Why Halifax Regional Municipality Should 
Ban Cosmetic Pesticide Use

NSAEHA Special Presentation,   March 28, 2000

      I am speaking on behalf of the Nova Scotia Allergy and Environmental Health Association (NSAEHA).  The NSAEHA has many members whose lives have been irretrievably changed from exposure to pesticides and herbicides commonly used on lawns and gardens.  Many of  these people have lost their ability to live normal lives and work in the normal world. The "cide" in pesticide means "to kill", and pesticides are not as specific about what they kill as their makers might wish.  They are known to contaminate the air, soil, and water, affecting not only humans, but also wild animals, fish, birds, domestic animals, and living things in general. 

     Pesticide residues may enter the body through inhalation, ingestion and through skin absorption and may cause a wide range of symptoms in humans. Short-term effects of pesticide exposure can include flu-like symptoms, dizziness, nausea, muscle twitching, weakness, fatigue, breathing difficulties, eye, nose and throat irritation, and neurological symptoms such as headache, depression,
 irritability, inability to concentrate, tremor, seizure, and memory loss.  Long-term or chronic effects of pesticides may produce birth defects, reproductive effects, cancer, liver and kidney damage, immune system and nervous system damage, sensitization and Environmental Illness.

     All pesticide products must be labelled; however, inert ingredients by law are not required to be listed on product labels.  These inert ingredients, which can make up to 99.9 percent of a pesticide formulation, can be as toxic as the active ingredient.  The number of hazardous chemicals that are being used as inert ingredients in pesticides is rising at an alarming rate. Over 600 inert ingredients have been classified as hazardous by regulatory programs or international agencies. Of these hazardous ingredients, 20 are known or suspected carcinogens, 12 have been assessed as extremely hazardous and 118 are regarded as occupational hazards.

     Testing of pesticides is inadequate. Pesticides are not well tested for their effects on human adults or children, the central nervous system or the immune system. The most susceptible to health effects of pesticides seem to be environmentally ill patients, children, unborn babies, the immunosuppressed and the elderly.

      The World Health Organization estimates that more than 25 million people are poisoned by pesticides worldwide each year, resulting in at least 20,000 deaths.  However, making and using pesticides has become big business.  As we have seen in the in the issue of cigarette smoke's affects on health, it is very hard to stop moneymaking products from being produced and sold - even when the health effects have been unquestionably proven.  We must not let business interests rule over public health.

      Pesticides are one of the main contributors to the emergence of chemical sensitivity.   On behalf of the members of NSAEHA we ask that Halifax Regional Municipality put into place the recommendations from the Majority Report of the Pesticide Bylaw Advisory Committee which recommends placing pesticide-free zones to help protect people who are already ill from toxic chemical exposures.

      Respectfully submitted: by the Nova Scotia Allergy and Environmental Health Association