Monday, April 21, 2008

Province-wide pesticide ban coming

Dalton McGuinty will be introducing legislation tomorrow as the first step towards a province-wide pesticide ban.

Reader Ruth tipped me off on this, and expresses concern about people with weed allergies.

I want to know what the penalties will be and how much of a bureaucracy will need to be created to police it.

And will all pesticides be banned from store shelves?

A lawn can get wiped out by cinchbug or grubs in a matter of weeks. If we lose our lawns, then the cities will heat up even more, and we will also lose an important source of carbon dioxide absorption.

Reader Fred had a great suggestion a while ago:

Leave pesticides to the professionals (lawn care companies) and take them off the store shelves. This would reduce improper pesticide use greatly. The people who know pesticides (University of Guelph) say they are safe if used properly. Let's trust them (we have to believe someone) and not the fanatics who use junk science in their argument against good products.


Sounds good to me, Fred.

* * * *
Update: Can someone please explain to me why golf courses will be exempt?


I'm not doing an Earth Day post per say, but please check out ChuckerCanuk for an excellent piece on how our highly-esteemed Elections Canada is not being very responsible about its carbon footprint. Tsk-tsk.

Chucker, you rock!

National Post - Why Ontario's pesticide ban bugs me (and may bug you too).

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heh... I stopped using chemicals of any sort on my property when I got my first Yorkshire Terrier (got three of them now). Them doggies are kinda low to the ground and I didn't want to expose them to anything that needs a sign saying "Don't step on the grass for 48 hours"... considering the grass in the backyard is their romper room and general pissoir. In the meantime, my front lawn died to grubs - it's now a lovely low maintenance expanse of herbs, bushes, ground cover and rock - much prettier than a lawn, no mowing and no chemicals required. The back yard still has expanses of grass, but it's so hardy after years of no chemicals, it survives anything while the neighbours still pollute the environment (and it does smell like chemical shite after an application). As much as I'm against government involvement in anything and everything, I really get pissed off at people spreading shite that might affect my dogs' health for no other reason than aesthetics. A pesticide remains a low level nerve agent, no matter how you package it, and nerve agents, in sufficient concentrations will affect lifeforms other than grubs. I've seen enough army training films on nerve agents to reject them. Disagree with me if you want, but don't spread chemical crap where my dogs play.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Do you do anything to maintain your back lawn, Anon? Maybe it's the natural fertilizer that keeps it healthy. ;)

Anonymous said...

Sweetheart, my back lawn gets the occasional mowing and all of my dogs' love and affection. It ain't all grass, or even mostly grass, but it's green, thick, the mutts love it, it looks nice after a trim and is so low effort that it'd be any reasonable dude's dream. Putting in the Zen Garden is more work than maintaining the post-grub surviving green...

Rositta said...

I don't use chemicals either mostly because I'm sensitive to them. I will very occasionally spot spray though. I have a tip for you for grubs. Ivory snow powder, I put it in a glass cheese sprinkler (from the dollar store) sprinkle on the grass early spring (now) and again two weeks later. Spray lightly with water and that will kill them. It has to be Ivory though...ciao and good luck

Anonymous said...

Cosmetic pesticides can trigger environmental allergies and asthma. I feel ill, look around... sure enough, there are the signs.

Feel free to spray willy-nilly once you figure out how to avoid poisoning people using public sidewalks, and your neighbours trying to use their lawns.

This is fantastic news, if McGuinty actually follows through - I'm not holding my breath (except when I see pesticide signs).

I guess even Suzuki has to be right on something, sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Dr. McShifty can cite just one study of the over 5,000 that have done on the hazards of pesticides (including those done at Berkley and by the UN) that show that they are a problem.

This is not based on science but on ideology. Follow the money to see who is backing this ban.

Ruth said...

I'll agree this is not based on science as anon stated.
What people use on lawns for weeds and grass are herbicides.
Pesticides are for tent caterpillers, worms in apple trees, grubs in lawns etc.
I've seen tent caterpillers damage and kill trees in one season.
I certainly hope we can still at least buy a few things for mosquitoes and black flies.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ruth, I'm in total agreement. A few years ago our regional government was looking into a ban and I contacted a scientist at U. of G. who told me this is a big scam. Used properly, pesticides are not a danger. I'm going to try to find my information.

As you say, herbicides are even less so. It's all about proper usage. Some people don't have a clue, which is why I think perhaps it should be left to certified professionals, but not totally banned.

