Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pesticide industry must stop denials...And more

February 5, 2009
Kelowna Daily Courier
Dear Editor:
Re: “Anti-pesticide bylaws unsound, advocate for products argues”,Okanagan Saturday Staff, January 31, 2009
For over seventy years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been thenationally respected and trusted voice on all cancer issues. We fundthe most research, support the most people and fight to prevent alltypes of cancer.
Regarding the risk of developing cancer through exposure topesticides, we agree that more research is needed. However, there isenough current scientific evidence to show that precautions should betaken. More and more studies link pesticide exposure to developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, adult and childhood leukemia, brain, kidney,pancreatic, prostate, and some lung cancers. At higher risk are thosewho work with pesticides as part of their job.
We all have a right to know if we are being exposed to cancer-causingsubstances in our communities. The Canadian Cancer Society believesthat it is better to be safe than sorry.
Taking precaution can start with the simple action of eliminating theuse of pesticides to beautify lawns and gardens. The cosmetic, orornamental, use of pesticides has no health benefit but is shown tohave the potential to harm our health and the environment. Why usetoxic chemicals when safer alternatives exist?
Encouragingly, people in cities across BC, including Kelowna , areopen to non-toxic practices. In a recent Ipsos Reid survey, more thaneight in ten of those with a lawn or garden in Kelowna said they wouldbe likely to try alternative practices instead of chemicals orpesticides if they were provided with information and tips on how todo so.
Even when applied properly according to manufacturer’s instructions,pesticides can still pose risks. Pesticides sprayed on lawns can driftor runoff and mix with the air, soil or surrounding body of water.Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin; inhaled (breathed intothe lungs); swallowed by eating residues on vegetables and fruit orthrough touching hands to the mouth.
Typical childhood behaviours such as playing on lawns and puttingobjects in their mouths make children especially susceptible topesticide exposure. Residue brought into the home by pets, or fromshoes and clothing is also a concern.
This is why the Canadian Cancer Society is calling for a ban on thecosmetic use of pesticides. We encourage you to join us in asking alllevels of government to implement legislation to reduce or eliminatethe cosmetic use of pesticides. By speaking up and taking action wecan create environments that promote health and prevent cancer fromstarting in the first place.
Jerilynn Kiely, Community Action CoordinatorCanadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon , Interior Region
================================
February 7, 2009
Capital News Kelowna
Dear Editor:
Re: “Sue anti-pesticide politicians: consultant”, Judie Steeves,January 30, 2009
For over seventy years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been thenationally respected and trusted voice on all cancer issues. We fundthe most research, support the most people and fight to prevent alltypes of cancer
Regarding the risk of developing cancer through exposure topesticides, we agree that more research is needed. However, there isenough current scientific evidence to show that precautions should betaken. More and more studies link pesticide exposure to developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, adult and childhood leukemia, brain, kidney,pancreatic, prostate, and some lung cancers. At higher risk are thosewho work with pesticides as part of their job.
We all have a right to know if we are being exposed to cancer-causingsubstances in our communities. The Canadian Cancer Society believesthat it is better to be safe than sorry.
Taking precaution can start with the simple action of eliminating theuse of pesticides to beautify lawns and gardens. The cosmetic, orornamental, use of pesticides has no health benefit but is shown tohave the potential to harm our health and the environment. Why usetoxic chemicals when safer alternatives exist?
Encouragingly, people in cities across BC, including Kelowna , areopen to non-toxic practices. In a recent Ipsos Reid survey, more thaneight in ten of those with a lawn or garden in Kelowna said they wouldbe likely to try alternative practices instead of chemicals orpesticides if they were provided with information and tips on how todo so.
Even when applied properly according to manufacturer’s instructions,pesticides can still pose risks. Pesticides sprayed on lawns can driftor runoff and mix with the air, soil or surrounding body of water.Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin; inhaled (breathed intothe lungs); swallowed by eating residues on vegetables and fruit orthrough touching hands to the mouth.
