Revelstoke Times Review
Revelstoke school board to explore formal cosmetic pesticide ban
North Columbia Environmental Society president Sarah Newton addressed
the district 19 board of education at their Feb. 10 board meeting to
present plans for a total cosmetic pesticide ban in Revelstoke.
Newton said she was in the process of gaining support from stakeholder
groups across the community with the eventual goal of implementing the
total ban, which would include cosmetic uses of herbicides,
insecticides and fungicides.
The B.C. pesticide Control Act defines “cosmetic” pesticides as those
that are used purely for aesthetic purposes.
She presented a list of professional health organizations that had
pronounced their opposition to cosmetic pesticide use, including the
Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Medical Association, the
Canadian Institute of Child Health, the Interior Health Authority, the
Canadian Pediatric Society, amongst others.
In a written presentation, Newton outlined health concerns related to
these pesticides, including links to cancers, headaches, sleep
disturbances, vomiting, miscarriage, birth defects and other health
Newton noted that 120 municipalities in Canada including 12 in B.C.
had already adopted the ban. That included major municipalities who
had coped effectively with the loss of these pesticides by
implementing playing field management techniques that did not require
The ban would not cover non-cosmetic pesticide uses in the community,
such as for the control of noxious plant species.
Trustee Alan Chell, who chaired the meeting, said the matter would
need to be referred to the school board’s policy committee. The board
moved to refer the matter to that committee.
Superintendent Anne Cooper said the district had an “unwritten policy”
not to use pesticides, and that the district had not used them for
quite some time.
Newton noted, however, that Revelstoke municipal parks near Revelstoke
secondary, for example, were still treated with pesticides, and that
these persistent chemicals can be tracked on clothing, and have been
detected within homes up to a year after they were first introduced.
The board also passed a second motion expressing support for a wider
ban in the community.
Parental Exposure to Pesticides and Childhood Brain Cancer: United
States Atlantic Coast Childhood Brain Cancer Study
Youn K. Shim, Steven P. Mlynarek, and Edwin van Wijngaarden
Online 13 February 2009
This EHP-in-Press article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and
accepted for publication. The EHP-in-Press articles are completely
citable using the assigned DOI code for the article. This document
will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as
it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will
be able to access this document at each stage of the publication
process. Environ Health Perspect doi:10.1289/ehp.0800209 available via
http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 13 February 2009]
The full version of this article is available for free in PDF format.
BACKGROUND: The etiology of childhood brain cancer remains largely
unknown. However, previous studies have yielded suggestive
associations with parental pesticide use.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to evaluate parental exposure to pesticides at
home and on the job in relation to the occurrence of brain cancer in
METHODS: We included one-to-one matched 526 case-control pairs. Brain
cancer cases were diagnosed at <10 years of age and were identified
from statewide cancer registries of four Atlantic Coast states of the
United States. Controls were selected by random digit dialing. We
conducted computer-assisted telephone interviews with mothers. Using
information on residential pesticide use and jobs held by fathers
during the 2-year period before the child’s birth, we assessed
potential exposure to insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. For
each job, two raters independently classified the probability and
intensity of exposure; 421 pairs were available for final analysis. We
calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using
conditional logistic regression, after adjustment for maternal
RESULTS: A significant risk of astrocytoma was associated with
exposures to herbicides from residential use (OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.2–
3.0). Combining parental exposures to herbicides from both residential
and occupational sources, the elevated risk remained significant
(OR=1.8; 95% CI=1.1–3.1). Little association with primitive
neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) was observed for any of the pesticide
classes or exposure sources considered.
CONCLUSIONS: Our observation is consistent with a previous literature
reporting suggestive associations between parental exposure to
pesticides and risk of astrocytoma in offspring but not PNET. However,
these findings should be viewed in light of limitations in exposure
and effective sample size.
February 16, 2009
High hopes were expressed after after the first-ever meeting of the
Mankato Healthy Lawns Team.
Group pursues lawn-term benefits
By Tanner Kent
The Free Press
MANKATO — Thursday’s first-ever meeting of the Mankato Healthy Lawns
Team has a strange background indeed.
It begins nearly three years ago with Mara Natrakul, a parent who was
concerned about the potential health hazards of herbicides and
pesticides that are used on school grounds.
It evolved into a two-year study — funded by a $40,000 grant from the
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency — at several Mankato Area School
District sites to evaluate the effectiveness of organic lawn care
And along the way, the study generated a surprising amount of
interest: from several area municipalities and colleges that were
interested in the results, to Bob Mugaas, an Extension professor of
horticulture for the University of Minnesota, who acted as an adviser.
Mugaas said at the time that it was the first study to feature side-by-
side comparisons over an extended period.
The study concluded last summer with results showing that organic
measures were at least as effective as traditional weed-control
measures — and are healthier for people and soil. The study also
proved the effectiveness of so-called “cultural practices,” which are
simple, preventive measures that include overseeding, aeration and
“It’s important to look at a complete organic lawn care program,”
Natrakul said. “We want to raise awareness for some of these healthier
During Thursday’s meeting — which is open to anyone — Natrakul said
she will present a short report of the study’s findings and give a
primer on organic lawn care. The rest of the time, she said, will be
devoted to establishing goals and sharing ideas.
