The New Brunswick government is banning the use and sale of 200 over-the-counter lawn-care pesticides starting later this year.

Environment Minister Roland Haché announced the ban in the legislative assembly on Thursday. The government is clamping down on pesticides through a regulatory change.

Haché said there will be some exemptions to the ban for the agriculture and forestry sectors, as well as golf courses.

"This ban will contribute to an improved environment and quality of life for all residents in the province of New Brunswick," Haché said.

"Reducing the reliance on pesticides in the province will contribute to a sustainable environment."

Through this new regulation, the province is banning the use and sale of roughly 70 per cent of the retail products known as cosmetic pesticides available to homeowners.

As well, the ban will include the sale and use of the widely used lawn-care pesticide 2,4-D.

Haché said the ban on lawn-care products will come into force in the fall and that will give retailers enough time to pull the products from their shelves.

The ban is focusing on products that Hache said are most susceptible to being overused or misused, including:

  • Lawn-care products for domestic lawns containing 2,4-D.
  • Combination fertilizer and pesticide products.
  • Granular spreadable weed killers.
  • Hose-end spray products.
  • Lawn-care pesticides that require a homeowner to measure, mix or dilute.

Tories support ban

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives are supporting the government's initiative despite having some questions about how the ban will actually work.

Tory MLA Trevor Holder, the Opposition's environment critic, said he wants to know why the province is making the change through regulation and not legislating the ban.

Holder said the evidence linking pesticides to cancer is not conclusive but he said the move is a step in the right direction.

"You have to err on the side of caution," Holder said.

Companies must be accredited

Haché said it will also become mandatory for companies carrying out lawn-care services using commercial grade pesticides to receive an integrated pest management accreditation by February 2010.

This new accreditation process will require businesses to curtail their "blanket treatment" on problem areas and promote spot treatment.

The accreditation will be required when lawn-care companies seek operating permits.

"Any person that sells or uses a banned product or professionals who fail to comply with the terms of integrated pest management accreditation will be subject to prosecution under the Pesticides Control Act," the environment minister said.

Haché also told the legislative assembly that the Pesticides Control Act will be reviewed and the Environment Department will see if there are other ways of eliminating the unnecessary use of pesticides within the next two years.