Surrey joins widening cosmetic pesticide ban
Advocates calling for province-wide ban on sale of products
Surrey is expected to become the latest B.C. municipality to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides, but some advocates say it is time for a province-wide ban on the sale of the products.
Mayor Dianne Watts says the new by-law, similar to those already in place in Vancouver, Richmond and about two dozen other B.C. communities, should pass near the end of the month.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, a growing body of evidence is linking the pesticides to several cancers, including adult and childhood leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer and some brain cancers.
Watts says that is why the ban is important for the health of everyone in the community.
"You've got children walking through the lawns and it affects our children and it affects our animals," said Watts.
But not every community is embracing the idea of banning cosmetic pesticides and herbicides.
Coquitlam is one of the few Lower Mainland cities that still allow the use cosmetic pesticides. City Councillor Selina Robinson says she's pushed for a ban, but it has so far been rejected.
"I brought forward a motion ...and I couldn't get a majority of council to support that notice of motion," said Selina.
Province-wide ban considered
That kind of opposition to bans on use has advocates pushing for tougher rules banning the sale of the products altogether.
Ashley Duyker, a community coordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society, notes even if the use of pesticides is banned in one municipality, that does not mean stores cannot sell them.
"There's 29 communities banning the use, the struggle really becomes when products are still for sale," said Duyker.
"We're calling for a ban.... The general public doesn't understand that these products are potentially harmful and potentially illegal to use in their communities," she said.
In its last throne speech the B.C. government said it would consider a ban on the sale of cosmetic pesticides.
Duyker expects to hear back from the province in a matter of days on whether that will happen.