pesticides resources (2)

Organizations supporting legislation banning the cosmetic use of pesticides
Registered Nurses Association of Ontario
Canadian Cancer Society
Ontario College of Family Physicians
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Ontario Public Health Association
World Wildlife Fund Canada
Organization of Pest Control St Catharines Professionals
CAW London Regional Environment Council
CAW Local 4451 Environment Committee
Canadian Medical Association
Federation of University Women
Catholic Women’s League

Position Papers
Ontario Public Health Association

OPHA Resolution on the Non-Essential Use of Chemical Pesticides on Public and Private Lands


WHEREAS the protection of human and environmental health should be the absolute priority in pest management, especially the protection of children and other vulnerable populations;

WHEREAS reports published in the scientific and medical journals point to associations between pesticides and numerous human health effects;

WHEREAS research regarding the impact of pesticide exposure on human health effects is complex, raises methodological difficulties and ethical concerns, making it unlikely that the health effects on humans will ever be clear;

WHEREAS in the absence of conclusive evidence to prove a causal relationship between certain

pesticides and human health, appropriate measures should be taken where there is reason to believe that a pesticide is likely to cause harm (“Precautionary Principle” and where applicable the Health  Protection and Promotion Act s.13 “reasonable and probable grounds that a health hazard exists”);

WHEREAS Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has recognized the need to take action on the use of pesticides in the urban setting by initiating a Healthy Lawn Strategy to help reduce Canadians’ reliance on pesticide use;

WHEREAS of the 7000 pesticides approved for use in Canada many have not been evaluated to account for the vulnerability of children and current standards for risk assessment;

WHEREAS certain pesticides persist in the environment, migrate beyond the application area and have been detected in Ontario’s drinking water supplies, resulting in the general public being inadvertently exposed;

WHEREAS alternative, non-toxic methods of pest prevention (e.g. Integrated Pest Management) exist;

AND WHEREAS the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada upholds the power of

municipal governments to restrict the use of non-essential pesticides within their communities and some communities, including Toronto, Waterloo, and Caledon are engaged in this process.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the OPHA urge Ontario municipalities to restrict the nonessential use of chemical pesticides on public and private lands.

THAT the OPHA urge the three levels of government to work together to strengthen legislation governing pesticide use, reduce the non-essential use of pesticides, educate the public about the health effects and alternatives to chemical pesticides, and promote Integrated Pest Management Strategies.

THAT the OPHA advocate to the MOHLTC for adequate resources for Ontario public health units so that they may act as a resource to municipalities on pesticide reduction initiatives, to educate the public about the health effects of pesticides as outlined in the Mandatory Health Programs and Services Guidelines, Health Hazard Investigation Program.

THAT this resolution be forwarded to the Ontario and Federal Ministers of Health, the Ontario Minister of the Environment, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and Ontario public health departments and Boards of Health.

THAT the OPHA collaborate and network with other health and environmental organizations that support restricting the non-essential use of pesticides, including the Campaign for Pesticide Reduction Ontario.

THAT the OPHA request to meet with the appropriate government bodies at the federal, provincial and local level to express our membership’s concern on this matter, and to request their support to take action to restrict the non-essential use of pesticides.

Ontario College of Family Physicians

Summary of Remarks by Pesticide Research Team Queen’s Park News Conference-April 23, 2004

1. Our review has found evidence of serious harmful effects in several areas including cancer, reproductive effects and impacts on the nervous system. These effects are found in both occupational and home and garden exposures.

2. We intend to use the results of the review to update patient education materials and develop tools for family doctors that will help them to reduce the pesticide exposures of their patients.

We believe family physicians need to use a precautionary approach in informing patients about pesticide-related risks to health. This approach calls for precautionary measures to be taken where there is evidence of harm, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully understood. It also places responsibility on producers and marketers of pesticides to prove their safety, not on the consumer to prove harm. Post-marketing surveillance for health effects is a routine and expected part of drug marketing, and we would like to see pesticide producers taking a leading role in similar studies of pesticides.

3. Last November, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma researchers Hardell and Eriksson published a study to analyze whether the banning of 2,4-D in Sweden 27 years ago had reduced the rate of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma there. Their analysis concluded that 3 to 7.7% of cases of that cancer are attributable to exposure to phenoxyacetic acids (such as 2,4-D) and chlorophenols. This raises the hope that legislation such as the province-wide ban on cosmetic use of pesticides in Quebec could have a positive impact on our patients’ health. We support efforts to reduce exposure to pesticides, such as the Toronto pesticide bylaw, and also support a comprehensive province-wide approach that could include education and legislation.

