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OTTAWA — Ontario has set a new standard for protecting citizens and the environment against harmful lawn and garden pesticides. Hundreds of toxic chemicals will be pulled off store shelves by this spring thanks to regulations announced today under the Cosmetic Pesticide Act.

"We congratulate the Ontario government for raising the bar on protecting people and the environment from needless pesticide exposure," says Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. "Ontario should be commended for putting the health and opinions of its citizen first and resisting the powerful lobbying of chemical companies. I hope this action will stimulate a discussion about the role of chemicals from all sources in our lives."

Ontario's new regulations surpass existing restrictions on pesticides in Quebec — the only other province that bans lawn chemicals.

Today's announcement will pull more than 250 toxic pesticides off store shelves by the end of April. The Cosmetic Pesticide Act was originally passed last June and recognizes that the 'cosmetic' use of pesticides to improve the appearance of lawns and gardens presents health and environmental risks. Today's announcement specifies exactly which pesticides will be pulled from store shelves and when the ban will take effect.

"Now that the details of Ontario's ban have been finalized, the province needs to follow through with a comprehensive public education campaign," says Lisa Gue, environmental health policy analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation. "The government also needs to put in place a robust and effective enforcement program to ensure its success."

There are areas for improvement in the legislation. For instance, golf courses are exempt from the ban and sale restrictions on certain products will not take effect for two years.

The Suzuki Foundation challenges other provinces to "meet or beat" Ontario's ban on cosmetic pesticides to ensure a high standard of protection for human health and the environment across the country.

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For more information, contact:

Leanne Clare
Communications Specialist
Office: (613) 594-5410
Cell: (613) 286-0182

Lisa Gue
Environmental Health Policy Analyst
Office: (613) 594-5428
Cell: (613) 796-7699

March 4, 2009