Thursday, January 1, 2009
The Top Notable Quotes of 2008
#20 ~ Jan Kasperski, CEO, Ontario College of Family PhysiciansKasperski, said the long-term effects of exposure to pesticides can bedevastating, and it can also lead to learning disabilities. "Whatwe're calling for now is to ensure that while we recognize that thesetoxins are causing harm, that we reduce the exposures as much aspossible, and don't wait 40 years for the evidence to gather in thesame way we did with tobacco," Kasperski said.
(Source: January 15, 2008, toronto.ctv.ca, 'Coalition wants Ontario topass pesticides ban', http://tinyurl.com/9ysg82)
#19 ~ Heather Logan, Senior Director, Cancer Control Policy andInformation, Canadian Cancer SocietyThe [pesticide] bans were needed because "there is some potential forincreased cancer" with the use of these products around homes and "nohealth benefit whatsoever," Ms. Logan said. "The only benefit that youget is looking at your lawn without any weeds. The issue of non-cosmetic exposure is very different."
(Source: November 12, 2008, The Globe and Mail, 'Cancer society turnssights to farm pesticides', by Martin Mittelstaedt, http://tinyurl.com/9ysg82)
#18 ~ Lorie Boychuk, Public Issues Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society"We believe there is enough of a threat to human health or theenvironment to warrant action and are asking our provincial andmunicipal leaders to take precautionary measures. A ban on the use andsale of cosmetic pesticides in our province is the necessary step toreduce the harm, especially to children."
(Source: May 22, 2008, Canadian Cancer Society Media Release, 'Nearly9 out of 10 Albertans support pesticide restrictions - Calgary couldbe first in province to ban toxic lawn chemicals', http://tinyurl.com/8g56aj)
#17 ~ K. Jean Cottam, Retired Intelligence Analyst"Thus it is neutral science, independent of industry's vestedinterest, that should prevail, with emphasis on guarding theespecially fragile health of young children. There is also an urgentneed to ease the financial burden our society tragically bears indealing with fully preventable cancers and other pesticide-relatedserious illnesses."
(Source: October 4, 2008, Burnaby Now, 'Neutral science' lacking indebate', OpEd, http://tinyurl.com/4nvrjh)
#16 ~ Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher, Canadian Environmental LawAssociationThe Quebec ban has been warmly endorsed by medical and environmentalorganizations--and enjoys wide support in public opinion surveys. She'stroubled that chemical producers can invoke NAFTA in an effort to"undermine the decisions of democratically-elected governments."
(Source: October 22, 2008, Embassy Magazine, ' U.S. Chemical CompanyChallenges Pesticide Ban, by Luke Eric Peterson, http://tinyurl.com/7ra569)
#15 ~ Phllippe Cannon, spokesperson for Quebec Environment MinisterLine Beauchamp"Our position on this is very clear. It's on our banned product list,"said Beauchamp's press aide Phllippe Cannon."This is based onprevention for the welfare and health of the population. We'll notchange our position regarding 2,4-D."
(Source: October 23, 2008, The Montreal Gazette, 'Quebec defendspesticide ban', http://tinyurl.com/645j65)
#14 ~ John Gerretsen, Environment Minister, Government of OntarioOntario won't back down from its plan to prohibit the cosmetic use andsale of weed killer 2,4-D despite a NAFTA challenge to Quebec'spesticide ban, Ontario's environment minister said Tuesday. "The NAFTAchallenge in and of itself - or potential NAFTA challenge - won't haveany effect on whether we think we're doing the right thing," saidEnvironment Minister John Gerretsen. "It's all about protecting kidsplaying in their own yards or other properties."
(Source: October 28, 2008, The Canadian Press, 'NAFTA challenge won'tstop Ont. from going ahead with pesticide ban: minister', by MariaBabbage, http://tinyurl.com/9uy7mr)
#13 ~ John Gerretsen, Environment Minister, Government of Ontario"We have heard from Ontarians on the draft regulation and are preparedto work with all partners to ensure an orderly implementation of thelegislation in 2009."
