to rate productsare enthusiastic about a footprint database. "It will give acompetitive advantage to companies that are ahead of the curve."
It could also favor California-made products, she suggested. "Withglobalization, a lot of them are at a price disadvantage. But if aCalifornia manufacturing facility is cleaner than a facility in China,then California will not be at such a competitive disadvantage."
Gorsen said her agency "held workshops up and down the state. Wetalked to the manufacturers, to Dow, Dupont and Proctor & Gamble, tothe grocery chains and the retailers. We sifted through 57,000comments."
The 57-page plan will require both regulations and new legislation.And, given the hundreds of thousands of products sold in the state, itcould take as long as 10 years to gather all the information on theirmanufacture, toxicity and environmental footprints, Gorsenacknowledged.
Wed 17 Dec 2008
Arsenic in bush a concern
by Rick Playfair
There have been a lot of concerns raised about monosodium methylarsenate (MSMA).
MSMA was used as a pesticide against the pine beetle in some areasaround the Fort St. James Forest Region as well as B.C. as a wholeuntil 2004. Concerns have been raised because it is said to containarsenic.
Tim Ebata, Forest Health Initiatives Officer, said that arsenic is theonly potentially harmful chemical known to be contained in MSMA.
"It is important to point out this little known fact that a arseniccan be found in several different forms, which have different levelsof toxicity," he said. "Several forms have very low toxicity to humansand the environment and the form that is applied in MSMA has a lowtoxicity. However, there is some concern over the potential for theform found in MSMA to get converted to a more toxic form in theenvironment but a review by the toxicologists at the Pest ManagementRegulatory Agency have concluded that this risk is extremely low andnot enough to change the conditions of use of the product (at the timewhen it was still registered which is no longer the case). The levelof risk to human health and the environment caused by MSMA exposure,particularly to "legacy trees" that may be up to 20 years old, ishighly debatable and contentious. Based on the amount of pesticideused and the manner of application, Health Canada's Pest ManagementRegulatory Agency (PMRA) did not see any significant risk to human orenvironmental health.
"MSMA was applied according to directions by PMRA and was appliedunder a Pesticide Use Permit, issued annually by the Ministry ofEnvironment. In an effort to do our own due diligence on this matter,we are doing our own tree tissue, soil and vegetation arsenic analysisto determine what level of risk there is on a typical northern wetsite (Morice) and in a dry site (Merritt) and will be working with ourpublic health officials to provide this determination. This samplingand analysis will be completed in March."
MSMA (which was contained in a formulation called Glowon that wasregistered for forest use) was only used for bark beetle control.
"The amount of MSMA (the active ingredient) is 320 g/l," Ebata said."The rate of application is 1 ml per 2.54 cm of tree circumference.For a tree typically found in the Ft St James District that is onaverage 30 cm diameter at breast height will have a frill diameter ofprobably about 40 cm or so depending on butt flare so you are lookingat about (40 cm X pi)/2.54 = 125cm / 2.54 = 50 ml/tree = .05 l/tree.At 320 g/l, this means each tree has been injected with about 16 g ofthe active ingredient.
"We track the concentration of MSMA through the detection of elementalarsenic. In a MSMA molecule, there is one arsenic atom so trackingelemental arsenic is a good indicator of the concentration of MSMA.However, I must point out that arsenic is an extremely common elementin the environment and is readily absorbed by plants, soil and isoften found at various concentrations in drinking water naturally dueto its leaching from rocks. In fact, gold miners used to use higharsenic levels in trees as a good indicator of gold ore deposits dueto its association with arsenic. Thus, any analysis of trees, soil,water, and even animals that feed on potential arsenic contaminatedfood, will likely all have some background levels of arsenic and theselevels can be surprisingly high."
MSMA was used as a part of many different treatments to help kill thepine beetle in the past.
"MSMA was used as part of a suite of treatment tools (fall and burn,small patch and conventional harvesting and MSMA) for bark beetlemanagement that were used to try to suppress mountain pine beetle andspruce beetle infestations before they reached outbreak levels," hesaid. "Treatments were curtailed when it was obvious that they wouldbe ineffective when faced with an expanding MPB outbreak. MSMA
Continued on page 3
Copyright 2008 Caledonia Courier
=============================Warning Industry Propaganda Below=============================
Dec 16, 2008
PLANET launches communication toolkit
HERNDON, VA — The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) introducesthe Lawn and Landscape Issues Communication Toolkit, an onlineinformation center containing resources and Web sites related totimely green industry legislative issues. The toolkit is available inthe Legislative Section of PLANET's Web site, LandcareNetwork.org, andwill be updated as additional material becomes available to addressnew issues and concerns.
Resources in the toolkit include legislative tools such as how toprovide personal testimony, lobby the general assembly, and correspondand meet with lawmakers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)pesticide registration process, state preemption laws, fertilizertalking points, water conservation actions, and sample letters to yourcustomers and media editors, to name a few, are also covered.
The toolkit also lists several helpful Web sites of otherorganizations such as Project EverGreen, the EPA, The Lawn Institute,National Pest Management Association, National Pesticide InformationCenter, and Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE).
