Quebec Limits Cosmetic Pesticides  
UPdate Fall 2002

Quebec is close to becoming the first province to adopt widespread limits on cosmetic pesticide use. The government decision to immediately ban the use of 30 noxious pesticides on public lands, including parks, schools, day care centers and hospitals, will extend to private and commercial lands in 2005. Agriculture land will not be affected. The chemicals include 2,4D (contained in Killex), Benomyl (a fungicide), strychnine, arsenic (used in treated wood), and Malathion (an insecticide.)

By next year, use of mixtures of fertilizers and pesticides will be banned. Within three years it will be illegal to sell  products containing any of the banned substances anywhere in Quebec. The regulations provide for fines of up to $30,000. 

The Environment Department has drawn up a list of acceptable safer products, and hopes to encourage the development of new, organic products. The regulations have the support of Quebec's Union of Municipalities. Over 50 Quebec municipalities have already adopted cosmetic pesticide bans.

The Industry Task Force on 2,4D Research, an industry organization representing the four North American manufacturers of 2,4D, has threatened to sue Quebec using Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement if 2,4D is not withdrawn from the list of banned chemicals. The Task Force argues that 2,4D is not carcinogenic, thus should not be banned. But according to the the Environmental Protection Agency, it can cause peripheral neuropathy even with minor exposures, and is toxic to liver, kidneys and central nervous system.