(Source: December 23, 2008, Government of Ontario Press Release,'Finalizing the Cosmetic Pesticide Ban: McGuinty Government On TrackTo Have Ban Ready In Spring 2009', http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/news/2008/122301.php)
#12 ~ Chris Collins, Moncton East MLA, Government of New Brunswick"From Hudson, Quebec to now, we're over 140 different by-laws. I thinkthe same thing will happen provincially. Now that Ontario and Quebechave done it, I think we will see that proliferating across theprovinces," said Collins.
(Source: May 6, 2008, Moncton Times & Transcript, 'N.B. should followOntario on pesticides: Collins', by Jesse Robichaud, http://tinyurl.com/a3q8hx)
#11 ~ Samuel Trosow, Associate Professor, University of WesternOntario"While the extension of a [pesticide] ban throughout the province is awelcome move which is long overdue, this should not be taken as anopportunity to weaken or invalidate measures already in place in manycities."
(Source: April 24, 2008, 'Municipal Pesticide By-Laws Threatened byFlawed Provincial Bill', by Samuel Trosow, http://samtrosow.ca/content/view/48/9/)
#10 ~ Mayor Ken Hill, Russell TownshipRussell Township Mayor Ken Hill has blasted commercial lawn sprayersfor ignoring the municipal anti cosmetic pesticide bylaw, calling them"scoundrels". The mayor said it's "disgusting" that the sprayingcompanies would circumvent the law when they know the intent ofcouncil and ratepayers is to ban residential application of all toxicchemicals within the township. Hill was relentless in his attack oncommercial applicators ignoring the spirit of the bylaw, describinghow he watched one technician wander onto neighbouring properties andcontinue randomly spraying without permission. "They have no respectfor the laws, the people or the environment of this community."
(Source: October 7, 2008, La Nouvelle, Est ontarien, 'Hill slamschemical sprayers for ignoring bylaw', by Tom Van Dusen, http://tinyurl.com/3gh34q)
#9 ~ John Ladds, Operation Manager, Weed Man/Turf Management Systems"This [province-wide pesticide ban] is something this industry atlarge has been wanting the province to do for some time. It'sdefinitely long overdue," he says. "We are not attached to anyparticular products, so we'll persevere and find other approaches andsolutions to continue to give our customers green lawns."
(Source: April 23, 2008, Simcoe.com, 'Province announces ban on useof pesticides',by Nicole Million and Julie DeBruin, http://www.simcoe.com/article/72616)
#8 ~ David Suzuki, Co-founder, The David Suzuki Foundation"Despite the clear evidence against chemical pesticides, more than 30per cent of Canadians with gardens still use them. But there isevidence that this practice may be coming to an end. Many cities havepassed bylaws banning the use of these lawn and garden pesticides. Wecan look forward to the day when a neighbour applying these chemicalsto their yards will seem as out-of-place as a smoker lighting up acigarette on a transatlantic flight."
(Source: March 25, 2008, CNews, The ugly truth about cosmeticpesticides', by David Suzuki with Faisal Moola, http://tinyurl.com/9ahmoe)
#7 ~ Gideon Forman, Executive Director, Canadian Association ofPhysicians for the Environment"The author of this column urges us to get the "best advice possible"when it comes to pesticides. We agree. That's why we're listening tothe Ontario College of Family Physicians, the Canadian Cancer Society,and the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario -- all of whomsupport the province's new pesticide regulations and urge theirimplementation in early 2009. If the issue is public safety, there'sno better source of advice than our doctors, nurses, and healthcharities."
#6 ~ Warren Porter, Professor, University of Wisconsin - Madison"...we found that when we looked at the [pesticide] dosage, very lowdoses have the greatest effect -‐a very common endocrine response."
