Trail Daily Times – Anti-pesticide campaign resurfaces in Rossland




Trail occasionally uses pesticides in parks when conditions warrant although Health Canada encourages people to use other means to control weeds. Raymond Masleck photo


dialogue and film take place Friday

Despite failing to convince Rossland city council to ban the “cosmetic use” of pesticides, the campaign against them continues in the Alpine City.

The Canadian Cancer Society and Prevent Cancer Now, a national organization with strong local links through its co-chair, Rosslander Diana Daghofer, is holding a “community dialogue” on the issue Friday at the Miners Hall.

She noted that the public consultation held by the province earlier this year received 8,000 comments and signatures on petitions, with 88 per cent supporting a ban of cosmetic uses.

“We have no reason to believe the people in our region feel differently, and they too deserve protection,” Daghofer said in a news release. “We hope that our community will be the next to take action and enact a bylaw.”

The cancer society’s website notes that “the research to date does not provide a conclusive link between pesticides and human cancer, but evidence does suggest a possible association.”

Health Canada encourages people to use other means to control weeds and pests in their lawns and gardens, but licenses thousands of pesticides as safe, when used as directed.

Bans in Central Canada have resulted in products such as weed-and-feed fertilizers disappearing from the shelves of national retailers in British Columbia, but do not cover golf courses and the agricultural industry, two big users of the chemicals.

“Most of the research on pesticides and cancer looks at occupational exposures,” the cancer society’s website notes. “Occupational exposures are usually higher and longer than those experienced by the general public. Because of this, it is easier to measure and identify links between exposure and cancer risk in the workplace.

“Over 100 studies looking at occupational exposures have been done since the 1980s. Some studies looking at cancer incidence (occurrence) and death rates among farmers suggest they may have a slightly higher risk than the average person of developing Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia as well as myeloma, soft tissue sarcoma and cancers of the prostate and brain.”

Patti Moore, the Canadian Cancer Society’s health promotion coordinator for the Kootenays, is convinced a ban is the way to go.

“This initiative is a place to start. We know there is a growing body of evidence linking exposure to pesticides to negative health and environmental impacts, and we are particularly concerned about the links with adult and childhood cancers. Because the cosmetic use is not necessary, there is no countervailing health benefit, and because it has the potential to harm human health, that is why we are calling for a ban.

“We base that on the cautionary principle, which states that it is better to be safe than sorry. These products still are, in some cases, being used in neighbourhoods, on sports fields and those types of areas, so it is still a concern. Our focus is on raising awareness, and that is what Friday night is all about.”

The City of Trail still uses pesticides occasionally and when specifically approved by council, usually in response to complaints from user groups about deteriorating field conditions, said public works manager Larry Abenante.

Friday’s presentation will be chaired by Dr. Carolyn Gotay, chair of cancer primary prevention at UBC.

The evening, which starts at 7 p.m., will also feature a screening of “A Chemical Reaction,” a 70-minute documentary about the first municipal ban in Canada in Hudson, Que.


Trail Daily Times – Anti-pesticide campaign resurfaces in Rossland.