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Landscape Ontario IGNORES Studies on Pesticide Exposure - August, 2000

A recent 'reprint' of Landscape Ontario's position against the call for a ban on cosmetic-use pesticides in a local paper, troubles me considerably.

First and foremost, LO seems to be under the impression that numerous studies showing direct links between pesticide exposure and a myriad of diseases (including cancers, Parkinson's, neurological/behavioural disorders and fetal anomalies) performed by highly respected medical researchers, are not "good science".

Mr. Roberts (the author of Landscape Ontario's letter) says "... landscape managers view with dismay the targeting our industry by environmental activists who use "safety concerns" rather than good science to move the risk assessment process forward."

The movement to reform pesticide legislation is, in fact, based soley on "good science". The science to which I refer is comprised of studies that have been documented in prestigious medical journals and performed by some of the most respected medical scientists in the world. Such studies include "A Case Study of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma and Exposure To Pesticides" which illustrates a direct link between exposure to Glyphosate(Roundup) and 2-4,D (Weedex, Killex etc.) to non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma published in the Journal of the American Cancer Society Volume 85, Number 6, March 15, 1999 by eminent Swedish oncologists Lennart Hardell, M.D., PhD & Mikael Eriksson, M.D., PhD.

The Leiss & Savitz study "Home Pesticide Use and Childhood Cancer" published in he American Journal of Public Health (85:249-252) also shows a link between pesticide exposure and soft tissue sarcomas like N.H.L., and the J.D.Buckley (et al) paper "Epidemiological characteristics of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia" published in "Leukemia (8(5):856-864 ) demonstrating a direct relationship between exposure to insecticides like Diazinon and childhood Leukemia.

These are but three of innumerable studies making both direct and suspected links between pesticide exposure and potentially fatal illness. Many more studies were referenced in the recent press release "Toxic Top Ten" by Canadians Against Pesticides.

Even our own Ontario College of Family Physicians noted in their own study last Fall, "...Pesticides posed an undeniable risk to Canadian children."

Mr. Roberts seems to believe that environmental activists, like myself, are out to destroy his industry. This is patently ridiculous. As I suggested in a recent letter to MP John Bryden "Lawn-care companies are no strangers to (organic) practices and will not only survive, they will thrive on the re-introduction of these time-honoured and eco/health-friendly solutions." If there weren't an organic solution for every pest problem, I would be concerned. As it stands, however, Mother Nature has already provided us with the best defenses against so-called 'pests'.

It would be prudent of Landscape Ontario to stop looking at pesticide reform as "us against them". Since the heart of this issue is human health, it would, presumably, affects us all equally.

-Bernard Frazer, Canadians Against Pesticides