Manitobans use more cosmetic pesticides than most other Canadians. Almost half of Manitobans with a lawn or garden use chemical herbicides or insecticides in their yards according to a 2007 Statistics Canada survey. Elsewhere, Canadians use fewer chemicals to keep bugs and weeds under control. Since implementing a ban on cosmetic pesticide use in 2003, Quebec households have turned away from chemicals. But gardens there continue to bloom. In fact Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island all have cosmetic pesticide bans, as do dozens of municipalities across Canada. British Columbia will likely join these jurisdictions later this year. So why is Manitoba falling behind?

Household pesticide use has been linked to many health problems including: cancer, reproductive problems and neurological diseases. Children are particularly at risk because of their body size, stage of development and their greater exposure through outdoor play. A new report by Greenpeace shows that Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, which is commonly available at home and garden stores in Manitoba, poses deadly health and environmental risks.

The Manitoba Eco-Network’s Organic Lawn Care program offers many practical alternatives to managing pests in your lawn and garden without using pesticides. Practices such as mowing high, over-seeding, and topdressing restore ecological soil health. Low-risk, natural products such as corn gluten meal and nematodes are widely available through retail and lawn care service providers.

Last month, Green Action Centre joined the Campaign for Pesticide Reduction, Nature Manitoba and Chemical Sensitivities Manitoba in calling on the provincial government to implement a provincial ban on cosmetic pesticides as recommended by the Manitoba Roundtable for Sustainable Development.

We don’t need dangerous chemicals that put the health of our families and environment at risk to have healthy lawns and gardens.