NDP to introduce bill proposing cosmetic pesticides ban in B.C.

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      B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix will introduce a bill in the B.C. legislature Thursday calling for a ban on cosmetic pesticides.

      This is the third time the NDP will introduce legislation proposing a toxic pesticides ban, according to Dix, who held a press conference in a Kitsilano park today (May 4) to announce the bill.

      “We introduced this legislation a number of years ago first, and then again last year on Earth Day,” said Dix.

      “The government has failed to respond again and again and again, while other jurisdictions, such as Quebec, such as Ontario, have acted, our government has failed to act.”

      Dix said a ban on cosmetic pesticides has been supported by municipalities across B.C., and by the Canadian Cancer Society.

      “It supports I think the view of the community that the environment should come first, and that’s true in urban British Columbia, as it is in rural British Columbia,” said Dix. “I think it’s a necessary piece of legislation at a time when the environmental health threats grow in our society.”

      NDP environment critic Rob Fleming noted that Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia have provincial laws banning the use of cosmetic pesticides.

      “Bylaws restricting pesticides like the City of Vancouver has are not effective to restrict the retail sale and use of pesticides and keep them from getting into our environment and keep them away from our children in our environment,” said Fleming.

      Carolyn Gotay, a UBC professor and Canadian Cancer Society Chair in cancer primary prevention, sent a letter to all B.C. MLAs last year outlining the potential health risks associated with cosmetic pesticides.

      Gotay hopes to see a ban on pesticides in B.C. similar to the legislated bans in other provinces.

      “I think it would be great,” she told the Straight in a phone interview. “It’s surprising to me that BC, which has quite a high priority placed on the environment and the importance of the environment, hasn’t enacted a ban at this point.”

      Gotay said that while medical evidence is “imperfect,” there are suggestions that cosmetic pesticides are linked to an increased probability of cancers.

      She noted that studies conducted with people who handle pesticides more frequently, such as farmers, show there are increased rates of different types of cancer, such as lymphoma.

      Research conducted in Europe shows a decrease in lymphoma rates in countries that introduced a ban on cosmetic pesticides, she said.

      “There’s a lot of suggested evidence that probably it does relate to increased cancer rates, and there’s nothing on the other side that says that there is a need for these cosmetic pesticides,” said Gotay.

      “Given that there are alternatives, then it seems like why not err on the side of caution. We might as well take an approach to protect our health.”




      May 4, 2011 at 6:57pm

      The Liberals have done virtually nothing but delay & delay on a Pesticide ban for years.


      May 4, 2011 at 8:54pm

      Does anyone remember when it was so bad in the spring of the year you couldn't go outside in the evenings because mosquitoes were so bad and your whole street had smugges burning to try and keep them away. It wasn't much fun until DDT came along and the stuff they have now is a lot safer than that if use properly.

      douglas peter

      May 4, 2011 at 10:23pm

      This is really embarrassing to be living in a supposedly GREEN province & we are lagging behind Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Even the City of Vancouver, Richmond, & Delta have banned cosmetic pesticides - & the Liberals want to continue to study & avoid the issue. Are they that much in the pockets of the chemical industry? VERY SCAREY STUFF!


      May 4, 2011 at 10:28pm

      Yeah, there are homes in our neighbourhood who have elected for alternatives to using cosmetic pesticides. Since they cannot use pesticides, they've replaced their lawns with fields of rocks. That's a green solution for you.

      Taxpayers R Us

      May 4, 2011 at 11:20pm

      Ahhh back to hard-left politics: Don't like something?? Ban it!

      Ban smoking on sidewalks and in parks! Ban bonfires on the beach! Ban wood-burning fireplaces! Ban left turns across bike lanes! Ban right turns across bike lanes! Oh screw it, ban cars! Ban Stanley Park petting zoos! Ban debate on high-rise development! Ban opposing views in general! Ban Olympics on stolen native land! What? There was a question about something? Don't care - ban it on principle!

      You get my drift.


      May 5, 2011 at 1:56am

      And then there`s the right-wingers: ban freedom of speech, ban the right to protest, ban women`s rights and abortion.... la la la. If you want to play with mud, let`s mudwrestle IRL.

      But back to the point, because there was a point there before you needlessly derailed a perfectly good discussion....
      Speaking as a chemist, pesticides are some of the most toxic chemicals we could possibly have around. They are meant to kill things and we willingly go around spraying them in our air, water, and on our food. There are far more dangerous chemicals in existence, yes, but on a day-to-day basis we will never face being exposed to them.
      As a society we probably wouldn`t be able to feed ourselves anymore without the use of pesticides and fungicides (Great Famine, for one example), but to add even more for cosmetic reasons is unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

      And one last thing: you`ll notice that the rural ridings, which pretty much all voted in Conservative MPs, are also taken into account:
      “It supports I think the view of the community that the environment should come first, and that’s true in urban British Columbia, as it is in rural British Columbia,”
      So don`t just rush to conclusions. If concern about my health makes me a `hard-lefty`, I guess I am by your standards.

      You get my drift.

      Thomas Diaz

      May 5, 2011 at 10:41am

      Just so people are clear, we're talking about COSMETIC pesticides. Stuff like Round-Up with is only around to help people make things look nice without working at it. This doesn't prevent municipalities from spraying mosquito larvae or anything else that one could (maybe) justify as more than cosmetic. It also wouldn't ban things needed to kill insects in your home or poisonous plants.

      I have a garden and lawn that has been happily pesticide free for over 20 years. Sure, it take a little extra work, but I can lay on the grass with my kids and never worry about a thing.


      May 5, 2011 at 2:23pm

      I think children have a right to play in lawns and gardens that are not covered in pesticides, regardless of if their parents want a green lawn. That is why I support a ban of cosmetic pesticides.

      Taxpayers R Us

      May 5, 2011 at 5:03pm

      You know, the funny thing is I support a ban on the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.

      The thing I'm trying to point out is a return to the concept of just banning things without alternatives, discussion, etc. It comes flying from the left at superhuman speeds sometimes.


      May 5, 2011 at 7:13pm

      Well, you could have at least put in your two cents on the topic while you were at it. Your constructive participation (whether criticism or not) is better than the deconstructive attacks.

      And it didn`t just come flying out of nowhere:
      “We introduced this legislation a number of years ago first, and then again last year on Earth Day”
      It`s been discussed. And I don`t personally see any alternatives.

      But yes, there are some fanatical lefties out there where your generalization does hold, but there are also some crazy right-wingers. Just because I voted NDP and you probably voted blue doesn`t make me a tree-hugger any more than it makes you a patriarchal bible-thumper. Let`s be friends.