What are Pesticides?
Pesticides (herbicides, vermicides, fungicides, and rodenticides) are poisons designed to kill insects, plants, fungi, moulds and rodents. Pesticides contain “active” ingredients (the chemicals intended to kill), and so-called “inert” ingredients. These are considered trade secrets, and although in many cases they can be even more toxic than “active” chemicals, most consumers are completely unaware they exist. Even when used as directed, pesticides have many negative side effects on human health and the environment.
Some Environmental Effects
Some pesticides accumulate in the fatty tissues of mammals, amphibians, birds and fish, interfering with their growth, reproduction and behaviour. Pesticides poison the food chain, contaminate water supplies, and are implicated in the declining populations of certain species.
What are the Health Effects?
Acute Effects: The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has identified acute health effects in humans including nausea, eye, skin, respiratory and throat irritation, muscle spasms, and even death.
Chronic effects: Repeated exposure to pesticides has been linked to neurological problems, brain and lung cancer, immune suppression (which creates environmental hypersensitivity), leukaemia, Parkinson’s disease, kidney damage, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive disorders, including endocrine disruption, low sperm count, and sterility.
For more information on Pesticides and how to create a bylaw banning cosmetic pesticides in your community or province, please check out our Pesticide Phase Out website.