(Source: Page 20 Vol. 27, No. 4, 2007-08, Pesticides and You: Aquarterly publication of Beyond Pesticides, 'Facing ScientificRealities, Debunking the "Dose Makes the Poison" Myth' by WarrenPorter, Ph.D. http://www.shopbeyondpesticides.org/back-issues-of-pesticides-and-you.html)
#5 ~ Meg Sears, Adjunct Investigator, Children's Hospital of EasternOntario Research Institute"Immune disruption contributes to many chronic illnesses, includingcancers. The PMRA quietly let slide the 2005 Advisory Panelrecommendation to investigate further child cancer. The immune systemcancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma (nHL) is strongly linked to 2,4-D. ThePMRA dismissed these scientific studies, and even misinterpreted oneas saying that 2,4-D lowered the chance of developing a particularnHL. In fact, compared to farmers not using pesticides, applicators of2,4-D were three times as likely to develop the cancer."
(Source: July 14, 2008, The Ottawa Citizen, Letter to the Editor,http://tinyurl.com/6yv4hn)
#4 ~ Meg Sears, Adjunct Investigator, Children's Hospital of EasternOntario Research Institute"Sweden has all-party support for the goal of a "non-toxicenvironment" within a generation. Ontario's children deserve no less.Least-toxic landscaping is one of the easiest, effective steps we cantake toward this goal."
(Source: March 24, 2008, Globe and Mail, 'Low-risk landscaping: It'stime to turf the toxins', OpEd, http://tinyurl.com/3adz7s)
#3 ~ Dr. Neil Arya, Environmental Health Committee Member, OntarioCollege of Family Physicians, Adjunct Professor of Environment andResource Studies, University of Waterloo"Unlike Europe's requirement to use the least toxic product for aparticular purpose, Canadian regulations default to needing todemonstrate definitive harm before a product is disallowed. Whetherharm is found depends on what you look for and with what tools. PMRAwas willing to re-register 2,4-D with incomplete data, only requiringdevelopmental neurotoxicity studies a year and a half from now."
(Source: August 13, 2008, National Post, 'There's no junk science inpesticide regulation', OpEd, http://tinyurl.com/6q2pml)
#2 ~ Dr. Neil Arya, Environmental Health Committee Member, OntarioCollege of Family Physicians, Adjunct Professor of Environment andResource Studies, University of Waterloo"We cannot assume that simply because a product is available in Canadathat it is "safe."In 2005, I sat on Health Canada's Pest Management Advisory Council. Weadvised the Pest Management Regulatory Agency to cease callingregistered pesticides "safe" when label directions were followed. Toits credit, the leadership of PMRA followed this recommendation,switching to "acceptable for use" or "poses an acceptable risk,"acknowledging that all pesticides have inherent hazards to human andecosystem health. Two years later the PMRA has reverted back to usingthe word "safe," not because the science has suddenly changed, but inresponse to public polling demonstrating the public wish forreassurance."
(Source: August 13, 2008, National Post, 'There's no junk science inpesticide regulation', OpEd, http://tinyurl.com/6q2pml)
#1 ~ Dalton McGuinty, Premier, Government of OntarioPremier Dalton McGuinty plans to introduce legislation Tuesday thatwould outlaw the cosmetic use and sale of pesticides. "It will be thetoughest (ban) of its kind in North America. It will go beyond justlawns. It will go to school yards and playgrounds and the like,"McGuinty said.
(Source: April 22, 2008, CityNews.ca , 'Province To Introduce CosmeticPesticide Ban On Earth Day', by CityNews.ca Staff,http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_21932.aspx)
Pesticides and YouA quarterly publication of Beyond Pesticides
Page 20 Vol. 27, No. 4, 2007-08
Facing Scientific Realities, Debunking the "Dose Makes the Poison"Myth
by Warren Porter, Ph.D.
