Shortly after I read the letter to the editor by the chair of the Cancer Society (re: Pesticide Concerns, September 4th, 2013) urging the health minister and premier to ban cosmetic pesticides because "they provide no health benefit, but rather may increase the risk of developing cancer," I was told that a daycare and kindergarten in my community spray their lawn with cosmetic pesticides (but not in the enclosed area) and I felt physically sick to my stomach.
People I’ve spoken with, upon learning that P.E.I.’s cosmetic pesticide ban that took over two years to enact was, in fact, a ban of just one chemical, have been outraged. The provincial government listened to hundreds of presentations on the dangers of cosmetic pesticides, but chose only to ban one chemical, 2-4-D (although golf courses and farmers can still use it).
I can’t imagine there would be a single person who would still spray their lawn after hearing from a scientist (retired UPEI Dean of Science, Roger Gordon’s letter: Re: P.E.I. should ban cosmetic pesticides, Aug 29, 2013) or from the chair of the P.E.I. Cancer Society, about how dangerous these chemicals are, especially to children. But they aren’t the first to confirm this. This has gotten to be an old message, and a painstakingly old fight.
Many people think a government wouldn’t allow such a thing to happen in this day and age, spraying toxic chemicals near children, but in P.E.I. where we have become known for our disturbingly high cancer rates, it happens frequently. Schools, sports fields, and playgrounds all subjected to pesticide drift (Google it if you don’t know what it is).
Come on, P.E.I. This is urgent. Do the right thing and put the proper laws in place to ban these carcinogenic chemicals. Just look at Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland or even Manitoba’s new laws. Islanders would love to join the 22 million people across Canada who aren’t exposed to cosmetic pesticides. That’s what we expected you to do years ago. Do the right thing now.
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