YOUR VIEW: Cancer society wants ban

Canadian Cancer Society urges Campbell River city council to enact pesticide bylaw

Re: Council hesitant to enact pesticide ban (Mirror, July 5).

The Canadian Cancer Society would like to thank the City of Campbell River for considering a bylaw that would prohibit the use of cosmetic or non-essential pesticides on public and private land.

These pesticides are used to improve the appearance of various landscapes such as lawns, gardens, parks, and sports fields.

The Canadian Cancer Society maintains that health should take precedence over the beautification of our lawns and gardens, especially since viable alternatives exist to chemical pesticides.

Three weeks ago, the Ontario College of Family Physicians issued a statement strongly recommending that the public reduce their exposure to pesticides, based on the findings of their second comprehensive review.

Their review demonstrates that children are particularly vulnerable and shows associations between pesticides and various neurological and respiratory diseases, and reproductive problems.

While a definitive cause and effect relationship between pesticides and cancer has not been established, the Canadian Cancer Society is very concerned about the growing body of evidence suggesting pesticides may increase the risk of several types of cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, prostate, kidney and lung cancers.

Studies on pesticides and childhood cancer also show a possible connection with leukemia, brain tumours and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Enough is known to be prudent and prevent exposure, especially when the use of these chemicals is unnecessary, exposure to them is irreversible and there are effective alternatives and practices.

There is strong public support for banning the cosmetic use of pesticides. Of the two public consultations that the BC Government conducted in 2010 and 2011, the vast majority of responses were in favour of prohibiting the use of pesticides used for cosmetic purposes.

Furthermore, over 70 per cent of British Columbians support provincial legislation to restrict pesticide use, according to polling conducted on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society in 2010; and we now have 40 communities in BC who have adopted local bylaws.

We urge the City of Campbell River to move forward with a bylaw that would prohibit the use of cosmetic pesticides on public and private land as soon as possible.

Through action, information and policies we can take steps to reduce the risk of cancer and promote health. To find out more and to join our cancer prevention efforts visit www.cancergameplan.ca or contact nfalconer@bc.cancer.ca

Nancy Falconer

Health Promotion Co-ordinator, Canadian Cancer Society, Vancouver Island Region

(Editor’s note: Council voted against the ban)