The Manitoba government has announced plans to ban synthetic pesticides for lawn care in the province.
Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced on Friday that legislation would be introduced in the fall session to ban the pesticides.
Under the ban, which would take effect in December 2014 but allow for a one-year grace period, synthetic, chemical lawn pesticides would not be allowed on lawns, driveways, sidewalks, patios, school grounds, playing fields and playgrounds.
Agricultural lands, golf courses and sod farms would be exempt from the ban.
If the ban goes through, Manitobans would only be allowed to use bio-pesticides and organic methods to control weeds on their lawns.
The province said they are introducing the legislation to reduce pesticide exposure to Manitobans, especially children.
Mackintosh said Manitoba is bringing in the legislation because there is increasing availability of replacement products and alternative turf management practices that effectively control weeds.
More than 170 Canadian municipalities already have a ban in place. If Manitoba's legislation is approved, it would join seven other provinces in banning synthetic chemical pesticides.
Three notable warnings about the risk of synthetic chemical pesticides have been released this year.
Most recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that "epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioural problems."
"From a risk versus benefit perspective, the health benefits of reducing unnecessary use of cosmetic pesticides outweigh the risks," said Dr. Elise Weiss, deputy chief provincial health officer.
"It is prudent to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure to pregnant women and children."
Years of lobbying
The province's move comes following years of lobbying on both sides of the ban.
Adrienne Percy of Concerned Mothers Coalition of Manitoba applauds the proposed ban, saying children should be able to play outside without fear of being exposed to chemicals.
"It's still the soccer fields that they use, the public parks where they play. So this is a really important step," she said.
Percy said she's happy to hear that lawn-care companies are already getting ready for a synthetic chemical pesticide ban.
But those companies are warning that the ban would hit consumers in the wallet.
"They are going to expect to pay more money for results that are less effective; certainly not as quick," said Tim Muys, who owns Green Blade Lawn Care in Winnipeg.
"So the consumer is the one that's going to be looking at increased costs and they're going to have to realize that 100 per cent complete control is no longer going to be a possibility."
Muys said he doesn't understand why the ban does not include chemicals used at golf courses or agricultural pesticides.
Officials said efforts will continue to reduce pesticide exposure in the province, and will include stricter management of how weeds are killed on agricultural lands, a consumer awareness program and consultations with schools and child-care centres to reduce indoor exposure to pesticides.