Friday, July 15, 2011

Not OK to spray - The St. John’s Telegram

July 15, 2011

The St. John’s Telegram ()

BY BARB SWEET

Not OK to spray
Ban on cosmetic lawn pesticides comes into effect in 2012

Cosmetic pesticides for lawns will be banned from sale and use beginning in lawn care season 2012, Environment and Conservation Minister Ross Wiseman announced Thursday.

Wiseman defended the decision as “due diligence” and not a pre-election ploy.

“Does government decide to stop governing at some time prior to the election?” he asked reporters when quizzed about the timing a few months before the October election.

“Government still has a responsibility to the people of the province to do what’s right. We don’t delay announcements because we have an election impending.”

Sheilagh O’Leary of the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides in Newfoundland and Labrador (CAP-NL) said she was ecstatic.

Also a St. John’s city councillor, O’Leary said the ban has been the subject of a lobby and numerous petitions for more than a decade. “Just like we see across the country, people are going to be protected in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador from the use of non-essential pesticides, so I think it’s a wonderful announcement — a great thing for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador,” O’Leary said.

“Yes it’s been a long effort, but you know what? It’s been worth it.”

Once in effect, the following pesticides will no longer be permitted for application on lawns in the province: carbaryl, 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), mecoprop, dicamba, and MCPA (2-methyl-4chlorophenoxyacetic acid).

The ban does not affect non-cosmetic pesticide uses, including golf courses, agriculture and forestry use and road and infrastructure maintenance. Wiseman said people choose to play golf and the other uses are necessary.

Asked if the ban went far enough, O’Leary said it met the coalition’s aim and she wasn’t going to personally comment on the merits of pesticide use on crops and golf courses.

Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador president Harry Hallett said in a news release protection of human health and the environment is a priority for municipal councils. The association approved a resolution from Mount Pearl in 2009, but municipalities couldn’t stop the pesticide use, he said.

Opposition Leader Yvonne Jones congratulated CAP-NL for convincing the Premier Kathy Dunderdale government to finally ban the use of cosmetic pesticides.

“The use of pesticides for cosmetic reasons poses health risks to the public, particularly children, and I am relieved today that the Dunderdale government finally sees the light on this important issue,” Jones said.

The New Democrats got behind the ban in 2007, said NDP Leader Lorraine Michael.

“There is evidence that cancer, reproductive issues, allergic reactions and neurological disorders are demonstrated health effects of pesticide exposure,” she said.

The Canadian Cancer Society used its Relay for Life campaign to collect signatures supporting a ban.

“We’re very happy,” said Matthew Piercey, executive director of the society's Newfoundland and Labrador’s division.

Wiseman said there would be no compensation for lawn care companies. He acknowledged some might see their businesses affected, but said he expected them to try to change or diversify their services.

He said homeowners can pursue other solutions for lawn maintenance approved by Health Canada, including insecticidal soaps to control chinch bugs, corn gluten meal, Fiesta (an iron-based product to control dandelions) and acetic acid to control other weeds.

Wiseman also said lawns in new subdivisions could be better designed to include more than just a few inches of topsoil.

To enforce compliance, he said, there will be increased inspections of pesticide storage and treatment areas to ensure companies are using products that have been approved for use in the province.

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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory

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