Here we go again,
Another season of pesticide misuse in this province. I have been trying all week to speak with environment minister Johnson to no avail. Which does not surprise me much, as the many years of pesticide misuse that I have been recording has been falling on deaf ears at the cost of our citizen’s heath.
Just today I received information from a young man. While he was entering his work place he noticed a man spraying something, he approached the applicator and was assured that the pesticide in question was “safe enough to eat”. No notification was given to the employees, the wind speeds were too high to apply pesticides and the reckless comment given are all illegal under federal and provincial pesticide rules. The young man figured it must have been some natural treatment and asked me if Par III was safe.
The applicator himself oblivious to the dangers of this pesticide should require immediate retraining as he may succumb to the harmful effects of Par III.
PAR III is a mixture of toxic synthetic herbicides used by lawn pesticide application companies attempting to suppress or kill broadleaf weeds. It contains the toxic ingredients 2,4-D, Mecoprop and Dicamba. PAR III also includes "inert" formulants, and may include some which are deemed likely carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
2,4-D, was recently found to be persuasively linked to cancers, neurological diseases and reproductive problems (Sears et al., Paediatrics and Child Health, April 2006) (source). Since then, very recent research greatly strengthened the scientific links between non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and 2,4-D.
By nature of the way the herbicides are synthesised, they are inevitably contaminated with chlorinated dioxins. These persistent, bioaccumulative toxic substances are passed onto the next generation, and are linked to cancers, particularly non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and to reproductive, immunological and neurological problems. The dioxins that are known to contaminate 2,4-D should be at least measured and the toxicities of those dioxins should be tested. This hasn't been done. No dioxin analyses were submitted in support of the PMRA's re-registration of 2,4-D.
"2,4-D is far from safe. It can affect women's ability to bear healthy children, and epidemiological studies show strong links between use of 2,4-D products and cancer," noted Dr. Susan Kegley, Senior Scientist at PAN. (source)
These are just a few of the dangers associated with Par III. “safe enough to eat” is not only an asinine statement, it is downright dangerous and libelous.
Yet another season of senseless poisoning of our environment, already I have heard from a lady who has complained for two years about not being notified of pesticide applications, notification is a provincial rule, yet the province has done nothing to enforce these rules, so at this point she has given up complaining.
A few years back, the NL Department of Environment and Conservation ditched a pesticide regulation without public consultation. Thus removing what little public protection we have by catering to lawn care companies at the cost of public health.
One of the regulations which were brought into effect a few years ago was Public Notification. Public Notification offered a small amount of protection to Newfoundland & Labrador citizens giving neighbors of pesticide spray sites time to either evacuate or to close all windows, turn off the heat recovery & ventilation units in their home, take in clothing from the line as well as children's toys and not allow children or pets to play in the area in order to help reduce the risk of exposure.
The department reduced Public Notification in the Pesticide Operators Licence from 50m to 15m based on industry recommendation. When Clyde Jackman (the minister at the time) was questioned by CBC he stated that the reduced protection was to “ensure that the neighbors do have notification”.
Last year on October 16th 2008, after this statement by the minister of environment, a company sprayed pesticides within 15 meters of my home and I was not notified. So tell me, how does reducing protection ensure notification? I complained to the department and received this response,
I was talking to the company. They informed me that a spot application of Tri-Kill (PCP# 19400) had taken place. Due to a misunderstanding the applicator called the wrong person prior to the application, when they were supposed to call you. I will be coming down to take a measurement of the distance between your property and the property that was treated. After that a decision will be made on how we are going to proceed.”
The department came on site agreed that the property had no signs of needing any application of pesticides and measured the distance from my property and took a lengthy witness statement from me. None of the other neighbors within 15 meters were notified either.
I have yet to receive any official response on how the department had proceeded with the violation but a verbal telephone conversation with the control officer has lead me to believe that because the company did not intentionally break the rules, then there is not much the department will do.
A rule is there for public safety and it is not being enforced. I am sure I could not get away with speeding by making the statement “I didn’t intentionally speed officer, sorry I forgot”.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Our province is still allowing people to unduly suffer from the effects of pesticides. They are unable to control companies breaking the rules and contamination of our air, our water and our children.
The provinces of