A coalition of health and environmental groups is set to deliver a letter calling on the Manitoba government to ban the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.
Letter to government
View the petition
More than 1,000 people have signed letters or added their names to an online petition by Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba.
Representatives with the coalition Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba plan to deliver the letters and signatures to Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gordon Mackintosh following a press conference in front of the Manitoba legislature Monday.
The following provinces have introduced varying degrees of restrictions on the sale or use of cosmetic pesticides:
- Quebec — 2003
- Alberta — 2008
- Ontario — 2008
- Prince Edward Island — 2009
- New Brunswick — 2009
- Nova Scotia — 2010
- Newfoundland and Labrador — 2012
(Source: Province of Manitoba)
Research by the Ontario College of Family Physicians has identified scores of studies showing that human health is at risk from pesticide use. Other recent scientific evidence shows aquatic ecosystems are especially endangered, states a press release from the coalition.
"We cannot justify the use of cosmetic pesticides to control dandelions and other weeds when the potential threats to human health, animal health and our environment, including Lake Winnipeg, are so great," said Vicki Burns, outreach coordinator with the Lake Winnipeg Foundation.
"At a time when the health of Lake Winnipeg is so threatened, why allow a practice that is so unnecessary and has the potential to be so damaging."
"Reducing toxic load is important for the health and learning abilities of all, especially children," added Marilyn McKinnon, executive director with Learning Disability Association of Manitoba.
"It is a critical consideration for children with learning disabilities."
The public can submit their thoughts on a cosmetic pesticide ban on the Manitoba government's website.
Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba launched its campaign last summer in response to a consultation being conducted by Manitoba Conservation into the use of cosmetic pesticides in Manitoba.
"We applaud the government for initiating this critical public health and environmental discussion," said Anne Lindsey, spokesperson from Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba.
"Concern about the negative impacts of unnecessary chemicals is growing amongst the general public, health care providers and many other sectors.
"We call on the government to heed these concerns and implement strong legislation banning cosmetic pesticides in Manitoba."
Ban will happen
Mackintosh has all but confirmed there will be a ban on the cosmetic use of lawn pesticides, but exactly how it would be applied is still being determined.
"The consultation period right now is to look to see how we can reconcile the different views; how we can bring in some protection for Manitoba children, pregnant moms, and do it in a way that's effective," he said.
There are restrictions on lawn pesticides in seven other provinces, and an obvious question is whether Manitoba children deserve the same protection, Mackintosh added.
The government held consultations on the issue last spring and a report is expected in the coming months.
A pesticide industry group says pesticides are safe and are federally regulated, but Mackintosh says even regulators point to potential hazards for children and pregnant women.
The government has made it clear than a ban would only apply to lawns, not agricultural land.
The province will accept public feedback on the topic until Oct. 1.