Roger Gordon presents a compelling case for concern about cosmetic pesticides (Re: P.E.I. should ban cosmetic pesticides, Aug 29, 2013). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shares this concern. In 2012, the AAP published a report that synthesizes more than 150 research studies looking at pesticide exposure in children. They concluded “Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.” With respect to cancer, evidence points to insecticides and their role in the risk of developing brain tumors and acute lymphocytic leukemia in children. The insecticide, carbaryl, and the herbicide, mecoprop, which Dr. Gordon mentions are both banned in Ontario along with more than 20 other cosmetic pesticides. Closer to home, in Nova Scotia, more than 15 pesticides are banned. However, in P.E.I. only 1 pesticide is restricted, 2,4-D. The impact of this is obviously limited given the more than 200 pesticide based products available.
The Canadian Cancer Society, along with the Medical Society of P.E.I., continues to call for a ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides. They provide no health benefit, but rather may increase the risk of developing cancer. The only way to effectively minimize the risk to our children here on P.E.I. is to enact a province-wide ban of all cosmetic pesticide products. We ask Premier Ghiz and Minister Currie to demonstrate leadership on this issue. We encourage all Islanders to put the health of their children and their neighbour’s children ahead of their grass.
Dr. Bill Whelan
Chair, Board of Directors,
Canadian Cancer Society,
Prince Edward Island