Who we are Emily McMillan Director Atlantic Canada Chapter Sierra Club of Canada Halifax Andrea Peart Director Health and Environment Sierra Club of Canada Ottawa
Menu • Tool Kits • Background Statistics • Pesticide Registration • PMRA • Children’s Health • Lawn Care Pesticides • Pesticide By-laws and the Law • Paving the Way, the 4 Basics • Dos & Don’ts • Breakout Groups
Homeowners annually apply 5.5-12.5 kg of pesticides per hectare of lawn which is higher than the rate per unit area in most agricultural areas by a factor of up to 5.
One study showed the average urban Canadian applying 9kg of pesticide/acre compared to 2kg of pesticides / acre for soybean farmers.
The Quebec Poison Control Centre and the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Wildlife released statistics on pesticide poisoning in 1996. They reported a staggering 1,650 poisoning cases. 79.4% of the cases were in private homes, and 46.1% of the victims were children under age five. 31% of these cases were due to oral ingestion, and 34.9% followed a pesticide application.
Herbicide exposure before one year of age increases a child’s risk of asthma by over four and a half times.
Research has indicated that parents who use pesticides in the home once or twice a week were nearly 2.5 times as likely to have children with non-Hodgekin’s lymphoma, if pesticides were used on a more daily basis, children were 7 times more likely to experience the cancer.
A Los Angeles study indicated parents’ use of pesticides on the lawn or garden during pregnancy was associated with a 5.6 fold increase in childhood leukemia.
The use of professional pest control services at any time from 1 year before birth to 3 years after was associated with a significantly increased risk of childhood leukemia.
Pesticide Registration • Pesticides are registered in Canada by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), which is part of Health Canada • The mandate of the PMRA is both to register new pesticides and re-evaluate old ones
Does registered mean safe? • NO • Health Canada won’t let you say that registered means safe
Safety tests are inadequate • Test for acute not chronic • Subjects are exposed over short not long periods of time • Use healthy adult male subjects, not elderly, pregnant, ill or pesticide sensitive subjects • Test for single chemicals only • Don’t test the entire product, only the active ingredient • Talk more about testing later
Health Risks of Pesticide Use • Brain, breast, stomach, prostate & testicular cancer • childhood leukemia • endocrine disruption (endometriosis, reduced fertility, breast cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer) • Parkinson’s disease • Learning disabilities • Reduced intellectual abilities and neurotoxicity
How does this apply to lawns? • Homeowners annually apply 5 times the amount of pesticides per acre than is used agriculturally • Pesticide use for aesthetic purposes aren’t necessary • They drift and interfere with the right of neighbours to be safe and healthy in their own homes
Common landscape pesticides In the home and garden the most common pesticides in Canada are: • 2,4-D • Glyphosate • Imidacloprid • Carbaryl & • Diazinon
Chemical fact sheets on the most popular lawn care chemicals are available at: www.sierraclub.ca
Background Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
PMRA • 405 old pesticides contained in thousands of commercial products that the PMRA pledged to re-evaluate by 2006 • By 2004, the PMRA had completed 61 of 405 • Of the 61 completed 53 were taken off the market.
Slow re-evaluations • Eg. the re-evaluation of DEET, the widely used insect repellent, began in 1990 • The re-evaluation took 12 years and was not completed until 2002 • At that time the use of DEET was substantially restricted.
Inerts • Over 3700 ingredients can legally be concealed in pesticides • Can make up 97% of the product • Can contain other pesticides • Can be more toxic than active ingredients • Aren’t tested by the PMRA • Are considered ‘trade secrets’
Synergistic effects Pesticides are tested one by one in labs. Pesticides are not tested in combination, although their synergistic effects may be amplified as much as 1000 times.
We don’t live in labs we live in the real world where people are frequently exposed to multiple pesticides.
Body Burden • A Centres for Disease Control study of the body burden of over 9,000 people in the US found that out of 34 pesticides tested for, the average American had 13 different pesticides in their body. • Fact that North Americans have multiple pesticides in their bodies indicates a dramatic failure of government to regulate pesticides
Risk Management Model • Hasn’t been effective at predicting the ecological and health effects • Has trouble calculating subtler, less quantifiable risks • What can’t be quantified is excluded from the risk analysis • the Russian Roulette example
Precautionary Principle • When there is reason to believe that a pesticide can cause harm • Even if there is not conclusive evidence to prove a causal relationship • We should do more research and take preventative measures
Children • Children are particularly sensitive to pesticides
Children • Children eat more food, drink more water & breathe more air per kg body weight • Have underdeveloped immune systems • Play where pesticides are • Demonstrate hand to mouth behaviour
Background Lawn care
Lawn care pesticides aren’t safe You’re going to hear a lot of people who will tell you that lawn care pesticides are safe. This is a lie.
Healthy Lawns Healthy lawns? There are safe practical alternatives…. It just doesn’t make sense to put people in our community’s health at risk when there are other options!
Healthy Lawn Tips Healthy Lawn Tips • mow high (3 inches) • mow often enough that only 1/3rd is removed at a time and leave the clippings • water deeply (a nice deep water once a week – don’t overdo it!) • Aerate once a year • Fertilize twice a year with organic non-chemical fertilizer – DON’T OVERFERTILIZE
The Hudson Decision The Hudson Supreme Court Decision as well as the federal Minister of Health have expressed that municipalities do not only have the right but the responsibility to protect the health of its citizens.
Significance of Hudson • The Hudson Supreme Court decision supersedes all other municipal acts - we just need someone to change them
Right to spray and the law • Although someone may have the right to spray pesticides on their property people also have the right not to have pesticides on their property. • If we allow the cosmetic use of pesticides that right to not have pesticides on your lawn or in your body is infringed upon.
Pesticides know no boundaries or property lines. • They drift (225 ft. radius) they eventually end up in our rain, in our drinking water and our bodies.
Components of a Great By-law • Lots of public education and involvement • A complete phase-out of the cosmetic use of pesticides • No permit systems • A membership in on organic standards board • Complaint-based enforcement
Paving the way The four basics
1. Form a Group & Make Allies • Start a Health initiative community group working towards a pesticide phaseout • Make Allies – parent groups, women’s groups, allergy associations, Dads, doctors, daycares, Moms, school principals, professors, Canada post employees, pet owners... • Keep a database of their names, addresses and phone numbers.
2. Be patient and polite From the start be VERY polite, listen, don’t talk at people and be patient – it can be difficult sometimes but always be polite and patient.
3. Collect Letters • One of the first priorities is to collect letters of support for a by-law from doctors in your municipality.
4. Develop Materials • Another priority is to develop materials such as: • postcards • pledges • petitions • Dear parents letters • sample letters for doctors • fact sheets • information booklets • buttons