Salmon Arm Observer
Rights end where another’s begin
In Grace Edward’s letter last week she wrote about personal choice and
pesticides. She feels that city council has trampled on her rights by
banning the use of cosmetic pesticides.
I am also a professional in the field and am sympathetic with her
position. There is no question that maintaining landscapes without
resorting to pesticides requires more money and more labour. That is
precisely why these chemicals are so often used.
However, I believe she is wrong in suggesting that council has no
business telling her what she can and can not do. As was so clearly
explained by Thomas Paine, your rights end where mine begin. This
simply means that when your actions begin to harm me, then your
personal freedoms must end. It is foolish of her to say pesticides
have no adverse effects on the environment. We probably disagree on
Once again I applaud council on their heroic stand in banning
cosmetic pesticides. Of course, residents and tourists alike want
aesthetically pleasing environments. Perhaps not everyone agrees on
just what this means, but I think that for many, this means landscapes
without 2-4-D, mecoprop, dicamba or even glyphosate.
Instead of being outraged, I think she and other maintenance
companies should use this opportunity to learn to do the work without
using these toxins. And of course, ultimately these extra costs must
be passed on to the customer. If this is really what the public wants
they must be prepared to pay extra for it. I do not think that she and
others should be afraid that her livelihood is in jeopardy.
This is an emotionally charged and complicated issue, but we all must
learn how to protect both personal freedoms and the environment at the
Shuswap Lake General Hospital
Mar 15, 2009
New pesticide law takes effect April 22 — Earth Day
The Ontario government is mandating a greener approach to keeping
lawns and gardens green.
Starting Wednesday, April 22 — Earth Day — the province’s new
pesticide law takes effect and will include a comprehensive list of
harmful and toxic substances banned for use on gardens and lawns.
According to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, the ban allows for
the use of certain lower-risk pesticides for controlling weeds and
pests in lawns and gardens.
The ban prohibits the sale and use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes
on lawns, gardens, parks and schoolyards, and includes many
herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.
More than 250 products will be banned for sale and more than 80
pesticide ingredients will be banned for cosmetic uses.
The announcement will pull more than 250 toxic pesticides off store
shelves by the end of April.
There are exceptions for public health or safety reasons such as
fighting West Nile virus, killing stinging insects like wasps or
controlling poison ivy and other similar plants. Other exceptions
include agriculture and forestry, stated the ministry’s website.
Paul Fiorentino, owner of Jerseyvillebased Creative Organics, which
does work in Burlington, is happy with the changes. He said it's a
“good thing” because residents will be introduced to products that
“work better” than synthetic pesticides.
He said some organic products bind to the soil — allowing valuable
nutrients to remain in the soil and not leach out — and provide long-
lasting protection for grass and plants.
“It affects my business in a positive way,” Fiorentino said.
The sweeping regulations released recently by the environment ministry
have been given the ‘green’ thumbs up by the Registered Nurses’
Association of Ontario (RNAO), as part of a coalition of health and
environmental groups that pushed for fast implementation of the
“The premier and the minister of the environment are to be
congratulated for heeding the call of health and environmental
organizations. Pesticides are poisonous, and children right across the
province will be better protected thanks to this announcement,” RNAO
president Wendy Fucile said in a news release.
There are areas for improvement in the legislation. For instance, golf
courses are exempt from the ban and sale restrictions on certain
products will not take effect for two years, according to the Suzuki
For more information about the pesticide law or to keep lawns and
gardens healthy, visit www.ene.gov.on.ca/en .
— With files from Jason Misner, Post staff
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Palm Beach Post
Did pesticides damage these children?
By CHRISTINE EVANS and JOHN LANTIGUA
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
IMMOKALEE — The children with the medical problems - a malformed ear,
a cleft palate, a brain defect - live tucked away in trailers and
cabins down dusty roads in this poor farming town. Their immigrant
parents do some of the country's hardest and most humble work, picking
tomatoes for a per-bucket price.
They are sometimes called the "invisible people," here one day and
gone with the harvest the next.
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But now that low profile is about to change. Lawyers have filed a trio
of suits claiming the children were born this way because their
parents labored in the fields - and were exposed to toxic pesticides.
"Yes, I blame the pesticides," says one of the mothers, Cristina
Matias, whose 3-year-old son Juan has had multiple surgeries for a
cleft lip and palate. His speech is delayed and, according to the
lawsuit, he has brain damage. "When the tractors passed by to spray,
it was very near. The smell would become strong, and I would vomit. He
has had so many operations already, and the doctors say they will not
leave him alone until he is older. He is very behind mentally, about
one half the level of where he should be."
Nazaria Francisco, whose son Yiovanni, also 3, was diagnosed at birth
with a congenital brain malformation, Dandy Walker Syndrome, said she
sometimes had to reenter freshly sprayed fields when they were still
wet with pesticides. "The smell was strong. My face would itch, and my
And Maria Pedro, whose little girl, Dahlia, was born with a deformed
ear and a defective liver, said she worried about working in the
fields during her pregnancy because she suspected pesticides might
have caused the death of an earlier child, Michael.
