For immediate release
ACTIVISTS CALL FOR LOCAL PESTICIDE REDUCTION BY-LAWS
EARTH DAY, April 22, 1998
OTTAWA -- The Campaign for Pesticide Reduction (CPR!) today marked Earth Day by announcing the launch of its 1998 National Pesticide Reduction Bylaw Campaign. In 34 communities across Canada, local campaigns for pesticide reduction by-laws kicked off in anticipation of the pesticide spraying season. The campaigns are being run by local citizens and environmental groups, with co-ordination from CPR, a Canada-wide network of environment, health, farmers' and labour groups and activists.
"National Pesticide-Free Week is April 19-25", said Greely campaign leader Mike Anderson. "It's the perfect time to educate yourself on the very serious health and environmental consequences of pesticide use."
Local campaigners are approaching their Councils with proposals to restrict the cosmetic use of pesticides on both public and private lands. Their goal is to have by-laws, or by-law amendments, in place before the spring 1999 spray season. There are many powers which municipal governments can exercise which do not infringe on provincial or federal authority over pesticides. Towns like Aylmer, Hudson, Westmount and Point Claire, Quebec as well as Kitchener and Ottawa, Ontario have passed and, in some cases, successfully defended by-laws which range from outright bans to permit requirements to pesticide-free summers to prohibited spraying on city property.
"People incorrectly assume that because a pesticide is registered, it is 'safe'. This is not the case," said Kathy McHugh, spokesperson for the Russell campaign. "Pesticides can have serious health consequences, ranging from minor skin irritation to cancer to death".
Though Canadians may think they know what they are buying, as much as 95% of a pesticide can be made up of ingredients that are not listed on the label, ingredients like 2,4-D that may be the active ingredients in other pesticide formulations. The current Pest Control Products Act allows the public no right to know what these "trade secrets" are, though they may be more toxic than the active ingredients.
Adding to existing concerns about the cosmetic spraying of pesticides are disturbing new findings from studies conducted in Alberta. The recent Canada Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture report on water quality concluded that 2,4-D, the most commonly used lawn pesticide, can persist in groundwater for as long as 77 days. This adds to the evidence that contradicts industry claims that 2,4-D breaks down within hours of being applied to a lawn.
"Every day should be Earth Day, and every week should be pesticide-free," said Angela Rickman, CPR Coordinator. "If you care about your family, your pets, and the environment, just stop using chemicals. You can still have a green lawn; there are safe alternatives."
The 34 communities involved to date are: Vancouver, Victoria, Galiano Island, Calgary, Lethbridge, Jasper, Ancaster, Barrie, Greenbank, Lakefleld, North Glengarry, South Glengarry, Owen Sound, Thunder Bay, Bolton, Toronto, North York, Regional Municipality of Ottawa/Carleton, Greely, Russell, Windsor, Kitchener, Peterborough, Whitby, Aylmer, Hull, Chelsea, Beaconsville, Fredericton, Winnipeg, Quispamsis, Annapolis County (Middleton), Halifax, SteadyBrook and Charlottetown.
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For more information:
Campaign for Pesticide Reduction
Contacts in specific communities are available upon request
412-1 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, Ontario, KIN 7B7
PHONE: (613) 2414611 FAX: (613) 241-2292 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org