Friday, July 8, 2011

(Local) Pesticides decision expected soon; All sides being considered, minister says

July 6, 2011

The St. John's Telegram

Pesticides decision expected soon
All sides being considered, minister says

by Deana Stokes Sullivan
dss@thetelegram.com

Environment Minister Ross Wiseman said Tuesday he anticipates a decision soon on pesticide use. On Monday, the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides renewed its call to ban their cosmetic use. Environment Minister Ross Wiseman said Tuesday he anticipates a decision soon on pesticide use in the province.

On Monday, the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides renewed its call to the provincial government to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides, including 2,4-D, a common herbicide used to kill weeds in lawns.

The group noted that former environment minister Charlene Johnson told The Telegram last year the issue was getting high priority in her department, but government was waiting to hear the outcome of a court case in which a Canadian ban was being challenged.

The coalition said that case was settled recently with the province of Quebec being allowed to uphold its 2003 cosmetic pesticide ban.

The coalition is now urging Environment Minister Ross Wiseman to take action to protect the health and safety of adults, children and pets. “I appreciate the opinion of the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides Newfoundland and Labrador regarding the timelines surrounding the decision on pesticides,” Wiseman said Tuesday in an email from his communications director. “However, there is a significant amount of information from all sides and interests in the pesticides argument, and due diligence has to be done. It is anticipated that a decision will be forthcoming in the near future.”

Dr. Ian Simpson, a semi-retired physician on the province’s west coast and co-chairman of the coalition, said Monday he’s worried about the effects of pesticides, especially on pregnant women and children. He referenced a situation in the 1970s where six pregnant women all had stillborn babies after being covered with pesticide sprayed on a powerline by a plane when they were picking berries in Pasadena. The women were from various regions of the province.

Sheilagh O’Leary, a St. John’s city councillor and co-chairwoman of the coalition, also hopes the province will take action on the issue this year.

O’Leary said the city hasn’t used pesticides in its parks since 1992 and encourages residents to refrain from using pesticides and herbicides on their properties.

All councillors except Coun. Wally Collins have spoken out in favour of a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides and the provincial federation of municipalities has also passed resolutions to this effect.

“We’re really hoping the minister will come on board,” O’Leary said.

She believes the message against pesticide use is causing people to look for safer alternatives. In some areas, she said, it seems pesticide use has been reduced in recent years.

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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

My Past Articles

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Above Articles available through Trancontinental Newsnet

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