4. Our review suggests the need for 2 large longitudinal studies:

a) We need to study the pesticide exposures of a group of women intending to become pregnant, follow them through pregnancies,

b) and continue with health studies of their children to learn more about critical times and levels of exposure;

c)  We need to study a large cohort of children to determine their vulnerability to environmental problems including pesticide exposure, similar to the study already underway in the United States.

5. Finally, the leukemia study from Montreal showed that over 40% of children in the Montreal area had a specific genetic vulnerability to the effects of pesticides due to having a genetic makeup that caused them to metabolize pesticides slowly. Given that such a large proportion of society is vulnerable to harmful effects, action to reduce public exposure is justified, and needed.

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Pesticides are among the most widely used chemicals in the world, and also among the most dangerous to human health. They are a leading cause of poisonings here in Canada and have been estimated to account for thousands deaths each year globally.

Pesticides can also have chronic health effects both as sequelae of acute poisonings and from chronic exposure. Many studies have documented adverse health effects on humans. There are several areas of concern.

Many of the commonly used household insecticides are organophosphates. These have been linked in many studies to neurological damage in humans. In fact, chlorpyrifos, a pesticide from this class, was recently banned by the EPA in the US a recent review of the science demonstrated that children have been routinely exposed to unsafe levels.

There is also convincing evidence that pesticides play a role in human cancers. For example, epidemiologic studies have linked exposure to insecticides in the home to development of brain cancer and leukemia in children.

Studies have also documented reproductive abnormalities such as an increased rate of miscarriage in people with chronic exposure to pesticides.

Of particular concern is the effect of pesticides on the health of children: there are several reasons why children are more vulnerable and more widely exposed to pesticides. A report from the National Academy of Sciences in the US (Pesticides in the diets of infants and children, 1993) examined the evidence and came to the conclusion that children have not been adequately protected from pesticides, and recommended changes to regulations and new research and testing to remedy this. The result was the Food Quality Protection Act, passed by US congress in 1996.

In Canada, little has been done to update the regulation of pesticides, despite evidence that it is sorely out of date. A study done by the Ontario College of Family Physicians and the Canadian Environmental Law Association reviewed the evidence and made recommendations about standard setting. The study also provides an excellent summary of the scientific and medical evidence about pesticides and their human health effects.

CAPE has been active in informing the public about the health effects of pesticides, and has worked with other groups to push for legislation that reduces the use of pesticides. CAPE’s position paper on pesticides is available on this web site.
More Information on Pesticides and Health

The Ontario College of Family Physicians Environmental Health Committee has a brochure for family physicians on the topic. The OCFP also has a set of modules based on clinical cases that can be used for self-learning or for teaching other physicians. These are available online for free, including a module on pesticides.

The NPTN has fact sheets on specific pesticides.

Extoxnet is a service provided by several US university toxicology departments with lots of information on pesticides. The US EPA has information on pesticides, and has a whole pesticides program.

Several environmental organizations have excellent Web sites devoted to news, research and advocacy issues about pesticides. PANNA is the American branch and PAN-UK is the UK branch of the Pesticide Action Network

Registered Nurses Association of Ontario

Resolution on Cosmetic Use of Pesticides Passed at April 2000 Annual General Meeting of RNAO:


Submitted by Brant-Haldimand Norfolk Chapter of  RNAO

WHEREAS, nurses are concerned about broad determinants of health, including environmental factors, and;

WHEREAS, the cosmetic use of pesticides has been linked on a co-relational basis to increased levels of specific cancers, asthma, learning difficulties and birth defects yet yields no societal benefit, and;

WHEREAS,  the precautionary principle would urge us to insist on proof of safety rather than waiting for proof of harm,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the RNAO support local chapter initiatives to lobby for municipal by-laws banning the cosmetic use of pesticides through the development of a resource package, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that RNAO lobby the provincial government for provincial legislation

banning the cosmetic use of pesticides.

