Activist – Halifax – Dr. Robin Walker – Area Golf courses should be included in pesticide ban: Enfield Weekly Press

Area Golf courses should be included in pesticide ban: doctor
Abby Cameron

EAST HANTS: Although it’s being hailed as one of the best pesticides ban in the country, health professionals would like to see Nova Scotia’s non-essential pesticides ban expanded to include golf courses.

Dr. Robin Walker, a paediatrician with the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, said he would like to see the ban extended to include more residential areas and commercial areas, as well.

“I am pretty pleased with the ban,” he said. “But I would like to see a buffer zone added to golf courses that are surrounded by residential areas.”

There are three golf courses in the surrounding communities of East Hants, HRM and Stewiacke. While none are particularly close to residential areas, Dr. Walker would still like to see protection extended to families in the area.

“Although we know cosmetic (appearance) of a golf course is important to their economics, a buffer zone would act as more prevention to exposure to pesticides,” explained Dr. Walker.

Oakfield Golf and Country club was contacted to discuss their current use of pesticides on their greens but did not return calls made by The Weekly Press.

Vegetable gardens, agriculture, and forestry are also exempt from the ban. The sale and use of non-essential lawn care pesticides will not be permitted as of next spring. The ban will extend to ornamental shrubs, flowers and trees by spring 2012.

A list of low-risk pesticides allowed for sale and use will be included in regulations.

Dr. Walker has helped consult on not only the Nova Scotia ban, but ones in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. He said he is impressed with Nova Scotia’s approach.

“I approve in the general sense,” he said. “This is one of the better plans. Nova Scotia took a different approach where in they will publish a list of approved pesticides, while others listed their banned chemicals.”

He explained that will help in the future as more and more pesticides are introduced into the market, meaning they will have to make their way onto the list. Pesticides have been studied in the past and have been linked to an increase in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Leukemia.

“These can be potentially fatal diseases,” he said. “And the rates are growing.”

And it’s those rates that scare new mom Angela-Al-Molky of Nine Mile River. Her newborn infant is less than one-month-old and she said she is happy with the ban, but would like to see more done.

“I think it’s great that they are doing this,” she said.

As summer rolls around and she thinks about the recreational time with her newborn, Al-Molky feels her priorities are straight.

“What’s more important, your lawn looking perfect or the health of your children?” She asked. “I’ll take a few dandelions.”

Enfield Weekly Press – Area Golf courses should be included in pesticide ban: doctor.