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B.C. given ‘E’ grade for using cosmetic pesticides

By Rosemary Newton

Postmedia Network

Postmedia Network

A report released Tuesday from an environmental non-profit gives B.C. a low rating when it comes to limiting the cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns and gardens.

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment compared provincial and municipal laws across the country to identify best pesticide practices. Kim Perrotta, executive director of CAPE, said that B.C. received an “E” rating, which means “no protection,” because it doesn’t have provincial legislation banning the use of cosmetic pesticides.

“Where it’s the non-essential use of pesticides, you’re not trying to protect public health and you’re not producing food, we feel like this is a place where it’s clear we shouldn’t be allowing the use of toxic pesticides,” she said.

According to the report, seven out of 10 provinces have legislation prohibiting the use of non-essential pesticides.

Within B.C., 40 municipalities have bylaws regulating the use of pesticides on municipal and private residential land, including cities like Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey.

According to the Ministry of Environment, this covers about 75% of British Columbians.

Saskatchewan and Alberta also scored E ratings, while Ontario scored the highest — with an A- — and Nova Scotia second with a B.

Kids in particular are more sensitive to exposure to toxic materials, Perrotta said. She said there are adverse health affects including links to some cancers and low birth weight when exposed prenatally.

“The risk of contracting these pesticide cancers are low, but what we’re saying is in a context like this, where people are using them simply to try to get the perfect lawn, to us it just doesn’t make sense,” Perrotta said.

According to a B.C. Ministry of Environment spokesperson, changes to B.C.’s Integrated Pest Management Regulation took effect on July 1, but do not include a ban on cosmetic pesticides.

The changes recommend more training and education for those applying pesticides, including issuing licenses to use them that will help take action on reducing unneeded pesticide use.