Arsenal of pesticides creates fear

Celebrate this hot summer September week. We’re still playing outside and our gardens have a welcome reprieve.

Celebrate this hot summer September week. We’re still playing outside and our gardens have a welcome reprieve.

But the pesticide debate does not. The topic soldiers on all fall and into the winter.

This week, the city begins consulting citizens about pesticide use at a series of four open houses, one for each quadrant.

There’s also a five-question online survey (what are the advantages of pesticides, what else would you use?) and an email address setup so you can register your opinion from home.

I love you fellow Calgarian, but I’m going to listen to scientists first.

This week, the Canadian Pediatric Society president joins other medical groups urging Calgary to pass a cosmetic pesticide ban. “We believe there is no reason to expose young people to toxic chemicals whose only purpose is changing a property’s appearance,” writes Dr. Robert C. Walker, noting persuasive evidence pesticides are linked to cancers and neurological impairment, such as Parkinson’s.

Walker joins with the Registered Nurses of Alberta, Canadian Cancer Society, the Lung Association, and Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta in calling for a cosmetic pesticide ban.

What toxins are we using in Calgary?

You can find them listed in the city’s request for proposal (RFP) issued on Aug. 25. A vendor is needed to supply on demand rodenticides, insecticides and herbicides.

The city’s RFP calls for regularly stocked items including: Killex 2-4-3; a rodenticide called The Giant Killer; Atack Wasp Killer Plus; Milestone Aminopyralid; Amitrol 240; BigFoot Spray Patter WSB; Arsenal Imazapyr Lontrel; 360 Clopyralid; Success 480 SC; Vantage Glyphosate; Dicamba DyCleer; Metsulfuron Methyl Escort; Telar; Vanquish Dicamba; Velpar DF; Lontrel 360 Clopyralid; Trounce Permethrin, etc.

The Canadian Physicians for the Environment says the herbicide 2,4-D is linked to cancers, neurological impairment and reproductive problems. It is banned in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

New research in toxicology argues the herbicide Glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor for humans.

The city wants two kinds of Permethrin, an insecticide known to kill cats, honeybees, fish. It’s banned in the European Union. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls it a lung carcinogen.

The city’s RFP calls for products that “have a lesser impact on human health and the environment when compared with competing products.”

Good policy needs to come out of good science.

Not fear.

Yet, I am fearful of the arsenal of toxins my taxes pay for.

Fellow Calgarian, it’s time to present the doctor’s orders to city council.

 
 
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