And why is it o.k. for farmers? Don't we eat the food?

Ruth said...

The weed control goes on the corn or soybean ground at planting time. Sweet corn is sprayed when small cobs are on it. Apples are sprayed several times, but not close to harvest time.
In the end though, the consumer of today is not going to buy cob corn with a borer in it, or an apple with a worm in it. They will still buy the nicest looking no matter if it's from Chile or where ever.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good point, Ruth.

Looks like he's going to ban the sale of pesticides as well, which is less hypocritical than the cigarette situation anyway.

Anonymous said...

I guess for every study done saying one thing there is another stating something else ...If the bees know anything its about pollen ...the only thing that sounds about right is the bees are vanishing , and it isn't natural things that are causing it .katou

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Katou, then shouldn't McGuinty ban cellphones too?

Ruth said...

cellphones and how about spray paint. I used a spray can yesterday and thought that it maybe had more chemicals in it than any dandelion spray.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ruth, exactly.

Paint should be banned too. In fact, all solvents and grease should be banned.

Also alcohol and cigarettes.

Anonymous said...

You oppose anything that comes from a Liberal Queen's Park. It's beyond laughable.

There has been a pesticide ban in Toronto for years. Guess what? The grass still grows green. We have bigger problems than hayfever, a seasonal issue quite managable with medication. I should know, I've had it all my life.

The smog created from Co2 emissions are a far greater danger to the health of our young children and senior citizens. Furthermore, the smog is with us all year round.

At the end of the day, pesticides ultimately end up in the water you drink and the food you eat. On Earth Day, rather than blindly criticize McGuinty to satisfy what borders on obsession, why not breathe a little easier knowing that Ontario will be a little cleaner tomorrow.
Yours- Alice Munroe

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks for signing your name, Alice. I admire that.

So what do you propose that we do about the smog? I agree that it's a big problem. I am suffering from the effects of the smog from this past weekend. So is my neighbour. (Sore throat, itchy eyes and cough)

Bytes said...

Does anyone remember the DDT ban from the 1970's? Supposedly the worst chemical in the world and banning it would save hundreds of lives.

Well guess what. It ended up costing millions of people their lives when the mosquito carrying malaria went out of control in Africa. DDT is now used again and people are not dying by the millions.

Controls on the usage of chemicals are one thing but the outright banning of them is a knee-jerk reaction to psuedo-science. As Joanne said, leave it up to trained proffesionals to handle and apply them.

This is just another example of our great Canadian cradle-to-grave nanny-state, the public is too stupid to look after themselves mentality of government.

Gabby in QC said...

An interesting article:
http://tinyurl.com/53numd
VIA
http://www.meatriarchy.com/?p=794

"OPINION
Why I Left Greenpeace
By PATRICK MOORE
April 22, 2008; Page A23
In 1971 an environmental and antiwar ethic was taking root in Canada, and I chose to participate. As I completed a Ph.D. in ecology, I combined my science background with the strong media skills of my colleagues. In keeping with our pacifist views, we started Greenpeace.

But I later learned that the environmental movement is not always guided by science. As we celebrate Earth Day today, this is a good lesson to keep in mind. ...

The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine. Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera. And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry. Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health. ..."

Moderation in everything ...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks for that, Gabby.

BTW, how is the pesticide ban working out in Quebec?

Steph said...

I am curious to know what one of the anonymouses meant by "Follow the money to see who is backing this ban."

I don't really know who would have a financial gain by banning something. I can see that the pesticide companies would lose a lot of money.

I, too, was confused about the use of pesticides being okay for farmers. I am more concerned about ingesting harmful chemicals than touching them or inhaling them (although I'd rather not touch or inhale them either). But I guess Ruth makes a good point about people not wanting worms in their produce. I do wonder though, what is more harmful in the long run.

I really don't have a strong opinion about the banning of pesticides. I kind of see the use of pesticides the way I see the use of prescription medication - as a last resort. I think that one should take all reasonable steps to prevent and address problems using gentle, natural methods, but when a situation becomes dire for some reason then sometimes a drastic measure may be required. So I don't think an outright ban would be the best answer, but it would be good to have something in place that makes it more difficult or costly to use the pesticides so people would learn to see it as something to be used in an emergency and as a last resort.

I do think this might just be a hypothetical discussion though because I am skeptical about anything McGuinty says actually happening.

Gabby in QC said...

"BTW, how is the pesticide ban working out in Quebec?"

