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Strength of new ban rests on forthcoming regulations

OTTAWA - Today's passage of a law banning lawn and garden pesticide sales throughout Ontario puts the province on the path to better health and a cleaner environment.

"We are delighted that the sale of these toxic chemicals will be illegal in Ontario, once this new law takes effect next spring," says Lisa Gue, environmental health policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation. "We all know that pulling these products from store shelves is the best way to ensure that they won't be used."

The Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act prohibits the sale and use of pesticides on lawns and gardens throughout the province. The 'cosmetic' use of pesticides to improve the appearance of lawns and gardens presents health and environmental risks.

Important details of Ontario's new ban will be finalized in the coming months as the government develops regulations. The regulations will specify, for example, which pesticides will be prohibited and any exemptions to the ban. The David Suzuki Foundation calls on the province to match or exceed the protections offered by the strongest pesticide bylaws already in place in cities such as Toronto and Peterborough.

Unfortunately, because the government rejected some key amendments to the Cosmetic Pesticide Act, the legislation prevents cities and towns from enforcing restrictions on pesticide use that extend beyond the scope of the provincial ban.

"The strength of a province-wide ban largely rests on whether the government guards against potential loopholes and prohibits as many harmful pesticides as the province's leading cities," says Ms. Gue. "The Ontario government has the opportunity to set a new national standard for protecting the environment and human health against the toxic effects of unnecessary pesticides."

Ontario becomes the second province to restrict the use and sale of cosmetic pesticides. Quebec banned many lawn pesticides in 2003.

For more information contact:
Lisa Gue
Environmental Health Policy Analyst
David Suzuki Foundation
Office: (613) 594-5428
Cell: (613) 796-7699

June 18, 2008