Broad, unqualified claims are “unacceptable” under Health Canada directive
April 24, 2023 – Members of Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba are objecting to the claim by a Winnipeg lawn care company that a weed control product used by the company is safe for children and pets. The claim appears to breach advertising guidelines set by the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency, say members of CPBM.
In brochures distributed to some Winnipeg households, Lawn Man is advertising the use of Par III herbicide for weed control on residential lawns, now that the provincial cosmetic pesticide ban has been lifted by the Manitoba government. The brochures indicate that the herbicide is “safe for children and pets.”
Section 3.3.3 of Health Canada’s Regulatory Directive 2016-01, Guidelines for the Advertising of Pest Control Products, states: “Broad unqualified claims such as “safe” or “safe for indoor use” are unacceptable.”
“Clearly, Lawn Man is misleading the public with its broad safety claim for this product with no qualifying information,” said Anne Lindsey, a coalition member. “Their campaign of direct mailing their sales brochure with the words “Par III weed control is back” followed by the deceptive “Safe for Children and Pets” message may lead to far greater use of this product in Winnipeg neighbourhoods and unnecessary, dangerous exposures for children and pets.”
A coalition member has filed formal complaints with Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and with the Advertising Standards Council of Canada.
Par III is a mixture of three synthetic pesticides: 2,4-D, mecoprop-p and dicamba. Use of the product on residential lawns was prohibited under the former provincial cosmetic pesticide ban owing to concerns around risks to human health – particularly children’s health – and the environment. “Even though this product is registered for use by Health Canada, there are rules regarding advertising and strict adherence to the label provisions,” Lindsey noted.
A province-wide poll last fall found 57 per cent of Winnipeggers in favour of cosmetic pesticide restrictions. Only 30 per cent wanted the restrictions lifted.