Negatives of pesticide bans need to be mentioned

Negatives of pesticide bans need to be mentioned

Re “Pesticide ban would be a win-win situation,” Salmon Arm Observer, August 10, 2011

Dr. Warren Bell talks about the great health benefits from Ontario’s ban but neglects to mention what those are. He also mentions that lower levels of pesticides are being detected in some streams.

But Bell forgot to tell readers the levels detected before the ban were almost undetectable to begin with. It seems that Bell needs to take another look at what the cosmetic pesticide ban has done in Ontario before suggesting it’s the right path for British Columbia and making false claims aimed at scaring readers.

Aside from increasing insect and weed infestations, there are other negative consequences starting to show, including illegal pesticide use, loss of green space, increased municipal maintenance costs, and homeowner frustration.

When it comes to Quebec, Bell seems to have missed that government’s recent declaration that “products containing 2,4-D do not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.”

What readers should know is that before any pesticide can be sold in Canada it must undergo a comprehensive scientific review and risk assessment by Health Canada.

Pesticides receive a greater breadth of scrutiny than any other regulated product and only those products that meet strict health and safety standards are registered for sale and use.

Bell praises the Ontario approach yet in his column he suggests an additional restriction of removing the exemption for golf courses.

The divisive debates about pesticide bans will continue as long as municipalities and provinces continue to arbitrarily ban products that have been approved for use by Health Canada. The uncertainty created by these various levels of government mean that new products will not be brought forward for approval and the public will have fewer options to control insect and weed infestations affecting their properties.

It’s high time that science-based decisions be re-introduced into the pesticides debate.


Lorne Hepworth,

President, CropLife Canada

representing the plant science industry