Pesticide ban great news for Ontarians' health
I applaud the Ontario government for leading the ban with the best
legislation when it comes to cosmetic pesticide use. This law is the
most health protective in North America.The list of banned pesticides
trumps the old model of Quebec's 20 banned pesticides with one almost
five times that number. Even 2,4-D makes the list.
Knowing that scientific research has shown that pesticides are linked
to cancer, neurological illnesses and birth defects, with children
especially vulnerable, I applaud this more stringent piece of
This spring, we will not have to worry about our children stepping
outdoors to play and being blasted by toxins for the sake of a green
lawn. In truth, our lawns will be greener with the absence of these
The Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act is a good step in the ongoing cancer
Most people know diet and exercise alone will not prevent cancer. We
must rid our planet of toxins that are known carcinogens. Hopefully,
we will be reading about more stringent guidelines when it comes to
things such as asbestos and bisphenyol A, etc. Until then, at least
Ontarians can go outside this spring and breathe a little easier when
it comes to pesticide use.
Prevent Cancer Now
© The Windsor Star 2009
Young councillors more open to green ideas: Turner
By Colleen Kimmett March 9, 2009 05:07 pm
You could practically hear the whimpers of desire from delegates when
keynote speaker Chris Turner delivered his address at the Columbia
Institute's conference on sustainable communities, From the Ground Up,
He flipped through photos of stylish, uber-efficient apartment
buildings in Germany and sheep grazing alongside solar panel arrays in
Denmark. To municipal leaders and community activists here in British
Columbia, for whom enacting a pesticide ban can prove to be an onerous
and politically risky task, it's enviable stuff.
Enviable, but not optional, said Turner.
"Climate change is not an issue the way other environmental issues
are," he told delegates. "It's the sea in which all issues swim. We
need to re-calibrate our collective way of talking about it."
However, in a conversation with The Tyee, he warned against trying to
import ready-made solutions, be they solar panels or sheep, from
"Really, all you want to import are a couple of basic principals," he
said. "The traditional approach in Canada is to figure out a thing we
need to do then build the political capital we need to do it. We
should build the people power first, then figure out what needs to be
He pointed to the 1,000 Friends of Oregon as an example of effective
people-powered movement, and said that getting more young people
involved in municipal politics is "hugely important" to advancing
"There is something to be said for leadership and experience," he
said. "But in my experience, the younger you are, the more fully your
life has been lived in the shadow of the climate problem and related
environmental problems. They already get it. You can get past a lot of
Silas White was just 27 when he was first elected as a Sunshine Coast
school board trustee, the youngest of his peers by at least 13 years.
Now 31 and serving his second term, he said it seems more elected
official on the Sunshine Coast are younger -- and he thinks that's a
In terms of sustainability, youth "seem to instinctively understand
it," he said. "It's the world they've been brought up in. Learning is
required for older generations that we take for granted."
Sarah Blyth, elected to the Vancouver parks board in the last
election, advocated for skateboarders' rights for a decade in this
city before running for office.
"One of the main reasons I ran was because I felt that we needed more
of a youth voice in Vancouver. With our parks and recreation, I see a
lot of stuff for little children but not enough for young people.
Getting young people active is key to having a healthy city."
* Municipal Politics
March 10, 2009
Obama Puts His Own Spin on Mix of Science With Politics
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s directive on Monday to “guarantee
scientific integrity” in federal policy making could have a far-
reaching impact, affecting issues as varied as climate change,
national security, protection of endangered species and children’s
But it will not divorce science from politics, or strip ideology from
Mr. Obama delighted many scientists and patients by formally
announcing that he was overturning the Bush administration’s limits on
embryonic stem cell research. But the president also went one step
further, issuing a memorandum that sets forth broad parameters for how
his administration would choose expert advisers and use scientific
The document orders Mr. Obama’s top science adviser to help draft
guidelines that will apply to every federal agency. Agencies will be
expected to pick science advisers based on expertise, not political
ideology, the memorandum said, and will offer whistle-blower
protections to employees who expose the misuse or suppression of
The idea, the president said in remarks before an audience of
lawmakers, scientists, patients advocates and patients in the East
Room, is to ensure that “we make scientific decisions based on facts,
not ideology”: a line that drew more applause than any other. Irv
Weissman, who directs an institute at Stanford University devoted to
studying stem cells, called the declaration “of even greater
importance” than the stem cell announcement itself.
It was also another in a long string of rebukes by Mr. Obama toward
his predecessor, President George W. Bush. Mr. Bush was often accused
of trying to shade or even suppress the findings of government
scientists on climate change, sex education, contraceptives and other
issues, as well as stem cells. But Mr. Obama’s announcement does not
elevate science to some new and exalted place in his administration.
