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Pesticide Rules Aren't Protecting Our Kids

In an April 8th letter to the editor, Darcy Olds lashed back at citizens concerned about the use of pesticides on Hamilton City property and elsewhere.

Mr. Olds attempted to support the continued use of toxins on public & private lands via an outrageously limp argument.

Mr. Olds' argument was primarily based on a significant change in 'aesthetic' in Ottawa parks after the elimination of herbicides as a landscape management tool.

Small--minded, business oriented perspectives such as this are, unfortunately, what created our current disastrous environmental dilemna.

In a speech to the U.S. Senate on October 13, 1999, Jay Feldman (Exec. Dir., 'Beyond Pesticides") pointed to a variety of studies that speak clearly to the issue of the toxic effects of lawn herbicides/pesticides on humans (esp. to children).

"...exposure to phenoxy herbicides (2,4-Dmecoprop, MCPA, all of which are major lawn pesticides) have been linked with ...cancers of the lymphatic and blood systems..." "Women... exposed to atrazine, another major lawn herbicide, were nearly three times more likely to suffer ovarian cancer..."

These are only two of numerous statements Mr. Feldman makes about the highly toxic effects of pesticide use by the lawn care industry (all of which are culled from credible scientific studies.)

The bottom line is that our children are at highest risk. As Mr Feldman notes " Children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and are less able to detoxify toxic chemicals. Low levels of pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune and endocrine system."

Mr. Olds' notion that our parks and playgrounds will turn into vast wastelands is absurd.

Yes, we need to thoroughly reconsider our landscape management practices. Yes, we must foster a new aesthetic paradigm.

Noone expects to successfully alter a 50 year tradition of (mis-)management without a few bumps and grinds. But the question remains, what is your priority?
Is it the pursuit of a perfectly green, weedless, uninspired playground/park/lawn and, thus, a potentially sick child? Or do you prefer a greenspace that requires hard work, imagination and some aesthetic sacrifice... and, in return, a healthy, happy child?

You decide.

Please read Jay Feldman's speech to the U.S. Senate at:

-Bernard Frazer