Information in the toolkit will aid grassroots efforts. It will helpgreen industry professionals stay on top of the issues and betterrespond to damaging, erroneous information. The information can becustomized and used to fit a particular situation and issue.
If you know of additional material that is available and should belisted in the toolkit, please e-mail PLANET's Director of GovernmentAffairs Tom Delaney or call 800-395-2522 with your ideas andsuggestions.
Lawn and Landscape Issues Communication Toolkit,
About the ToolkitThe Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) welcomes you to a new andgrowing online Lawn and Landscape Issues Communication Toolkit, easilycustomizable to your particular concern or issue wherever you resideand work. This toolkit offers numerous resources, samples and tips inone spot so you can grab what you need and help reporters, consumers,and lawmakers make informed choices, pass balanced legislation, andwrite accurate stories — in effect, spread the positive, factualbenefits about the establishment and maintenance of green spaces thatyou provide throughout the nation today. This is your toolkit and youropportunity to make a difference and to have a voice about yourindustry and your profession.
The Lawn and Landscape Issues Communication Toolkit is always underdevelopment. The staff and Government Affairs and Public RelationsCommittees of PLANET will be adding to and changing this toolkitfrequently to bring you the latest information and resources. You areencouraged to add to and comment on the toolkit by contacting PLANET’sGovernment Affairs Director Tom Delaney.
IssuesThis toolkit helps you articulate the facts concerning the servicesand products you use and offer to customers every day. It helps youstay on top of the issues and better respond to damaging, erroneousinformation. Make no mistake — the green industry is oftenmisrepresented and underrepresented. Pesticides, in particular, take abeating in the press and in public opinion.
For instance, check out this quote from an article on Forbes.com:“Pesticides are the single worst negative side effect of lawn care,”Milesi says. “They are a direct health concern for you, your kids, andyour pets.” Christine Milesi is a research scientist working at NASA’sAmes Research Center, according to the article “Paper or Plastic? TheGreen American Dream” by Michael Noer, July 24, 2008.
In Canada, pesticide bans in many communities are becomingcommonplace. According to a June 2008 article in Chemistry World,“Over the past few years, various groups have successfully campaignedfor individual municipalities to institute their own local pesticidebans. According to one of the principal lobby groups, the CanadianEnvironmental Law Association (CELA), these bylaws now cover 42percent of Canada’s population, including major cities such asHalifax, Toronto, and Vancouver.”
The threat to the green industry — your business and livelihood — isreal.
PLANETThe staff and leadership at PLANET urge you to use this online toolkitoften and give the association feedback on its usefulness in the questto balance the playing field of negativity, correct inaccuracies,fight burdensome legislation that is not based on sound science, andeducate employees and customers about the benefits of professionallawn care and landscape practices.
This toolkit demonstrates the association’s commitment to serve andsupply our members with resources to help them better respond tocustomer and media requests, and strengthen the industry’sprofessionalism and longevity through grassroots advocacy andawareness.
Please contact your PLANET staff and leadership with questions andsuggestions. We are here to help!
Be Our LINK
It’s Up to You! Be Our LINK: Lawn & Landscape Industry Network KeeperGet the LINK brochure!
Canadian Resources and Responses
Adobe Acrobat DocumentWriting Letters to MPs
Adobe Acrobat DocumentSample Letter to Customer
Adobe Acrobat DocumentNo Scientific Basis Editorial in Windsor Star
Adobe Acrobat DocumentBenefits of Pesticides Editorial in GuelphMercury
Adobe Acrobat DocumentScience Battles Emotion Editorial in DailyGleaner
Internet LinkTools of Change:Proven Methods for Promoting Health, Safety and EnvironmentalCitizenship
Adobe Acrobat DocumentBenefits of Ornamental Plants Final Report
============================= Blog Gadgets
St. John's Daily Spray Advisory
My Past Articles
More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 413 words
Karen Griffin - Judie Squires says someone needs to patrol the companies that spray residential areas for pesticides because she's observed nine violations of the Environmental Protection Act in her Paradise neighborhood alone…
Spray woes: Province falling down on monitoring pesticides
The Telegram (
Judie Squires - environment to become poisoned? A temporary ban on all residential pesticides has to be put into place, to protect us, our wildlife and our environment as a whole. Judie Squires
Government lax on cosmetic pesticide regulation: advocate
The Telegram (
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of
Woman doesn't expect cosmetic pesticide ban any time soon
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - 08-30-2004 - 712 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic that the province will ban the…
Province lagging behind in pesticide control
The Telegram (
Squires, Judie - it to do is to prohibit the cosmetic use of synthetic pesticides altogether in order to protect our citizens and the environment. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's…
The two sides to pesticide use
The Telegram (
Judie Squires - health of your families. When
Inquiry implicates BTk
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - of trees. The live spores can be inhaled by humans and animals exposed to BT. Judie Squires, secretary of the Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, says despite claims that…
Delayed pesticide laws 'disappointing'
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - at the end of this year. These products will only be sold to certified dealers. Judie Squires, secretary of the newly formed Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, isn't…
Above Articles available through Trancontinental Newsnet
Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
The Telegram (
pesticides. Please join me in lobbying our province for a pesticide ban Judie Squires Portugal Cove...