Well, according to this:
http://tinyurl.com/4elhfp
“Quebec implements toughest pesticide rules in North America
April 5, 2006
A new era in pesticide use has begun in Quebec. Earlier this week, the province's sweeping pesticide bans went into effect. The final phase of Quebec's Pesticide Management Code, which was first introduced in 2003, prohibits the use of domestic products that have chemicals considered toxic to humans and the environment.
As the Montreal Gazette reports, the code includes the toughest standards in North America, barring home gardners from using popular herbicides including: Green Cross Killex, C-I-L Tri-Kill and Weedex that contain 2,4-D to rid lawns of dandelions and other weeds. Insecticides such as Sevin that include Carbaryl are also banned.”

However, when the ban was introduced, I heard whispers of people stocking up on banned stuff, as some people are now doing in stocking up in incandescent light bulbs.

Any extreme is bound to have unfavourable outcomes. That is why I tend to trust Dr. Joe, who has a more common sense approach to things.
http://oss.mcgill.ca/biotech.php

As for me personally, I appreciate it when the guy is called to spray for the ants who like to invite themselves into my patio door and think they can invade my territory.

Ruth said...

Heard Bill Carroll on CFRB talking about this subject and someone said that there are far worse side affects from the drugs we take.
One man called in and said that he grows potatoes and needs the potato dust for them.
I think I heard a loophole in McGuinty's speech when he said for "cosmetic use". It's not for "cosmetic" use then if it's used on a garden for bug control.

Ruth said...

When I was getting my hair done this morning, I wondered just how many people worry about the hair coloring they use and the dangers in that. Think maybe it should be banned for our protection.
And the perm solution that was put on my hair today too.
I don't know if Health Canada has approved all these products, but they certainly have approved all the herbicides and pesticides.

Reid said...

I wonder if they'll set up check stops on the bridge between Hull & Ottawa looking for contraband OFF?

Chuckercanuck said...

Joanne, off topic, but the Elizabeth Thompson piece is - mmmmm - very interesting.

Steph said...

Ruth, actually hair and body care products have very little regulation in North America so Health Canada probably wouldn't have anything to say about the chemicals in your hair colouring. (See http://www.ewg.org for more information and in particular their Cosmetic Safety Database called "Skin Deep").

You raise a good point about that and about the risks of the side effects of drugs. It seems to me that there could potentially be a lot of other things like this that are a much greater risk to our health then pesticide and herbicide use. Perhaps it would be more efficient for the goverment to determine what is the greatest health risk for Ontarians and start there. Although I'm sure that won't happen because this decision is most likely not motivated by McGuinty's concern for our safety but rather for his concern about winning the next election.

Gabby in QC said...

"Health Canada probably wouldn't have anything to say about the chemicals in your hair colouring."

Well, one need only listen to Susan Delacourt, Jane Taber, Kady O'Malley, yes, even Bob Fife and Oliver Craig - to find out what effects hair dyes can have on people ... ;-)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Some folks are telling me they're having problems leaving a comment.

Please let me know at the addy on my profile if you are, and what happens when you attempt to comment. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Pesticides are a wholesome distraction from this:

http://dustmybroom.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3456&Itemid=1

Darcy has some info about Toronto that McGuinty pretends he doesn't see. Keep your eyes on the pesticide, folks...that's what we really have to fear!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Joanne, off topic, but the Elizabeth Thompson piece is - mmmmm - very interesting.

Chucker, I think I found the article to which you were mmmmmm-ing.

Mm-hummm.... Very interesting indeedy.

Gabby in QC said...

A couple of interesting articles connected to this thread:

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=453079
“Germs were a market waiting to be exploited. Filthy, dangerous, and invisible, germs could be anywhere. And the news is filled with stories about frightening new bugs such as Ebola, West Nile virus, SARS and avian flu ..."

http://www.nationalpost.com/related_links/story.html?id=456106
“We really don't like chemicals. We don't even like the word. …

Water is a chemical, and so is mother's milk. But that's not how people use the word today. ... It is this cultural re-definition of "chemical" that has transformed organic produce from a niche market into a booming, multi-billion-dollar industry, and why the word natural has become the preferred adjective of corporate marketers, no matter what they're selling.”

Also, Charles Adler interviewed the author of those two articles as well as this book: “From Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear” by Dan Gardner. The interview may be available in the archives of the radio station later on or tomorrow.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks for all this, Gabby.

The Brenda Martin story is breaking now. New post.

