Info for Doctors


Pesticides have effects on humans that may be causative in disease processes such as cancer, asthma (ref: here and here), neurological and autoimmune disorders, Parkinson's disease (ref: here and here) and reproductive problems.  At the same time, we see in our patients escalating rates of certain malignancies, prostate cancer, autism, behavioural and cognitive problems, autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, early puberty, and difficulties conceiving and giving birth to healthy children.

Pesticides are not contained. They have been found at harmful levels in Ottawa's waterways. Landscaping pesticides are blown through our community and are tracked into homes. The interior of our homes can also be contaminated from the use of indoor pesticides.

A recent analysis of Municipal Best Practices relating to pesticide reduction programs found that communities adopting pesticide by-laws in conjunction with educational programs achieved reductions of 51% to 90%. Pesticide use reductions in communities adopting educational programs alone were 10 to 24% source. It is evident that substantial pesticide reduction will not occur without a bylaw to add weight to this important public health issue. Calgary needs a bylaw now. The majority of Calgary citizens support phasing out pesticides. Please assist us by writing a letter to Calgary City Council supporting a pesticide bylaw.

The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) recently studied the potential harm of pesticides. The OCFP report can be read here. The OCFP report was in response to accusations from the the pesticide industry that a fact sheet produced in the 1990's was inaccurate. The OCFP has since concluded that:

     "Pesticides are know to be endocrine disrupters, neurotoxicants, and carcinogens. Children are    particularly vulnerable to the health impact of pesticides which have been associated with          development delays and increased motor dysfunction in children, City council needs to end this public health threat with a strong pesticide by-law." source

In the wake of this systemic review, the College is advocating that family physicians take the following

   1. Screen patients for pesticides exposure at a level that may cause significant health problems, and
    intervene if necessary.

    2. Take patient pesticide exposure history when non-specific symptoms are present — such as                 fatigue, dizziness, low energy, rashes, weaknesses, sleep problems, anxiety, depression.

   3. Focus efforts on prevention rather than on researching the causes of chronic or terminal disease.

   4. Consider high-risk groups (e.g. children, pregnant women, seniors) in their practices.

   5. Advocate reduction or pesticide risk/use to individual patients.

   6. Advocate reduction of pesticide risk/use in the community, schools, hospitals and to governments.

It is important to also note that pesticides in Canada are approved based on animal toxicology. The genome of the rat was published in Nature April 1, 2004.  The rat has genes for detoxification of chemicals that don't even exist in people (so they can live in sewers and garbage dumps and we can't). Thus rats are are undoubtedly poor models for human toxicology. For more information on the genome rat study, please click here.

Physician Resources

Diagnosing and Treating Pesticide Injuries and Illnesses:

1) Pesticides and Human Health:

Is an essential resource for physicians and other health providers for understanding the chronic health
impacts of pesticides.
Chapters include:

    · Acute Effects of Pesticides Exposure
    · Dermatological Effects of Pesticide Exposure
    · Pesticides and Cancer
    · Pesticides and Respiratory Disease
    · Neurological and Behavioral Effects of Pesticides
    · Reproductive and Developmental Effects of Pesticides
    · Effects of Pesticides on the Immune System

The booklet concludes with chapters on pesticide law and regulation, means of obtaining additional
information, and an interview form for clinicians to take a pesticide exposure history. You can download
this resource by clicking here

2) US EPA Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings Handbook:

Covers about 1,500 pesticide products in an easy-to-use format. Toxicology, signs and symptoms of
poisoning, and treatment are covered in 19 chapters on major types of pesticides. The new edition covers new pesticide products that have come on the market since 1989, includes a new chapter on disinfectants, reviews clinical experiences with pesticide poisonings, and contains detailed references. The handbook can be downloaded by clicking here.

3) A Case for Revisiting the Safety of Pesticides: A Closer Look at Neurodevelopment (Jan 26, 2006)

A thorough analysis, conducted by Theo Colborn, examines the neurodevelomental hazards posed by many pesticides. The review can be viewed by clicking here.

Full Reference: Colborn, Theo. "A Case for Revisiting the Safety of Pesticides: A Closer Look at
Neurodevelopment." Environmental Health Perspectives, January 26, 2006.

4) Defining Chemical Injury:

A Diagnostic Protocol and Profile of Chemically Injured Civilians, Industrial Workers and Gulf War. By G.
Heuser, M.D.,Ph.D. , P. Axelrod and S. Heuser, M.A. Can be viewed by clicking here.

5) Backgrounder on pesticide industry tac