Fruit Tree Owner Speaks out about Pesticides in Vernon Morning Star – Letters

Ron Pattermann runs a  successful 23-acre orchard in the Bella Vista area Vernon, BC.

SCIENCE OR HYPE?
With regards to the “Pesticide bans are necessary” letter. I would like to make some comments and state some facts with regards to this issue. There are more toxins that occur naturally in the environment than what pesticides contain. All of the products that are being discussed in these proposed bans are approved by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PRMA) which is the government body that all insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other household products must go through to get registration for use. It does have several hundred staff members, many of whom are scientists. Quote below from their website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/index-eng.php
“Scientific evaluations are conducted on all pesticides in Canada before becoming available on the market. We determine if they meet our strict health and safety standards and dictate the use instructions and safety precautions on every product label. Our role is to determine if proposed pesticides can be used safely when label directions are followed and will be effective for their intended use. If there is reasonable certainty from scientific evaluation that no harm to human health, future generations or the environment will result from exposure to or use of a pesticide, its registration for use in Canada will be approved.”
These products must undergo many scientific trials and tests to prove that they are safe to use, and this can sometimes take years and thousands of pages of documentation. This is documented information available to anyone. The label on any pesticide is a legal document and this information can be found on the PRMA website.
On the web, just by keying in the active ingredient of a product, and the words “MSDS sheet”, you will get the documents at your fingertips. The companies that manufacture the products also have the labels and MSDS forms available on their websites.
Some people dispute the information on the documents and I ask them, do you not think scientists, chemists, toxicologists, etc ,who spend years going through post secondary education , are not qualified to make the decisions they have made with regards to the safety of a product?
I think they are more qualified than most of the people who dispute their findings.
Pesticides and other products are only a problem when the instructions and guidelines that are set forth by the PRMA on a product label are not followed and this usually happens in the hands of non qualified people. Commercial applicators must undergo intensive training to be certified to apply these products in a safe manner as laid out on the label. Education is the key, not a pesticide ban. All the attention this subject has received lately seems to contain only one side of the story and we all know there are two.
I am not questioning the ability of the public to vent their concerns, nor am I an expert on this matter, but I would rather present the truth and separate fact from fiction.
I want a clean environment and cancer-free world just as much as the next person, but maybe we as a society need to look at a bigger picture. We need to enter into more discussion on this matter rather than take the knee-jerk and emotional approach that could cost people and some families their livelihoods.

Ron Pattermann

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