Lawn Chemicals that Kill
Here is an example of what is put on lawns all across the country: 2,4‐D, mecoprop, and dicamba, a very common mix in lawn chemicals. 2,4‐Dhas a ring‐shaped structure, strong negative charges onthe chloridesand the acid group; a ring‐shaped structure for mecoprop, negativechloride acid group; ring‐shaped structure in dicamba, negativecharges on the chloride and acid groups. These molecules are fat‐soluble and water‐soluble. And, by the way, I just found out today inour board meeting from one of our members that Monsanto and Nebraskahave just come up with a dicamba‐resistant soybean to replace theRoundup‐resistant soybeans. These will be dissolving in the soy thatchildren may eat.
When we saw this 2,4‐D, mecoprop and dicamba mix (we just bought itoff the shelf), we wondered whether it might be capable of changing oraltering the capacity to keep fetuses in utero. So we decided we wouldtake what EPA said was a relatively safe dose, about 77 ppm 2,4‐D, andwe would allow mecoprop and dicamba in this mixture to go along forthe ride, and we would dilute it because we had a very concentratedsolution. We brought it down to 400 ppm as a super high dose,77 ppm,then a low dose at 0.32 ppm and 39 ppb here as the very lose dose. Wewould dose in two different ways: we would dose eitherfrom the day offertilization to day 15, the end of organ formation, or from day five,which is implantation, to day 15.
So how do you find out whether or not you are getting fetal losses?The way we get at embryo losses is to determine how many are born andthen after the ones that are born are weaned, we remove the uteri fromthe moms. And we can stain them with an ammonium sulfide stain andevery black spot shows us where a placenta was attached. The uterus ofa mouse is a bifurcated uterus, and so you can just count them likepeas on a pod. That is how we can determine how many were implanted,and the difference between the implants and the number born is howmany were lost.
We put this together several times, multiple research efforts by oneof my students, Fernanda Cavieres, myself, and another student in thelab, and we found that when we looked at the dosage, very low doseshave the greatest effect -‐a very common endocrine response.
Warren P. PorterProfessor207 Zoology ResearchOffice: (608)262-1719Lab: (608)262-0029Affiliations:Molecular and Environmental ToxicologyThe Nelson Institute: Conservation Biology and Sustainable DevelopmentEngineering Physics
email Warren Porterwpporter@wisc.eduhttp://www.zoology.wisc.edu/faculty/Por/Por.html
Wednesday December 31st, 2008
New Brunswick.Telegraph Journal
Other species benefit from ban
FREDERICTON - The Conservation Council of New Brunswick says theprovince's ban on pesticides has done more than benefit the growingbald eagle population. New government estimates indicate the number ofbald-eagle breeding pairs has doubled in the past 10 years. Thecouncil's David Coon says species such as osprey and the peregrinefalcon are also on the rebound. But Coon says more work needs to bedone to protect songbirds like the warbler and oven birds, now dyingout because of forest clear-cutting.
Wednesday December 31st, 2008
New Brunswick.Telegraph Journal
Thank stewardship for eagle's return
There are few sights as majestic as a bald eagle soaring over theforest or an Atlantic salmon leaping in its natal stream. Watchingthese totemic creatures, one experiences a sense of awe and privilegedconnection to the essence of this land.
Only a few years ago, scientists feared the eagle and the salmon mightdisappear from New Brunswick. The eagle populations had been decimatedby exposure to DDT and other pesticides, and salmon stocks had beenreduced to fragility by rapacious factory fishing.
Something momentous happened that has prevented their extinction.Through a growing conservation ethic, New Brunswickers have changedtheir approach to living with wilderness. The result is a moresymbiotic relationship - one that allows resource industries toprosper while restoring the health of wild areas.
The finest testament to this change is the new growth among once-threatened wildlife populations. The mighty Miramichi is teeming withsalmon - not as much as it held at its peak, but still the healthiestspawning runs in years. And bald eagles have returned to theprovince's watersheds. Today, there are 110 to 145 breeding pairs; in1980, there were only 12.