Natrakul said one of her goals is to increase the number of schools
using organic lawn care practices. Eagle Lake Elementary went all-
organic last year and Natrakul said she hopes the school continues
that effort when it undergoes construction this summer.
In some ways, organic lawn treatments are more expensive. A cost-
benefit analysis conducted during the two-year study showed organic
fertilizers were at least as expensive (and often more so) than their
traditional counterparts. Cultural practices also constitute an added
workload for the district’s already-strapped buildings and grounds
But, Natrakul said, the long-term benefits are worth the costs.
Healthier soil would require less management in the long run and, she
said, there’s no price that can be put on children’s safety.
“I think expectations need to be adjusted, too,” said the mother of
three. “These aren’t golf course greens and nor should they be.
Cosmetic appeal should never take precedence over children’s health.”
February 16, 2009
Man riding lawn mower dies in collision on street
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
GRANITE FALLS -- A man driving a lawn mower has died in a collision on
a highway in Granite Falls.
Snohomish County sheriff's Lt. Rodney Rochon says the riding mower
collided with a small car at midday Sunday on State Route 92.
The man on the mower was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle
but died a few hours later. The driver of the car escaped injury.
Rochon says investigators found no indications that speed, drugs or
alcohol were involved in the crash.
Monday, February 16, 2009
REGION: Green lawns likely to become memories
By JEFF ROWE - Staff Writer
Say good-bye to the green lawn.
For years, water districts have been warning residents across Southern
California to cut back on water use because a growing population,
reductions in water available from Northern California and below-
normal rainfall have depleted reserves and reservoir levels.
Most water used in Southern California comes from the northern part of
the state, so recent rain here makes little difference.
Soon, those admonitions will be replaced with bigger bills for excess
water use and fines for waste, such as allowing irrigation water to
spill into the street. The Eastern Municipal Water District, for
example, plans fines beginning at $100 for wasteful water use.
Those punitive measures will be accompanied by incentives for
customers to install conservation devices and yank out the sod and
replace it with more Mediterranean-climate friendly plants. Lush,
thirsty lawns that demand regular irrigation to survive the county's
grilling, rainless summers are becoming a water luxury the area no
longer can afford, water officials say.
To induce homeowners to give up their grass, water districts are
considering, among other things, paying customers the way the
electrical utilities do when customers surrender old, energy
Most immediately, tiered billing plans will make maintaining a lawn a
luxury because water usage and billing tiers are calculated on
household usage, generally about 60 gallons per person per day.
The Rancho California Water District implemented a tiered billing plan
a few years ago, the Eastern Municipal Water District plans to begin a
three-level billing plan March 1 and the Western Municipal Water
District plans to inaugurate its tiered structure early next year. It
hopes the mixture of pricing incentives, conservation assistance and
penalties for waste will help it save 6 billion gallons of water over
the next three years.
"Our goal is to change behavior," said Tim Barr, water use efficiency
manager for the Western Municipal Water District, which serves about
825,000 people in the western part of the county.
Western Municipal plans to install about 1,500 high-efficiency toilets
in hotels and apartment complexes in the next three months.
Area water districts have seen steady increases in water demand, which
is a trend that must be reversed, they say.
Western's goal is to reduce water use by at least 6 percent.
Eastern wants to save "as much as it can," spokeswoman Betty Gibbel
said. "The situation is very dire."
Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Murrieta, says he expects water
rationing will be required by mid-summer, and the Rancho California
Water District and others say they also are preparing for that
Jeffries knows water ---- he has served on both the Western Municipal
and Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District boards. He says several
factors are converging to cause California's water shortages: Failure
to build a better delivery system from the Northern California delta,
pressure from naturalists to limit water projects and a failure to
build more reservoirs.
Building new water projects ---- a reservoir, for example ---- is
politically and economically nearly impossible, says Laosheng Wu, a
professor of soil and water science at UC Riverside. The solution, he
says, is for everyone to conserve water.
Such efforts ultimately are more effective than grand projects,
conservation groups say.
Officials with the Chicago-based Alliance for Water Efficiency and
Washington, D.C.-based American Rivers say measures such as installing
low-water-use toilets, using computerized irrigation controllers on
farms and removing water-guzzling invasive plants can be 500 times
more efficient than building dams or reservoirs.
And such projects bring another big advantage in these times of
economic upheaval. Water conservation groups say every investment of
$1 billion in water-saving projects can create up to 22,000 jobs.
California has to "get serious" about finding a solution to its water
problems, says Tom Freeman, a spokesman for the Riverside County
Economic Development Agency. Water is crucial to business and farming
and diversifying the county's economy, he noted.
Contact staff writer Jeff Rowe at (951) 676-4315, Ext. 2621, or