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The Pesticide-Free Calgary Bylaw Campaign

An exciting new campaign - to phase out the use of unnecessary pesticides in Calgary - on private and public lands has been launched.  A new group - The Coalition for a Healthy Calgary- has a great web-site that is action-oriented and information-based:
•  why pesticides should be phased out (health, environment, etc.)
•  how to use natural landscaping practices instead of pesticides
•  actions you can take to make Calgary pesticide-free!
 and more . . .

The campaign is to have Calgary City Council pass a bylaw in 2008 that will phase out the use of unnecessary pesticides on private and public lands in Calgary.  The group wants to make the passing of a pesticide bylaw an issue for the upcoming City election in October 2007.

Calgary is now the largest City in Canada without a bylaw. 126 Municipalities and the Province of Quebec have protection for their citizens against unnecessary pesticides. Yet an independent Poll last year showed that 4 out of 5 Calgarians support a phase out of unnecessary pesticides.

Why is a Bylaw Important?

Health - more and more health studies, especially in the last 5 years, show links between pesticide use and cancer, asthma, neurological difficulties (such as Parkinson’s Disease) and hormonal disruptions (such as thyroid problems).
Especially Critical for Children’s Health - from conception to teen stage even a tiny amount of pesticide exposure at a critical point in development can cause permanent damage, such as birth defects and learning disabilities. Medical Associations, such as Ontario College of Family Physicians, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario support pesticide bylaws.

People are exposed to pesticides when neighbours or the City are using pesticides.
- pesticides drift when applied - they carry in the wind,
- pesticides evaporate for up to a few days or weeks later - so we breathe them in from our neighbours’ yards and when we move around the city, along boulevards and parks.
- pesticides stay on lawns for a few days and kids and pets roll on the grass in play and absorb pesticides through their skin.
- pesticides are tracked into homes on shoes and clothing and can last for up to a year in the home

Environment - pesticides kill beneficial insects, deplete soils, pollute our rivers.

Federal Regulations Don’t Work to Protect Us

The Supreme Court has twice upheld the right of Municipalities to pass bylaws and both the Supreme Court and the Federal Minister of Health recommended that Municipalities use bylaws to complement federal regulations and exercise the “precautionary principle” - when there is some evidence of harm, take precautionary measures, even if exact cause and effect is not determined.

Pesticides Are Not Necessary - Natural landscaping practices like spreading compost, overseeding with new grass seed, having less lawn and planting hardy grass or shrubs, trees, perennials work well.

Go to www.healthycalgary.ca to find out more.