438 University Avenue, Suite 1600,

Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2K8

phone: 416-599-1925

toll free: 1-800-268-7199 fax: 416-599-1926

Canadian Cancer Society


Ornamental use of pesticides on lawns and gardens
Our position

The Canadian Cancer Society is very concerned about the use of potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances for the purpose of enhancing the appearance of, for example, private gardens and lawns as well as parks, recreational facilities and golf courses (ornamental use). We base this concern on the conclusions of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that state that some substances used in pesticides are classified as known, probable or possible carcinogens. In some cases, evidence linking pesticides and cancer will not be scientifically definitive, but it may be suggestive and growing.

Since ornamental use of pesticides has no countervailing health benefit and has the potential to cause harm, we call for a ban on the use of pesticides on lawns and gardens.

Re-evaluating lawn and turf pesticides

Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Johanne Gélinas, issued a report about managing the safety and accessibility of pesticides. She has some important things to say about delays in re-evaluating lawn and turf pesticides.

Statement of Principles: Environment ONLY ONE EARTH

Our planet faces an environmental crisis of major proportions, one which could challenge our very survival. Unions around the world are striving to address this crisis, while protecting the welfare of working men and women. The CAW is also committed to this task.

In 1987, a highly-publicized United Nations environmental report painted a picture of worldwide degradation. The ‘Brundtland Report’ sent out an alarm for aggressive, coordinated action to begin a recovery, and introduced the idea of ‘sustainable development’. The report challenges working people to reject the corporate choice between jobs and the environment. Workers must have the right to choose both economic security and a healthy environment for ourselves, our families and future generations. To do this, we demand input into setting priorities, determining the degree of regulation over private industry, and deciding who pays for clean up and lifestyle changes.

This is our world – our only home. From space we have seen how fragile our existence really is. Our earth is like a living organism with a failing respiratory system, poisoned bodily fluids and cancerous skin. For greed and profits our world has been sickened and hurt like the bodies of so many workers. We extend the struggle for health and safety outside our workplace – we fight as CAW members for the health and safety of our world.


Corporate priorities are responsible for the degradation of our environment. The CAW, as a major industrial and transportation union, needs to be heard on the environment. As a social union, we are committed to finding just solutions. Emissions of noxious pollutants from cars and trucks – hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide – have helped to create unhealthy cities, acid rain, the greenhouse effect and the depletion of the ozone layer. The CAW is committed to helping develop transportation policies that are environmentally sound, yet will not lead to the destruction of the transportation industry. We support high emission control standards to limit pollutants emitted by automobiles. By taking a stand for a cleaner environment through tougher controls on our employers, we reject the blackmail of choosing job security over the environment.


Workers’ health is not for sale nor is the health of our world and our children’s world. Our fight for a healthy and safe environment is an extension of our long-standing struggle for a safe and healthy workplace. CAW health and safety and environmental committees know that hazards are not confined to the workplace. The chemicals in our water supply and high rates of cancer and birth defects near some industrial sites, are examples of the clear links between the environment in the workplace and the outside community. CAW health and safety and environmental committees will mount a ‘greenwatch’ to ensure that the environment outside their workplace is not damaged. As workers we need to have the right to refuse to pollute! The CAW will fight for ‘whistle blower’ legislation to protect employees who report the crimes of their employers.


We will continue and extend our work with local environmental activists and organizations. Most green activists understand that workers cannot be expected to pay the penalty, through the loss of their jobs, for decades of corporate environmental neglect.

Local union environmental committees and health and safety representatives are the CAW emissaries to the green community, province and country. Our union will continue to provide our voice for change within the house of labour provincially and federally.


The corporate community and their government friends have been fast to capitalize on sincere public concern over the environment. The focus of blame quickly shifted to the responsibility of the individual citizen. While ‘blue box’ solutions can play a role, the real issue is to get to the source of the problem and work towards a global approach to environmental cleanup. Formation of committees at the local level, the development of CAW environmental materials, and the utilization of our CAW Education programs and conferences will all promote worker awareness. Just as health and safety activists have gained the necessary skills and expertise to combat hazards in the workplace, so too worker environmental activists can become leaders in salvaging and restoring our community and world environments.

For CAW members, the battle for a healthier environment is being fought on many fronts; in the workplace, at the bargaining table, in the community and through political activism. The interests of the union and the environmental movements largely coincide and we must work together at each stage on the four R’s of the future: Reduce, Reuse, Recover, Recycle