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Report compares provincial policies and identifies best models

Montreal — Some of the safest lawns and gardens in the country can be found in Ontario and Nova Scotia, thanks to strong laws that ban the use of cosmetic pesticides. A report released by the David Suzuki Foundation and Equiterre today also finds that Quebec, the first province in the country to have a ban, is now lagging behind.

"There is a new standard for protecting human health and the environment from lawn and garden pesticides," says David Suzuki Foundation environmental health policy analyst Lisa Gue. "Provincial governments across the country should draw on these models to reduce needless exposures."

Ontario and Nova Scotia ranked highest because their bans focus on allowing access to a credible list of products that present a lower risk to human health. They also have a large number of pesticides which are prohibited, and the bans apply beyond lawns to all aspects of landscaping. However, there is room for improvement as both models offer exemptions that could be better controlled or even eliminated.

Quebec was the first province to ban lawn pesticides, in 2003, but it now appears third in the rankings. Among the provinces with more comprehensive cosmetic pesticide bans, New Brunswick and P.E.I. have the most limited approach, given that only one active pesticide ingredient is banned, and only in lawn pesticides. Alberta's approach, a more limited restriction on "weed and feed" herbicide-fertilizer mixtures is even weaker.

"Quebec used to be a leader in protecting health and the environment from cosmetic pesticide use, but now we've fallen behind other provinces," says Sidney Ribaux from Equiterre. "To reclaim our leadership position, we need to update our regulations."

Today's progress report, Pesticide Free? Oui!, presents a comparative analysis of the policies in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Alberta. B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland have yet to enact bans and so do not appear in the report.

While provincial cosmetic pesticide bans generally share a common purpose — protecting health and/or the environment from needless exposure to pesticides — the approach varies considerably from province to province.

The New Brunswick government has pledged to review its pesticide legislation by 2011. No process has yet been announced.

A complete copy of the report can be downloaded at http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/reports/2011/pesticide-free-oui-2011/ or Equiterre.

Read a BC specific version of this release. (PDF)

For more information, contact:

Lisa Gue, Environmental Health Policy Analyst (613) 594-5428
Leanne Clare, Communications Specialist, (613) 594-5410
Eveline Trudel-Fugère, Media Officer, (514) 605-2000

May 17, 2011

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