PEI

Protester sparks review of ban on corn gluten as weed killer

A planned protest Wednesday by environmentalist Sharon Labchuk has the province considering lifting a ban on corn gluten, a non-toxic product that's often used legally in other provinces to kill weeds.

Environmentalist Sharon Labchuk says she will spread corn gluten on lawn of Province House Wednesday

Sharon Labchuk plans to spread corn gluten on the lawn of Province House in protest of the product's ban as a weed killer. (CBC)
A planned protest Wednesday by environmentalist Sharon Labchuk has the province considering lifting a ban on corn gluten, a non-toxic product that's often used legally in other provinces to kill weeds.

Corn gluten is sold legally as a feed supplement for livestock, but under P.E.I.'s pesticide regulations, it's illegal to sell  it as a weed killer for lawns.

Labchuk says she'll protest the ban by spreading corn gluten on the lawn at Province House. 

"We need to have another look at what the province brought in in terms of the lawn pesticides here. We all recognize that certain aspects of it are completely ridiculous, like the banning of products to replace toxic stuff, and to get rid of the toxic chemicals we've got. So we're looking for a complete, 100 per cent ban," said Labchuk.

She has been suggesting for years that corn gluten, along with other non-toxic products, should be taken off the list of banned products. She also says some toxic pesticides that are legal now should be prohibited.

Corn gluten is still available for people who want to apply it to their lawn, says Erin Taylor, manager of the Environment Department's Pesticide Regulatory Program.

"But the product that's registered as a pesticide was part of that change in the regulation. It's something that we're looking at and if we feel that it makes sense to make that clearer, then we'll look at that and move in that direction," said Taylor.

Labchuk says she knows she could be fined $1,000 to $50,000 for her protest.

But she says it would be a joke for environment officials to charge her.

For mobile device users: Should Sharon Labchuk protest the ban on corn gluten as weed killer by spreading it on Province House's lawn?

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