Typical childhood behaviours such as playing on lawns and puttingobjects in their mouths make children especially susceptible topesticide exposure. Residue brought into the home by pets, or fromshoes and clothing is also a concern.
This is why the Canadian Cancer Society is calling for a ban on thecosmetic use of pesticides. We encourage you to join us in asking alllevels of government to implement legislation to reduce or eliminatethe cosmetic use of pesticides. By speaking up and taking action wecan create environments that promote health and prevent cancer fromstarting in the first place.
Jerilynn Kiely, Community Action Coordinator
Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon , Interior Region
http://www.bclocalnews.com/okanagan_similkameen/kelownacapitalnews/opinion/letters/39264859.html
================================
FEBRUARY 1, 2009
OPINIONTHE OKANAGAN SUNDAYEDITORIAL
Pesticide industry must stop denials
The pesticide industry was fighting back in front of a sympatheticaudience in the Okanagan last week, but it’s still losing ground inthe overall public relations battle.
Speakers at a conference of pesticide applicators criticized the ever-growing number of municipal bylaws limiting pesticide use, includingone taking effect in Kelowna.
In an interview, lobbyist Jeffrey Lowes declared bylaws limitingpesticide use are based more on faith than science.
“Properly used according to the labelling instructions, they are allsafe,” he said.
University of Guelph toxicologist Keith Solomon was to cite scientificstudies at the conference that defend pesticide safety.
Kelowna’s bylaw will bar homeowner use of pesticides on trees, lawns,shrubs and flowers.
Commercial and agricultural applicators will still be allowed to plytheir trade. Fruit and vegetable gardens are also exempted from thebylaw – along with, hypocritically, city lands.
The pro-pesticide folks don’t yet understand why their side is losing.It’s because they’re suffering a credibility problem.
They may be right that pesticides can be used safely, but they don’tseem to respect legitimate concerns raised about their industry.
Right now, some of them sound like the industry-funded lobbyists whoused to deny that cigarette smoking was harmful.
The purpose of pesticides is to kill things – weed, bugs and whateverdetracts from a perfect-looking garden or lawn.
Pesticides are poisons. It’s as simple as that, and it is foolish totry to convince the people that poisons do no harm.
Much pesticide use is for cosmetic purposes only. That’s not a goodreason to put more harmful ingredients into our ecosystem.
Some people need to get over the ideal of having the perfect lawn.
Lowes is surely correct when he says pesticides can be used safely ifyou follow the instructions. That’s not an unreasonable message.
But the industry has to clear away the rest of its verbal garbagebefore people will heed the nuggets that make sense.
It’s about credibility, and the industry will lose on that count aslong as it continues to play the denying game.-- City editor Pat Bulmer
================================Warning Industry Propaganda Below================================
February 8, 2009
KELOWNA DAILY COURIERLETTER TO THE EDITOR
Re: Editorial, “Pesticide industry must stop denials” The OkanaganSunday, Feb. 1
The credibility of our industry is always questioned, as should almostany information presented on ay subject. Media is given license towrite anything unrestricted as the voice of the public psyche. Butwith that license there is the responsibility to be objective.
Had the reporter – or in this case the city editor – reviewed thefacts presented to sway the public perception, they may have been alittle more objective in their writing.
Just as in the cases of newspaper stories that present false medicalreports as fact, or of individuals with delusions of adequacy thatclaimed to be medical doctors, this should not be equated to the lackof competence within the media as a whole.
Although the editor attributes the “verbal garbage” on this issue tous, it actually flows from the annuals of one side. Rat poison is whatit is – a poison – and it is also a pesticide. There are no “natural”products to remove the evasive weeds and insects from our landscape.So, yes, some pesticides are poisons.
What is your point, other than an attempt to disparage the reputationof the lawn and tree care industry? Products used by the industry andin the hands of a professional are safe.The lawn- and tree-care industry has four pillars in their use ofproducts to provide their goods and services. One: the product has tobe registered with Health Canada. Two: the product has to work. Three:the products and methods have to be cost effective. Four: use shouldnot increase their carbon footprint.
