Crop Life incorrect on many counts

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: Please allow me the opportunity to respond to Mr. Ted Menzies, one-time farmer and former Conservative MP, now president of Crop Life, who critiqued my guest opinion piece in the Guardian (May 2, 2014) with a missive (Guardian: May 7, 2014) that was replete with incorrect information.

First, I was surprised to learn from Mr. Menzies that cosmetic pesticides (which his organization disingenuously refers to as “urban” ones) are sprayed to control rats and mosquitoes. I know of nobody who sprays their lawn for such a purpose.

Second, he accuses me of “cherry-pick(ing) information.” Au contraire, Mr. Menzies. It is evident that you did not read my letter closely. I deliberately cited “meta-analyses.” These are critical reviews of the primary literature undertaken by expert scientists. Provided that the experimental protocol and statistical analyses were conducted with rigor, all relevant studies are included. The data still present cosmetic pesticides as being a significant risk to human health.

Third, he refers to the process by which Health Canada approves these pesticides as constituting a “rigorous regulatory system.”  Oh, really? Well, it is a regulatory system that relies upon the chemical companies with a vested interest in marketing their product to provide in the first instance, the scientific justification for health and safety.

Last but by no means least, Mr. Menzies makes the astonishing claim that cancer rates in Canada are declining. This flies in the face of reality. In a recent study based on Stats Canada data the authors concluded: “Statistically significant increases in prevalence proportions were observed for most individual cancers, and most prevalence durations studied.” If Mr. Menzies were to further his curiosity, he would discover that P.E.I. has the highest overall cancer rate among men and second highest mortality rate among women.

With all due respect, Mr. Menzies, if you wish to take me to task, please check out your facts first.

Roger Gordon,


(former Dean of Science at UPEI)

Organizations: Health Canada, Stats Canada

Geographic location: Canada, P.E.I.

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