Rossland News – Pesticide film on Friday

By Andrew Bennett – Rossland News

Published: October 13, 2010 5:00 PM

A distinguished guest speaker and a film screening on the damaging effects of cosmetic pesticides will be presented at the Miners’ Hall on Oct. 15 by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and Prevent Cancer Now (PCN.)

CCS health promotion coordinator Patti Moore believes that our communities deserve to be protected from cosmetic pesticides, namely herbicides, insecticides, and other poisons used for applications unrelated to food production.

“Pesticides have been linked to a multitude of illnesses, including both adult and childhood cancers,” Moore said.

The event’s guest speaker, Dr. Carolyn Gotay, has worked extensively in the field of cancer prevention research and community outreach. She has participated in many cancer prevention organizations, notably the Primary Prevention Action Group and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

The 70-minute film, “A Chemical Reaction,” tells the story of Hudson, Que., the first community in Canada to enact a bylaw that banned the use of all chemical pesticides and herbicides.

The film follows Dr. June Irwin, a dermatologist, from her first awareness of the connection between chemical pesticides and her patient’s health conditions in 1984, through her persistent campaign in Hudson, and ultimately to the town’s success before the Supreme Court of Canada against chemical companies who opposed Hudson’s bylaw.

Since then, at least 170 Canadian municipalities have adopted similar bylaws restricting the use of cosmetic pesticides, and both Quebec and Ontario have implemented provincial bans. In the Kootenays, Nelson, Invermere, Kimberley, Fernie and, more recently, Golden all have bylaws restricting the use of cosmetic herbicides. Moore is positive that Rossland can join these towns.

Diana Daghofer, the volunteer co-chair of PCN, and Dr. Suzanne Belanger, a volunteer with CCS, have been working with Moore to lobby Rossland’s council to ban the potentially carcinogenic chemicals here.

“We’re mainly focused on trying to elimnate carcinogens at their source,” Daghofer said, noting that her group supports both provincial and municipal anti-pesticide legislation efforts.

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