"But I didn't know. I only guessed."
"One week after she was born," she said of Dahlia, now 4, "you could
tell she had a problem. She had bleeding from the vagina and mouth."
The three suits, filed in January and February in circuit courts in
Collier and Hillsborough counties, have rekindled an already hot - and
increasingly public - debate about the potential dangers of pesticides
on field workers, particularly pregnant women.
"Quite frankly," says Andy Rackley, a division director for the
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, "there's a
lot we don't know. And that's a concern. If a woman working in the
fields gets pregnant, what is theeffect on her of even the background
use of pesticides? When kids are being born with birth defects, we
need to answer those questions."
While certain pesticides have been linked to deformities in lab-animal
studies, there is no conclusive evidence about what those chemicals,
or mixes of chemicals, might do to humans. A Harvard-trained pesticide
expert, testifying in a related civil suit, referred to the chemicals
a field worker said she was exposed to as a "whole witches' brew of
stuff." Yet other experts will not go so far.
Not much is known yet, either, about the three children - attorneys
are still collecting medical reports - but the new cases follow a high-
profile predecessor: a lawsuit settled last year on behalf of Carlitos
Candelario, a little boy born on Dec. 17, 2004, in this same rural
patch of southwest Florida.
He has a big smile, an upbeat disposition - and no arms or legs at
all, save for a small bit of bone and flesh that hangs from his left
His parents, Francisca Herrera and Abraham Candelario, come from a
remote indigenous mountain pueblo in southern Mexico, and when their
relatives back home saw pictures of Carlitos, his tiny body a perfect
rectangle, his oval face set on top, they wept.
Never, they said, had anybody in their little village been born with
so much as a missing finger.
In the seven weeks after Carlitos' birth, two other deformed babies
were born to field workers here: One had an underdeveloped jaw and a
high, arched palate that makes swallowing difficult. He survived. The
other was born with multiple deformities, including a cleft lip and
palate, low-set ears and ambiguous gender (her parents renamed her
Violeta after doctors declared her a girl). She died three days later.
Los tres ninos, people called them. The three kids.
And now, there are six.
"Listen, I've got grandkids, and my heart goes out to anyone that has
family members who have to deal with these challenges," says Billy
Heller, the CEO of Pacific Tomato, which is named in two of the suits.
He says he could not imagine that any worker had been sprayed with
pesticides in his fields and that the company takes "very seriously"
the label instructions.
"These people are family," he says of the workers. "It's very, very
discomforting personally to have anyone think we would do anything to
contribute to this kind of thing. That's not who we are."
For Plant City-based Ag-Mart, the first set of babies proved a public
relations nightmare - several large chains, including Publix,
temporarily pulled the company's Santa Sweets grape tomatoes from the
shelves- and a medical mystery that changed the way the company did
In October 2005, after the three babies were born, Ag-Mart president
Don Long announced he would stop using five of the six chemicals that
have been linked to birth defects in lab animals, a ban that company
lawyers say continues today.
"Nazaria Francisco currently works for us and has worked for us as far
back as 2005," says Ag-Mart attorney John O'Riordan. "The very first
we heard of her having any problem, or of her baby having any problem,
was with this lawsuit. We're very concerned about her, and we're
looking into the circumstances right now."
It appears, he adds, that this new suit is an "offshoot" of the
Carlitos case, and that Francisco, who gave birth to Yiovanni in
February 2006, worked in the fields about the time Ag-Mart was
changing its practices.
"One thing that jumps out is she straddles a time period when we
stopped using these chemicals."
Ag-Mart has faced numerous pesticide-related violations in the past
four years; investigators from three states swooped in after the first
three deformed babies were born to company workers. But a bulk of the
charges and fines in Florida and North Carolina were reduced because
vague record keeping precluded a firm ruling on which workers might
have been exposed to freshly sprayed fields.
That wouldn't be the case, maintains attorney Andy Yaffa, who
represented Carlitos and is handling the new suits, if Florida did a
better job monitoring pesticide use. The Department of Agriculture is
notoriously understaffed when it comes to inspectors, a situation it
is trying to remedy.
"You had the same inspectors doing field checks that were doing
carnival ride checks," says Yaffa. "It's ridiculous."
The other day, as the mothers in the new cases swept their trailers
clean in this tiny tomato town, the boy with no arms and legs went as
usual to his aftercare program.
Carlitos Candelario is 4 now and utterly unaware of the legal and
scientific controversy that swirls around him: Was he born this way
because his mother was exposed to pesticides in the fields?
On a Monday afternoon, he sat at the head of a long table with all the
other children. His chair was just a bit lower than everybody else's,
and when the time came to clean up after his snack, he wiped his place
clean by pressing his teasing shadow of an arm to a napkin and then
rubbing the napkin on the table.
It was a painstaking enterprise, but Carlitos did not seem to mind.
"He's a very, very happy boy," his teacher says. "Isn't that amazing?"
And now, he's a big brother.
In January, his parents had a new baby, a boy named Alex, born
perfectly healthy, his mother reports, adding that, during this
pregnancy, she did not work in the fields.
