Canadians Against Pesticides
New City of Ottawa proposes
Interim Pesticide Reduction Policy Community Groups applaud-Committee debates May 3
MEDIA RELEASE - Friday, April 27, 2001
Community groups concerned with the health effects of pesticide use today applaud the recommendations on pesticide use coming from the City's Health, Recreation and Social Services Committee.
The City staff report is recommending that, until a permanent policy can be designed, the new city should continue the pesticide policy of the former regional government. Under that policy the goal is to reduce to the minimum the use of pesticides on city property.
A key point in the policy is the clear statement that "in no case will aesthetic considerations be deemed sufficient to warrant the use of chemical pesticides on City property."
"Is the beautification of our public and private green spaces, through pesticide use, worth the grave health threat it poses to the population, especially children?" asks Bernard Frazer of Canadians Against Pesticides. "In growing numbers, cities and towns are answering, No."
The interim policy will eventually be replaced with a more permanent pesticide use policy. Ottawa residents from a number of community groups expressed support for the procedure that has been put into place to develop that permanent policy, which will make health concerns the first and foremost priority in policy making.
"We need to listen to our family doctors and our Health Department, rather than to those who pretend that science knows everything. Science doesn't," said John Sankey, a member of the Pesticide Education Network.
The comments from a wide range of citizen groups underline the fact that the health concerns from pesticide use are so serious and so widespread that there is no reasonable alternative to this policy. Issues of special concern are exposure of children to toxins on public playgrounds, sports fields and parkland, the health problems of a significant proportion of our population because of age, allergies and environmental hypersensitivities, and the danger to pets from the use of toxic chemicals.
"Pesticides disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of society - the elderly, young children, and pregnant women," adds Doug Perkins of DPEnvironmental Consulting. "Cosmetic and unnecessary use of pesticides puts everyone at continuous risk."
Many of those commenting on today's announcement noted that there are many alternatives to chemical use for controlling pests and noxious weeds.
"We have many knowledgeable people in the community and I want to make sure their expertise is heard on this issue. The City is moving forward with an interim policy that joins the ground swell of municipal concerns on this issue. I will work with community groups to make sure that the permanent policy is even better," says Alex Cullen, City Councillor for Bay Ward.
The text of the Committee's recommendations are available to the public on the City's website at www.city.ottawa.on.ca
Health, Recreation and Social Services Committee will be debating this issue on May 3, 2001. All those interested in this issue are encouraged to attend. For details please call Alex Cullen's office at 580-2477, or the City Clerk at 580-2424 ext. 21622.
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For more quotes see next pages For more information, please contact Mike Christie, 228-7499 or John Sankey, 748-0317
Barbara McElgunn: Health Policy Officer, Learning Disabilities Association of Canada
(Contact: Barbara McElgunn, telephone (416) 281-9676)
"Many lawn use pesticides were registered a long time ago when cancer and acute effects were the prime concern. As evidence increases on their bioaccumulation, and their effects on hormonal, immune, and nervous systems, it is recognized that old regulations may not be sufficiently protective, especially to children. We should be taking a precautionary approach on the non-essential use of pesticides."
Hassan Yussuff: Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress
(Contact: Dave Bennett, telephone (613) 526-7418) "The CLC, as a leading member of the Campaign for Pesticide Reduction (CPR), fully supports the moves by the City of Ottawa towards a community completely free of the cosmetic use of chemical pesticides and with severe restrictions on other uses. The City of Ottawa is on a track paved by progressive communities such as Hudson, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia. As well as protecting human health and the environment, these moves will help protect the health of children, who are particularly vulnerable to the health dangers of chemical pesticides."
Doug Perkins: DPEnvironmental Consulting
(Contact: Doug Perkins, telephone (613) 741-0197)
"Pesticides disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of society - the elderly, young children, and pregnant women. Cosmetic or unnecessary use of pesticides puts everyone at continuous risk."
----------------- Hank Jones: President, Eastern Chapter Society of Ontario Nut Growers
(Contact: Hank Jones, telephone (613) 231-4224) "Most healthy trees in our area depend on soil fungi to absorb nutrients. Killing them will harm, perhaps even kill, a healthy tree. Save Our Trees means skip those lawn fungicides!" Alex Cullen: Councillor Bay Ward, City of Ottawa
(Contact: Alex Cullen, telephone (613) 580-2477)
"It will be a priority for me over the next few months to make sure that all the alternatives to the use of toxins on City property are put before City officials working on the permanent pesticide use policy. We have many knowledgeable people in the community and I want to make sure their voices are heard on this issue. The City is moving forward with an interim policy that joins the groundswell of municipal concerns on this issue. I will work with community groups to make sure that the permanent policy is even better."
Don Houston: Director Environmental Programs, Canadian Institute of Child Health
(Contact: Don Houston, telephone (613) 230-8838, ext. 231)
"There is no reason to use chemicals on most parks. The dandelions and the clover that are called weeds harm no-one, while the chemicals that are used to kill them may cause significant harm to humans, especially to children who are the most vulnerable and most innocent"
Bernard Frazer: Director, Canadians Against Pesticides
(Contact: Bernard Frazer, telephone (613) 225-3673)
"Is the beautification of our public and private green spaces, through pesticide use, worth the grave health threat it poses to the population, especially children? In growing numbers, cities and towns are answering, No."