Anonymous said...

If we lose our lawns, then the cities will heat up even more, and we will also lose an important source of carbon dioxide absorption.

Don't do science, Joanne. It's very unfeminine.

Zorpheous said...

Pesticide Ban

People with allergies,...

Errr Joanne, many these people should stop trying to snort bugs, it's hard on the bees.

Greg said...

There was an earlier post equating emissions of CO2 with smog. Please, I mean really, please don't make me laugh that hard again. CO2 = smog like Dalton = truth. CO2 is a naturally occuring component of our atmosphere essential to all life. Without it the earth would have as much life on it as the moon. Smog is caused by particulate, something the CPC tried to implement new standards on in the first year of their mandate, but the CLean Air Act was shot down by the ignorance of the anti CO2 brigades.

Möbius said...

Mow the lawn with a mulching mower.

Pull the weeds by hand.

It works well, good exercise, and no chemicals.

Möbius said...

As for me personally, I appreciate it when the guy is called to spray for the ants who like to invite themselves into my patio door and think they can invade my territory.

A dusting of diatomaceous earth across the door sill, and you won't have to worry about any crawling insects too much. Won't harm the cats, dogs, and humans either.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

OMMAG was having some problems leaving a comment. Blogger has been very naughty lately. Anyway, he sent his comment via email:

Anyway what I wanted to say about the pesticide ban. I held a commercial license a few years back for one of my business ventures.
Took the courses and wrote the exam for license.

I agree with Fred's comment ..... in a typical urban environment it makes sense. Especially because the MAIN problem
there is that people do not dispose of empty containers or unused products in the proper manner. Handling and safety are the MAIN
objects of the licensing program.

The only thing is .... that depending on where you live the logic of restricting access becomes very sketchy.
For instance if you happen to live in a semi rural area you need to be able to do it yourself.
Paying contractors for yard maintenance is for rich people with more money than time.
In a small town the benefits are negligible.

A reasonable approach would be that the province set standards and guidelines that the municipalities are able to enforce as required.
This whole idea is the result of the urban mindset that has no understanding or appreciation of what happens outside the GTA.
Less than 10% of pesticide use is consumer and residential.

BTW - golf course greenskeepers are educated and licensed far above the standards of your typical lawn care contractor.
That's why they don't need or deserve to be excluded from buying and using pesticides.

Another thing I noticed is some confusion over what is a pesticide. Bug killers and plant killers are all under one category ... pesticide!

Anonymous said...

Mcguinty peaks his own incompetence once again with his supporters not smart enough to operate a can of raid. The boundary lanes that created the Victorian landscapes were not created for aesthetics as much as it was for protection from the diseased infested creatures from penetrating your home. Simple minded green mentality sees through that, without delousing or controlling termites, fleas, carpenter antes and many other house happy insects wanting to have a party inside your home.
Neighbors with matching I.Q mutts should feel free to use any lawn as their personal barn yard and we all should be obliged for it. Heaven forbid if any dog or cat deterred spray has been used on the property they trespass on. The liberals just are not playing with a fully developed brain and are slow learners at the best of times.
This ad was not paid for by the Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Mcguinty peaks his own incompetence once again with his supporters not smart enough to operate a can of raid. The boundary lanes that created the Victorian landscapes were not created for aesthetics as much as it was for protection from the diseased infested creatures from penetrating your home. Simple minded green mentality sees through that, without delousing or controlling termites, fleas, carpenter antes and many other house happy insects wanting to have a party inside your home.
Neighbors with matching I.Q mutts should feel free to use any lawn as their personal barn yard and we all should be obliged for it. Heaven forbid if any dog or cat deterred spray has been used on the property they trespass on. The liberals just are not playing with a fully developed brain and are slow learners at the best of times.
This ad was not paid for by the Conservatives.

Gabby in QC said...

"A dusting of diatomaceous earth across the door sill, and you won't have to worry about any crawling insects too much."

I've tried traps, natural products like vinegar, peppermint oil (ants apparently hate it), and they did not work.
I notice you said I won't have to worry about any crawling insects "too much."
I don't want to have to worry about them AT ALL. I've also tried the diatomaceous earth with not much success.
I don't know what's in the spray the guy uses, but that is the only thing that seems to work.

Möbius said...

I notice you said I won't have to worry about any crawling insects "too much."

Like you, they're part of the God-given universe, and have a function.

I prefer to "hold them back", rather than totally eradicating them.