Media Release - Aug 30, 2016 - Alberta fails when it comes to protecting citizens against harmful effects of cosmetic pesticide use - Calgary's children are vulnerable.
<p align="center" class="MsoNormal">Alberta Fails on National Cosmetic Pesticide Legislation
Childrens’ Health in Calgary is Vulnerable
CALGARY (August 30, 2016) – The Canadian Association of Physicians for the
Environment has given Alberta a failing grade when it comes to protecting childrens’
health from the harmful effects of cosmetic pesticide use on lawns and gardens
From Manitoba east, 7 provinces have passed legislation banning the use of cosmetic
pesticides. Ontario has the strongest and most comprehensive cosmetic pesticide
legislation. Only those least-toxic products listed on a “white list” are permitted for use
on lawns and gardens in Ontario.
Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia lag behind. Provincial legislation is lacking
in all three provinces. Whereas, there are numerous municipalities with cosmetic
pesticide bylaws in British Columbia, only a handful of municipalities in Alberta have
banned herbicides – mostly summer villages around Pigeon Lake and city-owned
property in Edmonton.
Calgary remains the largest municipality in Canada without any form of protection from
cosmetic pesticide use. Dr. John Howard, the Chair of CAPE’S Board is quoted, “There
is a strong body of evidence linking pesticides to cancer, developmental deficits in our
children and adverse reproductive outcomes. As health professionals the health of our
children is more important than a perfect lawn or garden.”
The Coalition for a Healthy Calgary and its two predecessors, Pesticide-free Yards and
Lawns for Kids have been advocating protection from cosmetic pesticide use for over 25
years in Calgary. “We want to give our children the best chance of a healthy lifetime.
Phasing out the use of toxic chemicals to maintain weed and insect-free lawns and
gardens ought to be a no-brainer,” says Robin McLeod, Chair of the Coalition for a
The closest Calgary came to adopting a cosmetic pesticide bylaw was in 2008. Passing
of the bylaw was defeated by one vote in Council. Unfortunately City Council is still
preoccupied with “the dandelion.” In September 2015 Council voted to spend $1.7millon
from the City’s Reserve Stability Fund to mount a “Dandelion Suppression Control
Program” in 2016. “Perhaps a better use of funds,” according to McLeod, “would be a
guarantee that Calgary’s 700 plus tot lots remain free of chemical toxins, and are posted
as safe, toxin-free places for children to play.” Dr. Meg Sears, Chair of Prevent Cancer
Now, an organization devoted to primary cancer prevention adds, “Least-toxic
approaches should be the norm where families live and play.”
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For more information please contact: Robin McLeod 403.703.0018
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Check out Healthy Calgary's February 2015 Newsletter
Prairie Pesticide Update: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Slide Back Dance Progression!
September 16, 2014: "The Pesticide Puzzle" Lunch 'n Learn with Dr. Meg Sears and City Councillors
(l-r) Councillor Carra, Dr. Meg Sears, Robin McLeod, Councillor Pincott
Join us on Facebook
For the most current news, videos, and links, visit the Facebook site of the "Coalition for a Healthy Calgary"
September 6, 2013
CTV PrimeTime broadcasts a debate on cosmetic pesticides between Nigel Bowles, ED for Landscape Alberta and Gerald Wheatley, Board member for the Coalition for a Healthy Calgary
March, 2012: Cindy Tuerr, Sierra Love, and Gerald Wheatley, CHC board members discuss the 2012 Toxic Roundup.
Alberta lags behind provinces with cosmetic pesticide bans
New Report Card on Provincial pesticide legislation released
Some of the safest lawns, gardens and public spaces in Canada are found in Ontario and Nova Scotia where strong provincial legislation has banned pesticides used for aesthetic purposes, according to a new report released by the David Suzuki Foundation and Quebec environmental organization, Équiterre.
The report, Pesticide Free? Oui!, compares cosmetic pesticide bans in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, as well as Alberta’s more limited restriction on “weed and feed” mixtures. The Quebec ban was once considered the gold standard but has been surpassed by more comprehensive legislation adopted in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Although mentioned in the report, Alberta has, by far, the weakest approach. “The ban on the use and sale of combined weed killer and fertilizer products (i.e. weed and feed products, most of which contained 2,4-d), effective January 1, 2010, can hardly be considered a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides in Alberta,” according to Robin McLeod of the Coalition for a Healthy Calgary. 2,4-D and other herbicides can still be sold and used throughout Alberta for aesthetic or cosmetic purposes as long as herbicides are not mixed with fertilizers.
In comparison, cosmetic pesticide bans in Ontario and Nova Scotia prohibit the use of a large number of pesticides, provide a credible list of lower-risk products permitted for use in public and private areas and the legislation applies beyond lawns to other aspects of landscaping. Lisa Gue, environmental health policy analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation states, “There is a new standard for protecting human health and the environment from lawn and garden pesticides,” in reference to the Ontario and Nova Scotia pesticide bans. Alberta and its municipalities have a new bar to reach when it comes to protecting its citizens and environment against the harmful effects of cosmetic pesticide use. Calgary is the largest municipality in Canada without a cosmetic pesticide ban.