These changes are the result of pragmatism and a gradual alignment ofthe population, businesses and government to the common goal ofstewardship.
New Brunswick has proven it is possible to have productive, high-valueindustries and abundant wildlife. And New Brunswickers have played aninstrumental role in changing the way people the world over interactwith the wild.
Take the Atlantic Salmon Federation and countless local watershedassociations. Through their lobbying, they have reduced the impact ofEuropean market fishing on salmon populations worldwide. Or, considerNew Brunswick's forest product companies. They've pioneeredinnovations which have made forestry more sustainable, reducedpollution and limited the impact of harvesting.
New Brunsickers get more value out of natural resources today, butthey also put more value into conservation. That's good stewardship -and because of it, the eagle and the Atlantic salmon will be with usfor generations to come.
Tuesday December 30th, 2008
Eagle population soaring in province
by Benjamin Shingler
FREDERICTON - The largest bird of prey in Canada is making a comebackin New Brunswick.
In 1980 there were only 12 breeding pairs of bald eagles in theprovince.
After nearly disappearing from the province a quarter-century ago, anew survey indicates the bald eagle is once again set to soar. Thenumber of breeding pairs in the province has doubled in the pastdecade, to an estimated 110 to 145 this year compared to approximately66 in 1998.
In 1980, there were only 12 breeding pairs in New Brunswick.
"From ten years ago, from twenty years ago, it's certainly positive,"said Mark McGarrigle, a biologist at the province's Department ofNatural Resources and head organizer of the survey.
The iconic bald eagle, with distinctive white plumage on its head andtail, was once on the brink of vanishing from the continental UnitedStates and parts of Canada. The widespread use of pesticides,particularly DDT, dramatically reduced its population throughout NorthAmerica.
But the species has slowly recovered across the continent throughlegislation to protect the eagle and its habitat, and the banning ofDDT and other pesticides in the 1970s.
It now has a more stable population and has been officially removedfrom the U.S. federal government's list of endangered species.
Bald eagles are still listed as regionally endangered under in NewBrunswick's Endangered Species Act, but McGarrigle said thateventually could change if the growth trend continues.
There are two bald eagle populations in New Brunswick - one presentyear-round and another that migrates to the southeastern United Statesin the winter.
Bald eagles build the largest nests - about 1.5 to 1.8 metres indiameter - of any bird species in North America. Most of the breedingpopulation is found in the southwest of the province, where nestingoccurs near freshwater lakes, rivers, estuaries and marine islands.
"They are of big importance there, because that's where theypredominantly nest. There's a lot of watercourses and coastal areasthere," McGarrigle said.
"This is a positive trend we've been seeing continent-wide."
The Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the UnitedStates Fish and Wildlife Service, conducted the survey in April toestimate the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in New Brunswick.
Over a six-day period, a pilot biologist from Maine and two departmentstaff flew over predetermined areas to look for adult nesting eagles.
Wally Stiles, minister of Natural Resources, said the department isusing the information to develop an update on the bald eaglepopulation and identify new ways to help the species recover.
"Information gathered during the survey will be critical to thedevelopment of this report and allow us to make informed decisionsabout the continued recovery of the species in our province," Stilessaid in a statement.
Pesticides affect more than what we think!Monday, 29 December 2008, 12:59 pmPress Release: Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust
Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust
Pesticides affect more than what we think!
Once again the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust is urging allbutterfly gardeners to be careful when buying milkweed (swan plant)from garden centres.
"Every year it happens," says Jacqui Knight, Secretary of the MonarchButterfly New Zealand Trust. "People are desperately looking for foodfor their Monarch caterpillars, and end up buying plants affected withpesticide residue."
