Pesticide testing is hardly rigorous

Editor, The News:

Re: Pesticide tools proven safe time after time (Letters, May 27).

The industry-funded CropLife Canada organization would like us to believe that our federal pesticide regulatory regime fully safeguards our population from the lethal substances (by definition) manufactured by its members.

Little could be further from the truth.

The federal agency involved, the Pesticide Management Regulatory Authority (PMRA), does no independent safety testing. None.

It assesses the manufacturers’ test results.

It does no field testing to detect whether chemicals form new compounds in the soil and water.

It also does not even test the non-active ingredients or ask for such results, which when released into the environment, may have their own chemical reactions in the soil and water. These obviously do not constitute a “rigorous scientific review” and accurate “risk assessment,” as presented by the CropLife representative.

That is why the PMRA is now reviewing and recalling many formerly licensed pesticides. In other words, the safety of products licensed by the PMRA in the past cannot be guaranteed for your health, for the health of your children, who are particularly sensitive to synthetic chemicals, and that of your pets.

This much is fact.

Please contact the PMRA to confirm their methods of testing and licensing chemicals in Canada (www.hc-sc.gc.ca/pmra-arla/1-800-267-6315). Then decide for yourself whether “safe and effective” is a description you would use on the synthetic compounds that the manufacturers would like us to buy from them.

Our doctors and cancer agencies are calling for cosmetic pesticide bans.

The District of Maple Ridge controls the use of pesticides for the cosmetic treatment of properties through its Pesticide Control Bylaw 2006 (www.mapleridge.ca).

And in the absence of a federal initiative to reform pesticide testing, the province is contemplating control legislation.

Make your views known to the Minister of Environment (terry.lake.mla@leg.bc.ca).

Advice on pesticide alternatives is available at www.cprmr.org.

Christian Cowley

Maple Ridge

 

Ask scientists

Editor, The News:

Re: Pesticide tools proven safe time after time (Letters, May 27).

Just as the scientists who worked for the tobacco industry tried to convince us that tobacco was safe, Lorne Hepworth, who works for the pesticide/chemical industry, is trying to convince us that their products are safe.

Perhaps he is not familiar with history.

Paul Hermann Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1948 for his work with the uses of DDT.

Since then, there has been a long list of synthetically created pesticides that were considered miraculous  – until their dangerous side-effects were discovered.

Mr. Hepworth tells us, “Health Canada also reviews all additional scientifically credible studies that exist.”

He does not say that Health Canada performs any independent tests to assure the safety of products being approved.

He does not say that the manufacturers submit results of tests they perform.

Of course, the manufacturers want their products approved, so they submit tests that show their products in a positive light; then Health Canada simply reads the results of their tests to approve the product.

I don’t think chemicals intended to control health threats are included in cosmetic pesticide bans.  But perhaps if we all ate healthy, pesticide-free food, and if we had healthier lifestyles, our immune systems could naturally fight some of the diseases that have recently been the source of public concern.

Finally, “science” is often affected by politics. There are many scientists who are in favour of provincial bans, but those groups and individuals do not have the economic power that the pesticide/chemical industry has and so they are not heard at the approval level.

I, for one, trust independent scientists who recognize the balance of nature that has been established over the life of the earth and without human interference, and I do not want to see my family, friends or myself be guinea pigs for an industry that depends on “risk assessments” rather than 100 per cent safety for their approval.

Sheila Pratt

Maple Ridge

 

Pesticides ‘kill’

Editor, The News:

Re: Pesticide tools proven safe time after time (Letters, May 27).

Lorne Hepworth,  president of CropLife asserts that “pesticides are proven safe time after time.”

First of all, he has totally ignored the fact the Maple Ridge council and citizens have wisely chosen to ban the cosmetic use of all pesticides in our community because they think they are harmful.

Quebec and Ontario not only have banned the use, but also the sale of pesticides in their provinces and hopefully B.C. will follow suit.

Pesticides are not safe. Pesticides, as the name “cide” says, kill.

The Canadian Cancer Society, Physicians for the Environment and many other scientists, doctors and organizations have spoken out against the use of pesticides.

The “rigorous scientific studies” Mr. Hepworth claims have been done, are usually done by the chemical companies themselves, are often not peer reviewed or verified by repeated  government studies. Hardly any long-term studies or studies of the combined and cumulative effects of pesticides have been done.

Mr. Hepworth claims, that pesticides help control threats to human health. Dandelions? Moss in the lawn? Weeds, many of which can be eaten? What kind of threat do they pose to human health?

Mosquitoes can be controlled by adding bacillus Thuringiensis to the  water in a pond, fountain or birdbath to kill larvae. Rats can be kept in check by keeping your garbage safely contained.

Mr. Hepworth’s assertion that “pesticides contribute to healthier communities and greater well-being and prosperity” is absolutely absurd. Vancouver, which has had a pesticide bylaw for many years, is one of the most prosperous and healthy communities and has been ranked tops on the list of most livable cities.

There are natural alternatives to pesticides that are not harmful.

Pesticides are not safe and our municipality can be proud of its decision to ban them.

Maria Raynolds

Campaign for Pesticide

Reduction Maple Ridge