The complete "Pesticide Free, Oui!" report:
May 6 to be Lawn Pesticide Awareness Day
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the first pesticide ban in North America On May 6 more than 70 international organizations are aligning with a proclamation to honor Dr. June Irwin, a Quebec dermatologist, who played a leading role in the passage of North America’s first pesticide ban.
Irwin, who still practices dermatology in Pointe Claire, Quebec began noticing rashes and other health issues related to lawn pesticides in the early 1980’s. Her concerns were largely ignored by the medical community and the federal government of Canada. Undeterred, Dr. Irwin systematically began her campaign to eliminate the harmful use of non-essential pesticides.
In 1991, 6 years after she first voiced concerns at a town hall meeting, Hudson, Quebec became the first municipality in North America to ban synthetic lawn and garden pesticides on public and private property with the exception of farms and golf courses.
Visit the Campaign Website to see Signators:
March 21, 2011
A Chemical Reaction Screening in Calgary
The documentary tells the story of Dr. June Irwin, a dermatologist from Hudson, Quebec, who noticed a connection between her patient’s health conditions and their exposure to pesticides and herbicides. As a lone voice in 1984, followed by a voyage to the Supreme Court of Canada, her home town of Hudson, Quebec became the first municipality in Canada to adopt a municipal bylaw banning the cosmetic or non-essential use of pesticides in 1991.
Chemical Reaction is available for rent from www.Arusha.org The Arusha Centre
The new Mayor and council in Calgary will be setting goals for the coming term. Both Alderman Farrell and Pincott are supporters of a cosmetic pesticide phase-out bylaw and it appears that the new council is more supportive.
Council rejected a bylaw regarding cosmetic use of pesticides which was a disappointment to environmentalists, citing no deadline for ending their use.
May 14, 2009
Nurses Urge Calgary to Prevent Stalling of Pesticide Bylaw
The College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) has sent a letter to Calgary's Mayor and aldermen urging them not to renege on the Calgary pesticide bylaw process deadline of this October.
The bylaw will “ protect over one million Albertans from harmful and highly unnecessary chemicals” reminding them that “it is well established that children are at a greater risk from pesticide exposure than adults. ”
“It appears that administration is hesitating to implement what City Council ask for” says Robin McLeod of the Coalition for a Healthy Calgary (CHC). “This timeline was established by Council on July 15, 2008 and as one of the stakeholder organizations, we've been waiting to draft the bylaw and have not been contacted until this month. Hearing the administration is now asking for an extension to next spring is unacceptable.”
November 13, 2008: Alberta announces a ban on the sale of herbicide-fertilizer combination products (weed n' feed) as of January 1, 2010. Rob Renner, Alberta's Minister of the Environment, stated, "By eliminating products that encourage mass application we will reduce the amount of chemical run-off in our waterways."
The Coalition for a Healthy Calgary applauds the Minister for taking such positive action. This is a great step forward towards the goal of eliminating all non-essential use of pesticides for aesthetic purposes.
July 15, 2008: Calgary City Council votes to create a pesticide bylaw
June 25, 2008: The Notice of Motion calling for the phase out of pesticides used for cosmetic or non-essential purposes on private and public land and implementation plan was approved at the Standing Policy Committee of Utilities and Environment.
April 22, 2008 (Earth Day): Home Depot is phasing out traditional pesticides in favour of eco-friendly alternatives beginning June 1, 2008. All stores across Canada will be pesticide-free by December 31, 2008. WOW!
April 22, 2008: The Province of Ontario announces a proposed ban on the use and sale of pesticides (herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) for cosmetic purposes. Exceptions made for agriculture, forestry, health and safety and golf courses, with condtions. For more info: www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/news/2008/042201mb.php
February 25, 2008
Notice of Motion (NOM) was introduced at City Council directing Administration to prepare a report including: a draft bylaw proposal and; implementation plan for the phase out of cosmetic pesticides on public and private lands in Calgary.
The NOM was referred to the Environmental Advisory Committee*, which is to provide recommendations on a future report to be drafted under the guidance of the Environmental Assurance and Sustainability department of the City of Calgary.
*The EAC is a volunteer committee which advises City Council on environmental issues.
Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division begins collaborations with CHC to have the City of Calgary pass a pesticide bylaw in 2008.
Mountain Equipment Co-op donates $4,000 to the CHC campaign. Thank you to MEC and all purchasers at MEC who tread the Earth lightly!
Gideon Forman, Executive Director of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) meets with Aldermen McIver, Ceci and Pincott. Forman reports on Toronto's successful Interim Evaluation of its pesticide bylaw. For more info go to: www.toronto.ca/health/pesticides/city_reports.
October 15, 2007
11 of 14 elected City officials support a phasing out of cosmetic pesticides on public and private land in Calgary based on a pre-election survey conducted by CHC.
Alderman Joe Ceci entices Mayor Dave Bronconnier and Sharon Stevens with a delicious sample of organic dandelion soup courtesy of Spoon Fed Soup and the Coalition for a Healthy Calgary.
May 31, 2007
In a Global CTV poll 71% of respondents voted no to the question "Should the City of Calgary increase its pesticides use to control our dandelion explosion?" 29% voted in favour.
Anonymous donation launches the beginnings of the Coalition for a Healthy Calgary.
February 2006 Oracle Poll Research
4 out of 5 Calgarians polled supported phasing out the use of cosmetic pesticides.