"We hear from adults and children distraught to see their caterpillarsdying," she says. "People really enjoy their hobby and pets, and aresaddened and angry when they have previously been told the plants theyare buying are safe for caterpillars."
One enthusiast lost over 100 butterflies because she was told theplants she bought were 'pesticide-free'. Laboratory testing provedotherwise. Plants don't have to be directly sprayed to be affected -spray can drift, condense and drop, or be windblown.
"I found out later it only takes one drop," the enthusiast toldmembers of the Trust. "My butterflies had severe damage to theirnervous and endocrine systems."
The Trust acknowledges that growers would find it difficult to sellplants covered with, or damaged by, caterpillars.
"But there are ways of growing plants so that they are safe for humansand other living things."
"There is no need to use pesticides," says Jacqui. "The growers shouldalso inform garden centre staff honestly about any sprays used, andwithholding periods."
The Monarch Butterfly Trust is slowly teaching butterfly gardenersabout the need to plan ahead.
"More and more people are planting earlier and making sure thatthey've got enough plants for the season. They're protecting some oftheir plants so that Monarchs also lay elsewhere. And with management,the plants are lasting several years, so there are cost savings too."
More information can be found on the website, www.monarch.org.nz or byemail to email@example.com.
December 31, 2008
Gardening: New insect pests establish themselves in FloridaSome have potential for severe effects
Terry Wolfley * special to news-press.com *
Since 2005, Florida has gained many new residents. However, they aremembers of six-legged species, and some of them are definitely notwelcome. The combination of wet spells and extended dry periods duringthe summer made perfect environmental conditions for many insects,whether they are beneficial or harmful.
Several new insect pests were recently discovered with the potentialto severely affect Florida's agricultural and horticultural economy.These invaders are thought to have come to our shores in shipments ofmilitary material from war zones, imported vegetative produce andornamentals from various foreign areas. Some new insect pests werepossibly conveyed by powerful major storm winds and migratingwildlife.
* Exotic croton soft scale (Philephedra crescentiae - tentative) - Aspecies of soft scale, new to science, was discovered on April 9 at anursery in Marathon. This insect was found on croton plants, thus itstentative name and classification. Scales suck juices from host plantsand large numbers of them often kill their host.
Croton is not its only host plant, as it has been found on guava,gumbo limbo, lignum vitae, ficus species, mango and several Floridanative trees and shrubs. It has serious economic pest potential. Youmay read more about it at: http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/enpp/ento/coccoidea_coccidae.html.Advertisement
* Pink hibiscus mealybug (Maconellicoucus hirsutus) - PHM attacks manycrops and ornamentals with a vengeance. It feeds on soft tissues ofits victims and injects toxic saliva that causes curling anddistortion of leaves, with resultant growth retardation. Largepopulations of this scale can kill the plants. This pest also feeds onthe host plant's roots and seed pods. You may read more about this newpest at: http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/orn/mealybug/mealybug.htm.
* Chilli thrips (Scirtothrips dorsalis) - On Oct. 14, 2005, chillithrips were discovered on rose shrubs in Palm Beach County. It has anatural distribution throughout tropical regions. Many important food,herb and ornamental plants are potential victims, such as citrus inJapan, strawberries in Australia, tea in Taiwan, peanuts, chilies andcastor beans in India, and cotton in the Ivory Coast.
Chilli thrips cause leaves to curl and shed. Infested new buds drop,thus severely limiting the size of the crop. You may learn more aboutchilli thrips at: http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/lso/thripslinks.htm.
* Fig whitefly (Singhiella simplex) - On Aug. 3, 2007, specimens ofthe fig whitefly were found on weeping figs (Ficus benjamina) in Miami-Dade County. This whitefly is believed to produce three generationsper year, making it indeed a prodigious propagator! Burma, China andIndia are its countries of origin. So far, ficus species appear to bethe only host plant, but the potential exists for it to adapt to andfeed on other species of trees.