Regardless of whether the product is natural or not, science – and notpublic opinion – will dictate what is used.
There is a danger of having public policy based on a belief systemthat is unsupported by fact. The majority once believed that the worldwas flat, that women should not vote, and that the colour of your skindictated your place in society. Had people not questioned theseperceptions, the luddites would be in charge of the world.
Consider this: if unchecked, the municipal politicians will soon bedictating what you can and cannot buy at the supermarket.
Taking a little pride in our properties is a right of expression.Forcing the public to adopt a set of beliefs based on conjecture andhearsay is not right. We will defend our position on behalf of ourindustry and customers.
Letting the facts get in the way of a good story is a right of themedia. The credibility issue depends on the facts.
Jeffrey Lowes,M-REP Communications,Kingston, Ontario
================================
February 6, 2009
PESTICIDE DEBATE
Attack messenger, OK, but not scientific facts
Kelowna Daily Courier: Letter to Editor pg A11
Re: There’s a good reason they’re not believed, letters, Feb 3.
As the director of government and industrial relations, I also holdthe title of principle investigator for MREP Communications.
Because of the findings of experts in the fireld, I have reason toprotest the proclamations of activists. My protests and explanationstake place in committee and council chambers across the country. Mycompany’s mission is to ensure that proper science and not the courtof public opinion governs good environmental stewardship and policydevelopment.
I question the objectivity of the media and the writer and wonder whyall sides of any issue are not subjected to the same scrutiny. Maybethe facts get in the way of a good story.
The lawn care industry has four pollars in their use of porducts toprovide their goods and services. One: the product has to beregistered with Health Canada . Two: the product has to work. Three:the product and methods have to be cost effective. Four: use shouldnot increase their carbon footprint.
I understand why the writer agrees with the information I presented –simple logic. However, the drive-by-smear of the writer – in order tocreate intangible links – is either spin by the activists or anunderlining issue of phobia.
It is healthy to question what was stated. My presentation at theIEPMA Conference in Kelowna on January 29 was open to the public and Ibrought documentation to support all statements made. I cannotunderstand why the writer and the media fail to put the activistsunder the same microscope.
The doctor who appeared in the CHBC News clip about the event (theevening following my presentation) made boilerplate statements such as“there is a large overwhelming body of scientific evidence…” Althoughthe public no doubt perceived the “doctor” as a medical experts, itshould be noted that he holds a PhD in English, not medicine.
As to the “growing body of evidence,” those reports are currently thesubject of a fraud investigation. In the Land of Oz, the activistsdon’t want you to pull back the curtains: you will find smoke, mirrorsand a lot of fertilizer.
You can attack the presenter – that is my job to be out front, and Ihave a thick skin. But I know I have done my job when the attacks areabout me and not the information I presented.
There is a misconception – created by activists, politicos and themedia – that the industry will be complinat and allow accusations andpublic statements to go unchallenged. The industry will provide thevenue (a courtroom) for individuals and organizations to try to provetheir beliefs.
Jeffrey LowesM-REP Communications
================================
January 29, 2009
Kelowna Capital News
Sue anti-pesticide policitians: consultantBy Judie Steeves
The pesticide application industry should sue municipalities,councillors and environmental activists who advocate for, and pass,bylaws restricting the use of pesticides—particularly when suchactions are based on fraudulent information, says an Ontario pesticideproponent.
“Sue council members who say the products you use are detrimental tothe environment or public health,” Jeffery Lowes told members of theIntegrated and Environmental Plant Management Association meeting inKelowna Thursday.
Kelowna council’s new pesticide regulation bylaw is now in effect, butit isn’t a full ban on the use of pesticides, only on the use of themfor cosmetic purposes—except by trained applicators, noted John Vos,general manager for citizen’s services.
Lowes, a consulting investigator who is leading the fight againstpesticide bans in Ontario, told delegates there isn’t anythingconcrete to support activists’ claims that pesticides cause harm tothe environment or public health.
