PETITION IS NOW CLOSED – But please let the provincial government know you favour maintaining Manitoba’s current pesticide restrictions

November 2018 – Children will be harmed if the current Manitoba ban on cosmetic pesticides is loosened, warns the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE).

CAPE earlier circulated a petition urging the Manitoba government to maintain the existing provincial ban on non-essential uses of pesticides. The group is now recommending that those who did not have a chance to sign the petition should still let the provincial government (and your provincial MLA) know that you favour retaining current pesticide restrictions to protect children’s health.

Why does this matter? The provincial government indicated two years ago that it may change the present pesticide law, which has been in effect since 2015. CAPE notes that that relaxing restrictions on toxic pesticides would once again make lawns, parks, boulevards and other green spaces into sources of chemical exposure, defeating the goal of reducing human exposure to pesticides.

In a June 2018 letter to Manitoba’s Minister of Sustainable Development, CAPE cites evidence from more than 500 studies on pesticide risks to human health. Peer-reviewed studies have found that children who are exposed to pesticides are at higher risk for physical and cognitive problems, including low birth weight, learning disabilities, delayed motor (neuromuscular) development, hormone disruption and cancer.

Municipalities in Manitoba have been lobbying for changes that would permit the use of previously banned pesticides. But CAPE points out that hundreds of towns and cities across Canada are able to maintain attractive lawns and safe play spaces without using such chemicals. CAPE’s just-published study of municipal weed control provides examples of successful, non-toxic weed control from across the country.

While pesticides allowed for use in Canada must be approved by Health Canada, CAPE notes that evidence used in federal pesticide evaluations often lacks independent review and does not take sufficient account of multiple chemical exposures that people experience in the real world. As well, Health Canada’s system of pesticide approval typically looks only at the main active ingredients in pesticides, and not at the formulations that are actually sold and used. Product formulations often contain additional chemicals designed to intensify the toxic effects of the active ingredient, which can increase the impact on people who are exposed. Because there are so many gaps and flaws in the federal regulatory process, Canada’s pesticide evaluation system is not reliably health-protective, CAPE says.

Let’s keep children safe from pesticides used on lawns and gardens in Manitoba.

TAKE ACTION. Tell the Manitoba Government that you want the current ban on non-essential uses of pesticides to continue.

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