Whiteflies are small, winged insects that belong to the OrderHemiptera which also includes aphids, scales and mealybugs. Theseinsects typically feed on the underside of leaves with their "needle-like" mouthparts. Whiteflies can seriously injure host plants bysucking juices from them causing wilting, yellowing, stunting, leafdrop, or even death. You may read more about the Fig Whitefly at:http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/lso/IAWG/FIG/The%20Fig%20Whitefly.htm.
* The exotic croton soft scale is already established in Lee County,and in many other counties throughout Florida. All of these new pestshave the potential to increase their range and devastate food cropsand ornamentals. Many readily available pesticides will control themand research is under way to discover natural predators. There is alengthy list of current Florida Pest Alerts at: http://pestalert.ifas.ufl.edu/.So, I'll keep you informed as new insect pests arrive.
-- Happy garden paths to you. I invite your comments and questions. MyEmail is: firstname.lastname@example.org and my Phone is 239-303-0354.
December 31, 2008
Editorial: A half-million on spin, not science
Wondering why California's water crisis never seems to end? Part ofthe answer lies with the behavior of individual water agencies.
Instead of devoting their ratepayers' money to projects that mightincrease water supply or resolve environmental conflicts, thesedistricts spend far too much on campaigns to assign blame or divertattention from their own actions.
Such a set of campaigns is occurring now. Some of the biggestexporters of water from the Delta - the Metropolitan Water District ofSouthern California, the Contra Costa Water District, the State WaterContractors and others - are targeting Sacramento for contributing tothe decline of smelt and other fish in the Sacramento-San JoaquinDelta.
In filings with regulators and in media commentaries, the south-of-Delta water agencies claim that Sacramento's treated wastewater isharming phytoplankton and hurting the ecology and water quality of theDelta.
"Every day, Sacramento's wastewater treatment plant sends 13 tons ofammonia downstream to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, potentiallydisturbing the Delta's food web in profound and destructive ways,"wrote Laura King Moon, assistant general manager for the State WaterContractors, in a recent op-ed for The Bee.
Is Sacramento's ammonia contributing to the Delta's decline? There iscause for concern, as we noted in an editorial in June. Scientistsfrom San Francisco State University have found that high ammoniaconcentrations reduce production of diatom - a type of phytoplankton -in the San Francisco and Suisun bays, potentially harming fish.
Yet if you were to read statements by the water contractors and somepoliticians, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, you'd think thecase against Sacramento was airtight. It's not. Scientists must stilldetermine if ammonia harms phytoplankton in the Delta in the same wayit seems to do in the more salty San Francisco Bay. The impacts ofammonia must also be weighed against other stressors of the ecosystem,including exotic clams, pesticides and water diversions.
In recent months, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality ControlBoard has started to more closely examine these questions, which isappropriate. The Sacramento sanitation district has plans by 2020 toexpand its discharge by 40 percent. Before it receives permits to doso, regulators need to understand the consequences.
In this effort, it would be helpful if everyone involved - from watercontractors to the Sacramento sanitation district - would help toadvance the basic research. Determining if ammonia from Sacramento'streatment plant is actually damaging the estuary would be money wellspent, especially since ammonia removal could cost the sanitationdistrict up to $1 billion.
Sadly, instead of taking such a proactive approach, the Sacramentosanitation district is spending its money in more dubious ways. Lastmonth, the district's board - made up of Sacramento County's fivesupervisors and other elected officials - hired a local public affairsfirm to launch a "strategic communications plan" to counter anysuggestion that ammonia might pose a threat.
According to a copy of the contract, this strategic plan will costthis public agency and its ratepayers an astounding $532,500 to$630,525.
Such is the nature of water politics. Instead of resolving conflictsand letting science drive policy, water agencies devote enormous sumsof public money to litigation, perks, wasteful spending and - aboveall - spin.
