Time to step up against pesticides - Metro US

Time to step up against pesticides

It’s that time again.

Another year to ponder the pesticide debate.

Another year to hum and haw over whether it makes sense to spray poisons on our lawns to keep them pretty.

Another year of health down the drain. Literally.

While 155 Canadian municipalities have banned cosmetic pesticides on some level, Calgary City Hall is still talking. The city is bringing its more than-a-year-in-the-making cosmetic pesticide report to committee shortly, then to council. Depending who you talk to it’s next week or next month.

Like usual, when it comes to change, Calgary is lagging. We don’t like being told what to do. Even corporate monolith Home Depot beat us to it. In May 2008, it began pulling 60 products from the shelves.

The Alberta wing of the Canadian Cancer Society is advocating for a cosmetic pesticide ban based on caution. There’s enough research, it says, that pesticides have played a role in neurological and reproductive problems, and are linked to cancers.

A Calgary friend of mine whose child is in a nasty battle with leukemia has every right to try to assign blame. He calls childhood cancer “multi-factoral.”

“That said,” he writes, “reducing toxic-carcinogen load on kids should be paramount, since childhood cancer is still the leading cause of non-accidental death in children. And multi-generational cell damage is, in my view, a significant issue as well.”

It’s this kind of caution that makes sense. We don’t need exact scientific studies to know that products ending in the suffix “cide” aren’t good news.

It’s been more than a year since Ald. Druh Farrell wrote a cosmetic pesticide motion, supported by Brian Pincott and Joe Ceci, asking the city to investigate banning these chemicals.

This issue isn’t going away. The texture of our grass just doesn’t matter as much as human health. Without lawn poisons, researchers will find new weed and pest control methods. The city has worked with Olds College on new weed control methods. It’s a good step.

A solid no-exemption cosmetic pesticide ban is the right thing to do.

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