Steven Boultbee and Lorne Hepworth responded to the opinion piece co-written by Gideon Forman, executive director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and me (founding president of CAPE). In it we support the B.C. government’s intention to ban the sale of pesticides.
Steven Boultbee’s company uses un-named herbicides (plant-killers) extensively.
The world’s most widely used herbicide, Roundup, is now known to be extremely toxic to frogs. Mr. Boultbee connects bedbugs to disease caused by “superbugs” MRSA and VRE.
There is one study in the literature making this association, carried out on three patients from Vancouver’s impoverished Downtown Eastside, where bedbugs and MRSA are widespread. But the study authors state: “…to our knowledge, no conclusive evidence has demonstrated disease transmission by bedbugs.”
Lorne Hepworth is a veteran pesticide lobbyist. Referring to reduced pesticide runoff since Ontario’s ban, he states: “Bell forgot to tell readers the levels detected before the ban were almost undetectable…”
Of course they were. Long-term exposure to very low levels of pesticides has always been the factor connected to serious chronic health effects such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and recently diabetes. After the provincial ban, pesticide levels were lowered 70 to 90 per cent.
Mr. Hepworth states: “Pesticides receive a greater breadth of scrutiny than any other regulated product…”
Drugs used in humans receive infinitely more scrutiny than do pesticides. And yet drugs can pose a whole range of problems with respect to human and environmental health. One of the biggest problems with drugs is that evidence supporting their use too often comes from industry.
Mr. Hepworth states: “It’s high time that science-based decisions be re-introduced into the pesticides debate.”
I firmly agree.