Pesticides group calls for elimination of Tordon 101

Several dozen people gathered at a St. John's meeting on Tuesday night to pressure the Newfoundland and Labrador government to eliminate herbicides and pesticides they consider too dangerous to use.
Greg Malone describes Tordon 101 as 'an old and dangerous chemical' that should be banned. (CBC)

Several dozen people gathered at a St. John's meeting on Tuesday night to pressure the Newfoundland and Labrador government to eliminate herbicides and pesticides they consider too dangerous to use.

The Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides gathered at St. Teresa's parish hall in St. John's to discuss how the government can be pressured to ban chemical pesticides, particularly one commonly used to control vegetation near power lines.

Memorial University professor Atanu Sarkar said pesticides can be found in Inuit communities where chemicals are not even used. (CBC)
While Newfoundland Power has said in the past that Tordon 101 is safe for its crews to use, coalition members argue otherwise.

"Totally ban it. It's an old and dangerous chemical," author and actor Greg Malone said in an interview with CBC News.

"It's Agent White. It was developed during the Vietnam War. When they ran out of Agent Orange to defoliate Vietnam, they turned to Tordon 101."

Dr. Atanu Sarkar, who teaches at Memorial University's medical school, told the forum that there is nowhere in the world to escape exposure to toxic chemicals.

"The people who are living in the far north, the Inuit communities, the aboriginal communities, they don't used pesticides," he said.

"But if you look at their blood levels, you see a high level of pesticides."

Malone said the coalition plans to hold more public meetings to try to speak with politicians about it.

In September 2012, St. John's city council voted against a proposal to support the all-out ban of Tordon 101 and other herbicides used to control highway brush. 

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