Vancouver — An unprecedented coalition of 18 health and environment organizations is urging the BC government to "go for gold" and pass leading-edge legislation to ban the use and sale of cosmetic pesticides. The coalition released a five-point statement calling for new legislation to prohibit the use and sale of these toxic lawn and garden chemicals.
The coalition statement points to the health and environmental concerns associated with needless pesticide use and highlights the success of cosmetic pesticide bans in Quebec and Ontario. The statement is available at www.toxicfreecanada.ca and www.cancer.ca/bc
The coalition includes health and environmental authorities such as:
• the Public Health Association of BC;
• West Coast Environmental Law;
• the Canadian Cancer Society;
• Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment;
• Toxic Free Canada; and,
• David Suzuki Foundation.
A full list of coalition members is attached.
"We want legislation that meets or beats the strongest protections in place in other provinces," says Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, BC & Yukon "BC's current approach is inadequate because it continues to allow the use of pesticides to improve the appearance of lawns and gardens. B.C. has an opportunity to demonstrate national leadership by adopting the strongest cosmetic pesticide ban in Canada."
Last month the provincial government initiated an on-line consultation on potential statutory measures to protect the environment from cosmetic chemical pesticides.
"With each new month, new evidence comes forward citing the link between pesticides and cancer, birth defects, and neurological illness," says Warren Bell, MD, and past founding president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). "Children are at greatest risk".
76% of British Columbians are in favor of provincial pesticide legislation and last fall the Union of British Columbia Municipalities also called for a provincial ban.
"With such broad-based support, the province has a golden opportunity to lead on this issue," says Mae Burrows, executive director of Toxic-Free Canada. "The coalition is calling for new pesticide legislation to be passed this year and fully implemented by 2011."
"We are joining together today to call for a comprehensive provincial ban, with exemptions only where necessary to protect health and safety," says Lisa Gue, Environmental Health Policy Analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation. "If the coalition's recommendations are followed, BC will have the most health-protective pesticide legislation in Canada."
INVITATION TO MEDIA: The Canadian Cancer Society is hosting the Vancouver Premiere of "A Chemical Reaction", a documentary that tells the story of the Canadian movement to ban lawn and garden pesticides on January 20, 2010 7:00pm at the Park Theatre 3440 Cambie Street (at 18th Avenue), Vancouver. Following the screening there will be an expert panel discussion with Paul Tukey, executive producer of the film.
Backgrounder1. List of 18 coalition group members
Backgrounder2: Joint Statement issued by coalition of18 Health and Environment Groups — attached
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For more information:
Mae Burrows, Executive Director, Toxic-Free Canada (604) 916-9026
Catherine Loiacono, Media Relations Manager, Canadian Cancer Society, BC/Yukon (604) 675-7340
Lisa Gue, Environmental Health Policy Analyst, the David Suzuki Foundation (613) 594-5428
Backgrounder 1: List of 18 coalition group members
Endorsing organizations include:
• BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition/First Call
• Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
• Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
• Canadian Cancer Society, BC & Yukon
• David Suzuki Foundation
• Inspire Health
• Learning Disabilities Association of BC
• The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada
• Lung Association of BC
• Public Health Association of BC
• Sierra Club of BC
• Society Promoting Environmental Conservation
• Society for Society for Organic Urban Land Care
• Toxic Free Canada
• Wilderness Committee
• West Coast Environmental Law