“2,4-D is probably the safest product you have access to,” he told thelandscapers and pesticide applicators.
Most of the bylaws won’t stand up in court, he said. The turfgrassindustry is planning to sue in Ontario, he added.
He also claimed there are no economic benefits to a ban on pesticideuse, but Vos feels Kelowna’s bylaw likely would be of benefit totrained applicators, because it prevents the untrained from applyingthem.
He said he doesn’t think Kelowna’s bylaw is in jeopardy.
Kelowna Coun. Robert Hobson agreed, noting council has the power toregulate pesticides. The new bylaw was the result of interest from thepublic, and it will be enforced by complaints from the public.
The regional district had already made the decision not to usepesticides in its public parks, and council received letters fromdoctors and from Interior Health supporting the new restrictions.
Even the industry is trying to reduce the amount of pesticides thatare applied, by using such alternatives as Integrated Pest Managementor IPM principles, he noted.As a farmer, he said pesticides are one of the most expensive costs ofgrowing, so orchardists are not hesitant to use such alternatives asthe Sterile Insect Release program to reduce their use.
He said he voted in favour of it because of a desire to have lesspesticide use in the community, and also because of a “concern aboutthe way people apply them,” he said.jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com
http://www.bclocalnews.com/okanagan_similkameen/kelownacapitalnews/news/38686854.html
================================
January 31, 2009
Kelowna Capital News
Pesticides are safe if used properly says scientist
By Jennifer Smith
Anything can kill you, it’s the dose that counts, according to KeithSolomon, a toxicologist with the University of Guelph who spoke at theEnvironmental Plant Management Associations’ conference Friday aboutusing pesticides.
On Thursday, during the conference, another speaker, a pesticideadvocate, challenged the industry to sue those who disagree with usingthe products.
By Friday afternoon, the troops were rallying behind the cause withconference conveners encouraging industry professionals not to have aknee-jerk reaction to reports in media that speak out in favour ofKelowna’s cosmetic pesticide ban—particularly if they quote the UBCOEnglish professor (or his wife) who are leading the rally againsttheir cause.
For his part, Solomon encouraged his audience to use the productsjudiciously, as simply any other tool in its arsenal, and tried toprovide some facts for the fight.
“It’s very difficult for the public, for politicians, to differentiatebetween the potential for harm and risk,” he said.
Pound enough sugar, salt or egg white into a body and eventually youwill kill a person, he said. It’s the same principle with thechemicals.
Provided people follow the safety guidelines and use the productssparingly, they offer far more benefits than potential for harm, hesaid.
In Kenya, 70 per cent of the population is involved in foodproduction, whereas only two per cent of North Americans are, saidSolomon, noting that those who criticize these products tend to be theones who benefited the most from their existence.
“In Africa, they’re trying to get more pesticides,” he said.
As someone who tests the products prior to them reaching the market hesaid it’s generally the user, not the product, that causes problems.
In North America, pesticides are directly responsible for onlyhundreds of poisonings versus thousands in the developing world wherethose spraying the products tend not to have the same protective gearand safety standards available to them.
As for Canadian pesticide bans, like the one instituted in Ontario,Solomon encouraged his audience to question the fine print, as itwere, pointing to some obvious flaws in the logic.
In that case, some very toxic insecticides, like pyrethrins, are fullypermitted if they are used for health or safety reasons—like killing awasps’ nest.
Solomon suggested the testing is thorough and so-called cancerepidemics, linked to the products are unrealistic when one considersthat the statistics, don’t reflect an increase in cancers in Canada atall—at least if age and the population increase are factored into theequation.
Pesticides offer a $3 to $4 return on the dollar investment for growers—not much if they are not used sparingly, he said.
“Sometimes you just need that exact socket wrench for that exact sizenut and there’s no other tool in the tool box that will do,” he said.
jsmith@kelownacapnews.comhttp://www.bclocalnews.com/okanagan_similkameen/kelownacapitalnews/news/38760309.html
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

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