Doctors, public health and environmental groups urge Manitoba Ministers to preserve non-essential pesticide ban
UPDATE: November 3, 2022 – Despite urgent requests by health and environmental groups, the Manitoba Government has enacted legislation weakening restrictions on non-essential uses of pesticides. The move will allow municipalities, lawn care companies and homeowners to resume using previously banned pesticides, increasing risks to public health (especially, children’s health).
June 28, 2022 – More than thirty health and environmental organizations are appealing to the Manitoba Government to maintain the province’s restrictions on non-essential uses of pesticides.
The Manitoba College of Family Physicians, Manitoba Health Coalition, Manitoba Lung Association, Manitoba Public Health Association, Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba, and Winnipeg Humane Society are among the organizations speaking out.
The groups have endorsed an open letter to Jeff Wharton, Minister of Environment, Climate and Parks, and Audrey Gordon, Minister of Health, warning that resuming the use of currently banned pesticides will increase health risks for Manitobans, particularly children.
Allowing the use of riskier lawn pesticides will also increase chemical runoff into waterways, harm essential pollinators and increase risks for pets that play on treated lawns, the groups note.
WHAT ORGANIZATIONS ARE SAYING
Manitoba College of Family Physicians: “Family doctors take the privilege and responsibility of caring for their patients and communities seriously, and this includes advocating for public policy that protects the fundamental right to health. Peer-reviewed studies have established that serious health risks are associated with human exposure to chemical pesticides; therefore, the Manitoba College of Family Physicians believes that there is a need for continued restrictions on non-essential use of pesticides.” – Dr. Joanna Lynch, President
Manitoba Health Coalition: “The Manitoba Health Coalition views human exposure to pesticides as a matter of public health. The overwhelming consensus of the available research tells us that children are most at risk from exposure to pesticides. Toxic lawn pesticides represent an unnecessary and avoidable threat to the health of children and others in our community. The pesticide ban can and should stay in place.” – Thomas Linner, Provincial Director
Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba: “Significant research suggests a link between exposure to these chemicals and neurodevelopmental toxicity. Exposure to even small amounts of these pesticides carries a risk of impairing healthy brain development, ultimately leading to an increased risk of developing a neurodevelopmental disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, IQ deficits, autism. We strongly encourage the Manitoba Government to keep the current pesticide legislation in place, for the sake of our children’s health and education.” – Karen Velthuys, Executive Director
Winnipeg Humane Society: “The Winnipeg Humane Society has supported restrictions on cosmetic uses of pesticides since regulations were first introduced in Manitoba. Animals are subject to many of the same health risks as humans when exposed to chemical pesticides on lawns and boulevards. Provincial restrictions on non-essential pesticides should remain in place to protect family pets and all animal species from these preventable health risks.” – Jessica Miller, CEO
Bill 22, now before the Manitoba Legislature, would weaken provincial pesticide restrictions by allowing lawn care companies, municipalities and homeowners to use currently prohibited pesticides on public and residential lawns. The bill is set to come to a vote in the Legislature in the fall of 2022. (Update – As noted at the top of this post, the bill was passed in the Legislature and proclaimed as law on November 3, 2022.)
TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
- Tell the provincial government and your MLA that you want to maintain restrictions on non-essential uses of pesticides to protect Manitobans from unnecessary health and environmental risks.
- Share the link to this web site to let others know what’s at stake if proposed changes become law.
- Write a Letter to the Editor saying why you feel that cosmetic pesticide restrictions should not be loosened.