“Scientists should have no illusions about whether they make policy —
they don’t,” said Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-
Kettering Cancer Center and co-chairman of a panel that advises Mr.
Obama on science matters.
The directive, Dr. Varmus said, was simply intended “to provide the
best available scientific information” to those who make policy
Scientists said they were thrilled by the announcement, as were
advocates for patients, including Nancy Reagan, the former first lady
who has made embryonic stem cell research a personal cause.
Mr. Obama said in his Inaugural Address that he intended to “restore
science to its rightful place,” and researchers said he had already
made good on that promise by naming Nobel laureates like Dr. Varmus
and Steven Chu, the energy secretary, to advise him.
“We’re not dumb — we know that policy is made on the basis of facts
and values,” said Alan I. Lesher, chief executive of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science and a former director of
the National Institute on Drug Abuse under President Bill Clinton and,
briefly, Mr. Bush.
But by asserting “the centrality of science to every issue of modern
life,” Dr. Lesher said, Mr. Obama is suggesting that science rather
than ideology will be the foundation for his decision making. “What
you are seeing now is both a response to the last eight years, and a
genuine reaction to President Obama’s enthusiasm for science,” he
During the Bush years, Congressional Democrats and scientists
themselves issued report after report asserting that the White House
had distorted or suppressed scientific information: including efforts
to strip information about condoms from a government Web site and the
editing of air quality reports issued by the Environmental Protection
The Union of Concerned Scientists, for example, maintains an “A to Z”
list on its Web site of “case studies” in what it calls the
politicization of science under Mr. Bush, like his decision to devote
federal money to programs promoting abstinence education despite
studies showing that such programs have limited effectiveness.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform spent 16 months
examining the Bush administration’s use of scientific data on climate
change; it issued a lengthy report in 2007 documenting “a systematic
White House effort to censor climate scientists by controlling their
access to the press and editing testimony to Congress.” Representative
Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, who led the committee at the
time, said Monday that Mr. Bush had “exhibited a willingness to
undermine science in order to further a conservative agenda.”
But Mr. Bush’s defenders see Mr. Obama as just imposing an ideology of
his own. They say Mr. Bush did not ignore scientific facts; rather, he
took the counsel of scientists and used it to make a policy
determination that reflected his values, just as Mr. Obama is doing in
lifting Mr. Bush’s restrictions on stem cell research.
“Those who suggest that the Bush administration did not rigorously
apply science are themselves ignoring the facts,” said Karl Rove, the
former president’s political strategist.
Mr. Rove called Mr. Obama’s declaration on restoring scientific
integrity “simply hyperbole and hyperventilation,” and he disputed Mr.
Waxman’s accusation on climate change, saying the Bush White House
“put more money into global climate research than any administration
in history, by a significant factor.”
In the end, said Ed Gillespie, the former counselor to Mr. Bush, all
administrations use science in service of a political agenda.
“Administrations come into office with a point of view,” Mr. Gillespie
said. “The people in office tend to highlight those facts that support
their point of view — not because they’re quashing dissent or not
being scientific, but because this is what helps inform their
thinking. A lot of scientific data can’t be refuted, but a lot of
science is subjective. And even irrefutable science can be value-
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
March 10, 2009
I know who I trust to protect my health
Dear Editor - Re: "Who do you trust to protect your health? (letter,
Gideon Forman, executive director of the Canadian Association of
Physicians for the Environment, seems to have some of his facts wrong.
Let me help him out.
1. I am not connected to anyone in the pesticide industry. I am a
retired secretary and a gardener. I do have access to unbiased and
broad science in relation to the subject, including landmark studies
out of the University of Guelph in 1984 where extensive research was
done relating to exposure to 2,4-D. Interesting that the Ontario
College of Family Physicians study only went back as far as 1991 and
focused only on epidemiology, omitting all the other data about these
compounds. Perish the thought that they should have to deal with
credible, repeatable science that does not support their theory.
2. The URLs I referred you to in my letter ("Pesticide review lacking
credibility, Feb. 28) basically both said that the review was biased
and the science had been selectively chosen to support the College of
Family Physicians' theory. The review also acknowledged names of
reviewers, one a respected scientist who had never seen the report
before it was published. How many other inaccuracies are there in the
3. Considering the Canadian Cancer Society, by their own admission,
have used the same review as the basis for their support, I wouldn't
have much faith in them either. The Canadian Cancer Society
wholeheartedly supports the science that connects smoking to lung
cancer but not the science that there is no connection between
pesticides and cancer. The same scientist, Sir Richard Doll, is
involved in both findings. It is called "cherry-picking."
4. The Ontario position is nonsensical. The alternatives to federally
approved pesticides allowed in Ontario range from fatty acids --
lethal to frogs -- to removing pests by hand. How are we to
effectively treat blight on our tomatoes by hand? Are we going to be
up 24/7 picking tomato horn worms off our plants?