=============================Warning Industry Propaganda Below=============================
Food and Farming Canada
Farmers demand science-based policies
by Lilian SchaerAGCare, Ontario, environment, farmers, government, pesticides
The following editorial, from the Ontario Corn Producers Association,is one of several that have been appearing in the media recentlyasking the Ontario government to focus on science rather than emotionwhen it comes to making policies that impact farmers.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has been vocal on the issue, ashas AGCare and Guelph Mercury columnist Owen Roberts. But these wordsfrom the Corn Producers - although they echo the other voices - are myfavourite.
Whenever the public starts to take an interest in pesticides on thefarm it seems the collective farm community bristles a little bit.That's because crop protection products (that's what we call them now)are so often feared and misunderstood in the general public.
In October the Canadian Cancer Society held a conference, "Exploringthe connection" looking at the connection between pesticides andcancer.
The conference brought together stakeholders from medicine, research,environment, government, and agriculture to hear about the regulationscurrently in place, research underway, and what's happening around theworld.
A public opinion study commissioned by the Canadian Cancer Societyprior to the event revealed some startling information about what's onCanadians' minds. According to the study, more than half of Canadiansdo not feel they receive enough information about pesticides to makeinformed choices about the food they buy.
Nearly three quarters of Canadians say they would support strongerregulations aimed at reducing the use of pesticides in foodproduction.
At the conference, leading medical researchers admitted there is nodirect connection between pesticides and cancer rates. Attendees fromoutside of Canada acknowledged that Canada's food safety and pesticideregulatory systems are among the best in the world. Many people leftwith a better understanding of what happens on the farm, and howfarmers already limit their chemical use with tools such as GPS andother new technologies.
What was refreshing about this event is the attention that was givento the importance of sound science. Cancer is an emotional subjectthat has affected so many Canadians - rural and urban - in verypersonal ways. It was encouraging that the Canadian Cancer Society waswilling to take an objective look at the evidence that exists, and toinvolve all stakeholders in the process. That kind of approach setsthe stage for an amicable working relationship in future initiatives.
What's confusing, then, is why the Ontario government is proposing newpesticide regulations that are not based on science. The proposedregulations would eliminate the use of cosmetic pesticides across theprovince.
Banning cosmetic pesticides is a slippery slope for Ontarioagriculture. First, it puts fields at greater risk of weedinfestations from urban areas where the proposed regulations would banthe use of products to control them.
Secondly, what kind of message is it sending to Ontario residents whomight be inclined to ask: If chemicals are too dangerous to spray onour lawns, why can farmers spray them on the food we eat? That's abold statement to make, and there had better be some solid informationon which to base it.
If there's science to prove that those chemicals have a detrimentaleffect on our health or the health of the environment, then farmerswant to see it.
Farm families are no strangers to cancer, and nobody wants to puttheir families, consumers, or environment at increased risk. But wehave yet to see a scientific study credibly make that link. We deservemore from our provincial policy makers.
Lilian SchaerExecutive Director
Lilian Schaer is the Executive Director of AGCare. She has worked inthe agriculture sector for almost ten years, most recently as Managerof Research Communications and Marketing at the University of Guelph.Previously, she was Communications Manager at Ontario Pork, where shewas responsible for producer communications and publications, issuesmanagement, media relations, event planning and promotional programs. Lilian is also active as a freelance agricultural communicationsspecialist and project manager. She is Past President of the EasternCanada Farm Writers' Association and co-chair of the 2011International Federation of Agriculture Journalists annual congress.
Lilian grew up on a farm near Hanover ON and is a graduate of theUniversity of Guelph and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program.
AGCareOntario AgriCentre100 Stone Road West, Suite 106Guelph OntarioN1G 5L3
Phone: 519-837-1326Fax: 519-837-3209email: email@example.com: www.agcare.org
============================= 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
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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
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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'
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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…
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Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
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pesticides. Please join me in lobbying our province for a pesticide ban Judie Squires Portugal Cove...