Winnipeg, MB – A coalition of health and environmental groups delivered a letter today to Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gordon Mackintosh calling for a ban on the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides. Over 1000 people have shown support for the ban either by signing letters or by adding their names to an online petition. Representatives with the coalition Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba delivered the letters and signatures following a press conference in front of the Manitoba Legislature.
The press conference featured experts in health, water, and the environment. Research by the Ontario College of Family Physicians has identified scores of studies showing that human health is at risk from pesticide use. Other recent scientific evidence shows aquatic ecosystems are especially endangered.
“Cosmetic pesticide use is a public health issue, particularly for children,” said Dr. Debbie Pollock, M.D. “It is well established that children are at a greater risk from pesticide exposure than adults. Pesticides also can have long-term health effects, resulting both from acute poisonings and from chronic exposure”
“We cannot justify the use of cosmetic pesticides to control dandelions and other weeds when the potential threats to human health, animal health and our environment, including Lake Winnipeg, are so great,” said Vicki Burns, outreach coordinator with the Lake Winnipeg Foundation. “At a time when the health of Lake Winnipeg is so threatened, why allow a practice that is so unnecessary and has the potential to be so damaging.”
“Reducing toxic load is important for the health and learning abilities of all, especially children.” said Marilyn McKinnon, executive director with Learning Disability Association of Manitoba. “It is a critical consideration for children with learning disabilities.”
Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba launched its campaign last summer in response to a consultation being conducted by Manitoba Conservation into the use of cosmetic pesticides in Manitoba. Six other provinces, representing over two thirds of Canada’s population, already have regulations limiting the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes. The group’s petition can be viewed online at: http://tinyurl.com/pesticide-ban.
“We applaud the government for initiating this critical public health and environmental discussion,” said Anne Lindsey, spokesperson from Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba. “Concern about the negative impacts of unnecessary chemicals is growing amongst the general public, health care providers and many other sectors. We call on the government to heed these concerns and implement strong legislation banning cosmetic pesticides in Manitoba”
Related background materials:
1) Contact information for other experts willing to speak with media and other supporting organizations: http://cosmeticpesticidebanmb.wordpress.com/media-contacts/
2) Letter to Conservation Minister, Gordon Mackintosh: http://cosmeticpesticidebanmb.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/pesticide-sign-on-letter-final1.pdf
3) Background information on cosmetic pesticides: http://cosmeticpesticidebanmb.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/backgrounder-support-for-pesticide-ban.pdf
4) Link to the 2012 Ontario College of Family Physicians report: http://www.ocfp.on.ca/docs/pesticides-paper/2012-systematic-review-of-pesticide.pdf?Status=Master#d14b9fba-3da2-4216-a446-980b43dbd82e