5. Who do I trust? The thousands of experts who work for Health
Canada, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health
Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer to
name a few. Just as I would not go to a plumber for kidney surgery, I
would not go to a medical doctor (with minimal toxicology training) to
assess pesticides, and most certainly not a philosopher such as Gideon
-- Sandra Solomon, RR 1, Puslinch
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Ban based on politics, not science, say pesticide companies
Representatives of companies that manufacture lawn chemicals are
expressing their displeasure at P.E.I.'s announcement that it is
banning cosmetic pesticides.
'People want to protect their homes.'— Shannon Coombs, Canadian
Consumer Specialty Products Association
The groups made presentations to the legislative committee that looked
into the issue, but were surprised to hear Monday the Island intends
to go ahead with a ban in 2010. Shannon Coombs, president of the
Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association, told CBC News the
province should focus on education instead of preventing people from
buying the products.
"Taking a ban approach is not the way to go with respect to these
products, because they do provide benefits," said Coombs.
"People want to protect their homes from insects, from crab grass and
noxious weeds and things like that and they should have the right to
Not a 'popularity contest'
Environment Minister Richard Brown believes most Islanders agree with
the idea of a ban, and that eliminating pesticides used on lawns will
help protect the drinking water.
Lorne Hepworth, president of Croplife — another national group that
represents pesticide manufacturers — said all pesticides are
registered by Health Canada, and are safe if used properly.
"Leading a province and a country, you know this is not some kind of
popularity contest when it comes to ensuring the public safety and
ensuring that the environment is safeguarded," said Hepworth.
"The day that we start abdicating, and delegating and relegating to
political whimsy and polling and fear-mongering and uninformed and
misinformed public policy, I think it's a sad day for all of us here
in Canada, and particularly Prince Edward Island."
Both groups say they will be talking to government about the ban in
the coming days to try to convince the province that it isn't the way
Monday March 9 2009
City prepares for more complaints, weeds this year
By PAM DOUGLAS
Forget the ox, 2009 could turn into the Year of the Weed in Brampton
as the province's pesticide ban kicks in and forces the city to look
to alternatives for boulevard, park and sports field maintenance.
The city's parks staff has already warned councillors it expects weeds
and complaints about weeds to both be more abundant this year.
"In 2009, the first year of the ban, the public can expect visible
changes to boulevards, parks and other open spaces maintained by the
City of Brampton," according to a report to Committee of Council last
"More weeds and increased complaints may be expected the first year
the ban is in effect," warns the report, written by Lorrie O'Brien,
the city's director of parks maintenance and operations.
Unlike some municipalities, Brampton never did ban pesticides, but the
city has, since 2002, formally laid out in a policy all it does to
minimize its use of pesticides through landscape design, horticultural
practices and the use of alternative methods of weed and pest control.
The alternatives used by the city have included "intensive" mulching
of shrub beds, high pressure water spray or steam for spot weed
killing, biological insecticides and insecticidal soaps.
Still, the city's shrub beds are doused twice a year with an all-
purpose herbicide, and the city has four "spray crews" with a total of
12 staff who spray weeds at fence lines, curbs, medians and
guardrails. The city's gardens, parks, sports fields and boulevards
are all treated with pesticides.
"The pesticides ban will require profoundly different maintenance
practices," according to O'Brien's report.
City staff anticipate the alternatives will come with higher labour
and material costs. The city is working on a multi-year program for
the design and maintenance of city land without pesticides.
One exception to the ban is for sports fields, but it is very narrow.
It allows pesticide use only on fields to be used for a national or
international sporting event, specifically in preparing for the event,
according to the city. Provincial approval must sought six months in
advance. Once the event is over, though, pesticide use would be once
"Sports field design and operation are an important aspect of city
operations that will undergo change as the city complies with the new
legislation," O'Brien wrote in the report.
Golf courses meeting Integrated Pest Management requirements are
exempt from the ban, and the city-owned Peel Village Golf Course
For this year, the money and staff normally allotted to spray work
will be used for alternatives, such as hand pulling and trimming,
according to the report.
The city is also setting up a specialized Plant Health Care Team to
inspect and monitor grass cutting, recommend changes to turf
management and maintain irrigation systems.
The city hopes to get some help from residents and has already
contacted the Brampton Sports Alliance about the impact and what local
sports groups can do to help.
The city also plans a series of spring workshops to teach residents
how to maintain their own properties chemical-free. Dates have not yet
March 9, 2009
The Kelowna Daily Courier
Letter: Critics making unsubstantiated claims
Re: All pesticides are poisonous, Feb. 19: There are misunderstandings
fuelled by individuals like K. Jean Cottam. These individuals
sometimes present themselves as doctors and reference...
....full letter not available online...
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