Ms. Barbara Kaminsky CEO, Canadian Cancer Society British Columbia/Yukon Ms. Kaminsky: I have been following he Canadian Cancer Societiy campaign to ban "cosmetic" pesticides with great interest and even greater dismay. The position the Society is taking has no basis in real science, and its ramifications are likely to cost more in illness than it prevents. I have in the past respected the aims of the Society, but I find that its position on this issue is devoid of any scientific rationale. (Please click on the PDF to read the entire letter.)
To paraphrase the words of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt—April 22, 2009—another date which will live in the period of environmental infamy—the full force of the Ontario Cosmetic Pesticides Ban Act came into effect. The professional lawn care industry has been selectively and deliberately stripped of its conventional pest control tools by the Government of Ontario on the pretext that children needed to be protected by products evaluated by a small group of health care workers who have no expertise whatsoever in matters relating to pest control products. The massive and detailed studies of “sound science” performed by Health Canada are annihilated and discredited by those very same health care workers, who have decided to set their own agendas for conspiring to change public policy regarding pest control products.
We are now living in the era of “9–11 of the green space industry.” The prohibition conspiracy against pest control products has now attained national proportions. The provinces are falling like dominoes. The professional lawn care industry is systematically being annihilated across Canada. Our adversaries in the environmental movement have virtually limitless funds to wreak their havoc, and they understand full well that there is no unity within the green space industry. First municipal, then provincial, and finally national in scope, their first destructive attack will be complete within one or two years. And then. Soon after the environmental movement has tasted victory by obliterating the professional lawn care industry, the hated golf course industry will be targeted in the next attack. This time, the golf industry will be totally alone, and devoid of any allies to help defend itself. The golf industry, because of its attitude of denial and protectionism and mock–dismay at any form of criticism, is ignoring the supreme historic opportunity to join forces with the professional lawn care industry, and litigate against the forces of environmentalist evil.
A consulting investigator leading the fight against Ontario’s cosmetic pesticide ban is advocating the launch of lawsuits against municipalities which plan to restrict the use of local pesticide use. Jeffrey Lowes, director of government and industrial relations for M-REP Communications in Kingston, Ont., recently told the Integrated and Environmental Plant Management Association in Kelowna, B.C. that council members who claim chemical pest control products are detrimental to the environment and public health should be sued. He said such claims by local politicians and environmental activists are based on fraudelent information, adding 2,4-D is perhaps the safest product an applicator can use. Although Ontario and Quebec have implemented province-wide bans on cosmetic pesticide use, bans or restrictions elsewhere across Canada are at the discretion of local municipalities. In Kelowna, a new bylaw has taken effect which bans pesticide use for cosmetic purposes, except those applied by trained and licensed applicators. In a Feb. 8 letter to the editor of The Okanagan, Lowes wrote, “Products used by the industry and in the hands of a professional are safe.” He added, “Regardless of whether the product is natural or not, science—and not public opinion—will dictate what is used. There is a danger of having public policy based on a belief system that is unsupported by fact.” Lowes is representing the Professional Lawn Care Association of Ontario in its fight against the Ontario government.
THE new cosmetic pesticide ban in Ontario will severely impact the lives and livelihoods of several Landscape Ontario members, their employees and families, Landscape Ontario executive director Tony DiGiovanni says. Approximately 1,300 lawn care companies employing 15,000 licensed applicators and 5,000 technicians will be affected by the ban. "These are real numbers representing real people," DiGiovanni said. Landscape Ontario originally gave conditional support to the cosmetic ban, provided the regulations allowed limited use of products to deal with infestations and integrated pest management accreditation. The association withdrew its support when the draft regulations were announced. "The proposed regulations risk more than these 20,000 Ontario jobs," DiGiovanni said. "By providing no solution to control damaging landscape infestations, these regulations say to the Ontario public that our lawns and gardens are a non-essential part of our environment. While skilled workers join Ontario's growing ranks of unemployed, frustrated homeowners will see the destruction of their lawns and landscapes, requiring unmanageable and avoidable renovation costs. In addition, the lawn destruction risked by these regulations will lead to increased soil erosion and a reduction in important carbon sinks in our built environments." The approach proposed by industry professionals would drastically reduce pesticide risk while protecting our green infrastructure and allowing the development of better products and processes, DiGiovanni contends. "The industry and activists are really not far apart. We all want a safe, prosperous world with a clean and healthy environment. Green industry members believe in environmental activism, and improve and enhance the environment every day through their occupations. Let's work together to promote effective lawn care practices and to encourage the introduction of better products."
ALL the talk right now within the turfgrass industry, it seems, is based on the subject of pesticides or, more precisely, how turfgrass plots can continue to be maintained without the use of these products.
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