The BC Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides released its report in May, which contained 17 recommendations to the government. Although these recommendations did not include an outright ban on lawn and garden pesticides, it’s important to note that the B.C. Government has not made a decision (and the special committee itself did not have consensus in arriving at these recommendations).
The Canadian Cancer Society maintains that health should take precedence over lawns. It’s important to note that pesticide registration by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada does not mean that a pesticide is safe or without risk. When the PMRA registers a pesticide it means that risk to both human health and the environment is minimized—but not eliminated—if the product is used for its intended purpose and according to label directions.
While a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between pesticides and cancer has not been established, the Canadian Cancer Society is very concerned about the growing body of evidence suggesting pesticides may increase the risk of several types of cancers, including non-Hodgkins lymphoma, multiple myeloma, prostate, kidney and lung cancers. Studies on pesticides and childhood cancer also show a possible connection with leukemia, brain tumours and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Prohibiting the use of cosmetic pesticides is both responsible and respectful of the state of the scientific evidence. We thank the 40 municipalities throughout B.C., who have shown leadership by adopting cosmetic pesticide bylaws, and we hope B.C. municipalities will continue to adopt cosmetic pesticide bylaws.
For our part, we will continue to urge the B.C. government to pass strong province-wide cosmetic pesticide legislation.
Through action, information and policies we can take steps to reduce the risk of cancer and promote health.
Team Leader, Health Promotion, Canadian Cancer Society, Southern Interior Region