Feds refuse pesticide moratorium

NDP Member of Parliament, Pat Martin has introduced a Private Members Bill which would place a moratorium on cosmetic pesticide use until such use is proven to be safe. Martin was joined by scientist Meg Sears of the Canadian Coalition for Health and Environment in introducing the bill. Bill 225 proposes that cosmetic pesticide use be banned until evidence showing that such use is safe is presented to Parliament, and verified by a parliamentary committee.

The bill was defeated, 87 to 207.

Bill 225 was presented just as the April issue of Paediatrics & Child Health published a study highlighting the health risks of pesticides for children. Pesticide assessment: Protecting public health on the home turf, argues that “the balance of epidemiological research suggests that 2,4-D, [the most commonly used herbicide in Canada] can be persuasively linked to cancers, neurological impairment and reproductive problems. These may arise from 2,4-D itself, from breakdown products or dioxin contamination, or from a combination of chemicals.” The study’s authors are highly critical of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s assessment process which recently approved use of 2,4D. They conclude “the 2,4-D assessment does not approach standards for ethics, rigor or transparency in medical research.”

Paediatrics and Child Health is a peer-reviewed publication of the Canadian Paediatric Society.