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
March 10, 2009
Salmon Arm Observer
City pesticide brochure misleading
On Feb. 10, the City of Salmon Arm adopted a bylaw that will prohibit
“cosmetic pesticides” for private lands as of March 1, 2010. One
councillor has stated… “I don’t want this stuff used in Salmon Arm. I
don’t like it.”
From our point of view, the public is being led to believe that
conventional herbicides are nefarious, and the alternatives are so
much better. For example, we have carefully reviewed a brochure
“Eleven Easy Steps to a Pesticide-Free Yard,” which was issued by
Salmon Arm. It is obvious that the information contained in this
brochure is ineffective, misleading, incorrect and even dangerous.
Here are some interesting excerpts, with our personal commentary:
“(For dandelions) – dig out the entire root.” A totally ineffective
method of controlling weeds. There will always remain even the
smallest root fragment to regrow.
“A pesticide-free lawn will encourage earthworms.” Misleading.
Conventional lawn care products will not affect earthworm populations.
“A thick lawn will crowd out weeds.” Incorrect. Once weeds are
established, they will not leave, except with the use of herbicide.
“Applying (acetic acid) gradually eliminates dandelions by weakening
the roots.” Incorrect. Dandelions will return over and over again.
Acetic acid will need to be applied several times to obtain some weed
control, whereas a conventional herbicide will need to be applied only
once or twice per year. Moreover, acetic acid is a danger to all
vegetation since it will destroy desirable turf as well as weeds. It
also represents a danger to people because it is a skin irritant, and
it is corrosive to the eyes. Therefore, this product may be deemed as
a dubious lower-risk green alternative to conventional turf
“Healthy lawns (…) will out-compete weeds.” Incorrect. Healthy lawns
will suppress some weeds, but herbicides are still needed for complete
control. Suppression is not the same as control.
“Mow high to discourage weeds.” Mowing high will only suppress weed
invasion, and herbicide will still be necessary for control.
“Pour boiling water on weeds.” Dangerous. This suggestion represents a
danger to the person carrying and applying boiling water.
William H. Gathercole,
columnist for TURF & Recreation Magazine
Gary VanderHeide. PIRC Chair OIPMA Executive Director.
Ontario Integrated Pest Management Association (OIPMA) & Pesticide
Industry Regulatory Council
John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment
Hon. John Gerretsen
McGuinty Government Approved Red Tape Pesticide Ban Sends Signal
Ontario Closed For Business Investments and Jobs.
Thousands of skilled 'Landscape' license holders and technician jobs
will be lost as a result of a red tape pesticide ban based on
politics, not scientific criteria. The McGuinty government must take
full responsible that its new red tape regulations will force hundreds
of more small family licensed lawn care companies out of business and
into bankrptcy in the coming years, said Gary VanderHeide.
Read these important changes from MOE Minister Gereetsen
MOE must restore scientific criteria to its classification system.
March 4, 2009
Adopting the PIRC recommendation that 'Landscape' pesticides that
havie an oral LD 50 of 5,000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight
or greater shall be exempted from the Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act 2008"
alone makes sense from a health and safety, and economic
Ontario cannot afford the loss of thousands of skilled 'Landsc.ape'
applicator jobs or viable small business licensed lawn care companies
being forced into bankruptcy as a result of bad environmental
regulations. The public rightfully expect to be told the truth about
the efficacy of products.
Gideon Forman (CAPE)
March 3, 2009
Anti-pesticide activisits and Gideon Forman are referenced in the
Toronto Star stating that the Liberal Government will release
tommorrow, (March 4, 2009) Cabinet approval of a list of banned
pesticides. No notification was given to the industry or PIRC further
evidences in our minds that the McGuinty government does not consult
with the licensed industry or Ontario's business sector that faces
thousands of job loses and billions in potential loses and
bankruptcies. (see Jan 9, 2009 coalition letter)
Ontario Premier McGuinty
March 2, 2009:
PIRC provides a cost effective scientific criteria solution to the
Liberal government. This to save thousands of skilled "Landscape"
license jobs and former viable small business licensed lawn care
companies from being forced into bankruptcy by his red tape "cosmetic
pesticide" regulations in the worst economic times.
Read this important letter from your council to the Government
Photo of Helena Jaczek
Dr. Helena Jaczek MD Parliamentary Assistant
Minister of Health
Dr.Helena Jazek , Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health
puts scientific criteria first. in her letter to the vHon. John
Gerretsen, asking for 2, 4-D and Merit reconsideration in light of
Health Canada's 'safe for Canadians use' re-evaluation findings.
Dr.Jaczek's letter resulted after a meeting with one of our members.
Photo of Steve Peters
Hon. Steve Peters
PIRC / OIPMA / IPM-EHC Council see Hon. Steve Peters, MPP for help to
stop the loss of thousands of Skilled MOE 'Landscape' Licensed Jobs
that will be axed by the MOE proposed pesticide regulation changes.
on Friday 27, 2009. Discussed also are the facts that the pesticide
products proposed exempted by the McGuinty government are known not to
work or marginally at best by the government