The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
(Contact: telephone (613) 235-2273)
"We believe that the best means to accomplish the goal of eliminating routine pesticide use is as follows: through all levels of government working steadily toward the abandonment of all synthetic pesticide use except in rare, urgent, critical situations, and through the Federal government and its regulators immediately moving towards a legislated end to cosmetic pesticide use within two years, as similarly recommended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. (Cosmetic uses encompass lawn and decorative garden management, and the noncommercial growing of food crops.)"
John Sankey: Pesticide Education Network, retired senior research officer, NRC
(Contact: John Sankey, telephone (613) 748-0317 Information:
"The scientific method is, to date, inadequate to deal with the toxicity of pesticides to real people with real health problems. Indeed it is inadequate to deal with long-term health effects even to people in perfect health. We will need totally new models of toxicity before that will change. Until that time, we need to listen to our family doctors and our Health Department, rather than to those who pretend that science knows everything. Science doesn't."
Mike Christie: Co-Chair, Health Dangers of Urban Use of Pesticides
(Contact: Mike Christie, telephone (613) 228-7499)
"Most of the pesticides used on urban lawns and playgrounds were registered more than 20 years ago. It was not expected then that they would be widely used where our children play every day, but they are still registered as if they had been properly evaluated for the way they are now used. The federal/multinational process of re-evaluation is too cumbersome. Cities and their residents need to take direct action, now."
Judy Grant: Mayor, Chelsea (Quebec)
(Contact: Sharron Cosgrove, Sustainable Development Officer, telephone (819) 827-1124)
"I strongly encourage the implication of the City's Medical Officer of Health in the development of an Integrated Pesticide Use Policy. As we are becoming more and more aware, the use of pesticides is directly linked to numerous health issues. As we continue to gain momentum and consolidate our efforts to eliminate these harmful chemicals in our environment, we contribute to a healthier and better quality of life for our communities!" -----------------
Rebecca Aird: Board member, EnviroCentre
(Contact: Andrew Hay, Marketing Manager, telephone (613) 244-5300, ext. 3765)
"This initiative lends strong credibility to the EnviroCentre's work to wean homeowners away from a dependence on pesticides, through direct education on practical alternatives."
The Crystal Beach and Lakeview Breathe Deeply Campaign (Contact: Kirsten Devenny, telephone (613) 721-6218)
"We are in total agreement with HDUUP's position: human health should be the primary focus of any pesticide regulation. We believe that the wording used in the proposed Pest Management Policy is open to some variation in interpretation and therefore support the changes suggested by HDUUP. Human health concerns are of first priority, aesthetics should always be the last. Our children are the future: NOT weed free lawns!!!! We also approve of HDUUP's suggestion that the focus of this policy should be on the control of pesticide use rather than pest management."
John Hachey: Councillor, Lachine, Quebec Chair, Federation of Canadian Municipalities Environmental Issues Committee (Contact: Sherri Watson, telephone (613) 792-1357)
"FCM applauds the stand taken by the new city of Ottawa. The new city of Ottawa has responded to the needs of its citizens. FCM promotes the use of integrated pest management policies by cities as a minimum in the development of a city-wide sustainable development and environmental policy."
HRSS (Health, Recreation and Social Services) Committee Members
HRSS (Health, Recreation and Social Services) Committee Members
1. Alex Munter, Chair - 580-2474 -
2. Elisabeth Arnold, Vice-Chair - 580-2484 -
3. Ranier Bloess - 580-2472 -
4. Alex Cullen - 580-2477 -
5. Rick Chiarelli - 580-2478 -
6. Diane Deans - 580-2480 -
7. Clive Doucet - 580-2487 -
8. Dwight Eastman - 580-5475 -
9. Shawn Little - 580-2485 -
Monique Beauregard Committee Coordinator: -
580-2424, ext. 21622, - Monique.Beauregard@city.ottawa.on.ca
City Council & Committee Agendas & Minutes http://www.city.ottawa.on.ca/serv/monitorco
The report on the pesticide use policy for the City of Ottawa will come before the HRSS (Health, Recreation and Social Services) Committee on Thursday, May 3, 2001. The meeting will be held in the Champlain Room starting at 9:30 a.m.
The agenda and the report will be made available on the City's website at www.city.ottawa.on.ca on Friday, April 27th.
The following information may be useful:
Letters: If you wish to have it included in the agenda package, please submit your letter 1 week prior to April 27th. You can mail your letter to: Monique Beauregard, Committee Coordinator, Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1. You can also submit your letter on the day itself, May 3rd, but please make 15 copies and it will be distributed to the Councillors and staff.
Presentations: If you wish to make a presentation you can register on the day itself, May 3rd. However they do appreciate knowing in advance how many presentations there will be. You can call Monique at 580-2424, ext. 21622 to register. Your presentation should not be more than 5 minutes and there is no need to submit a written copy of your presentation.