Letters to the Editor

Pesticide exposure linked to health risks

This week marks one year since the B.C. government called upon the public to provide input into restricting chemical cosmetic pesticides.  Over 8,000 emails, online comments, and petition signatures were submitted as a result of the consultation and the vast majority of responses were in favour of banning the use and sale of cosmetic pesticides.

To mark this anniversary, the Canadian Cancer Society BC & Yukon created a special web-link at www.cancergameplan.ca where members of the public can provide their input by email, by contacting the B.C. Liberal and NDP leadership candidates, or by joining the Pesticide Free BC Facebook group.

Cosmetic or non-essential pesticides are used to improve the appearance of lawns, gardens, and various recreational facilities such as parks (they are non-agricultural and non-essential).  Research has linked pesticide exposure with an increased risk of both childhood and adult cancers.  These include childhood and adult leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate, brain and lung cancers.  Studies show that children may be at a higher risk due to their rapidly developing bodies.

According to a recent poll commissioned by the Canadian Cancer Society, the majority of British Columbians support a phase-out of cosmetic pesticides on private and public properties (over 70 per cent).  The poll also revealed that support for a phase-out between Liberal and NDP voters is about equal, that there is no difference in support between rural or urban residents, and that most B.C. residents are willing to try alternatives.

The B.C. government needs to hear from all British Columbians that now is the time to put our health and the environment first and eliminate this unnecessary risk once and for all by passing strong, comprehensive legislation as soon as possible.

 

Jerilynn Maki,

Canadian Cancer Society

 

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