The News (Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada)  [Printer-friendly version]
January 14, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: In British Columbia, citizens gear up to ban
cosmetic uses of pesticides on lawns. "We're not asking for the sale
of pesticides to be banned. We're asking for the restrictions on use,
just like tobacco." -- Maria Raynolds]

By Phil Melnychuk

Maria Raynolds expects Maple Ridge politicians to keep their promises
-- such as the one made in mid-campaign during last fall's municipal

Asked at an all-candidate's meeting in Whonnock if they'd support a
ban on cosmetic pesticides, all 20 or so would-be politicians stood up
to say they would. Now, seven of those are elected and Raynolds is
expecting to see such a ban within a year.

"I don't see any problem there. I'm pretty sure they will," she said.
The district is already working with her group to that end, she said.
Raynolds, with the Campaign for Pesticide Reduction, made her latest
pitch Tuesday to the new council, thanking it for a donation of more
than $3,000 last year used for educational purposes.

She also handed council a petition, signed by 54 doctors, supporting a
ban. "You Mr. Mayor, [Gordy Robson], are working hard to get drugs off
our streets. Let's go one step farther and take our lawns off drugs,
too," Raynolds said.

"Let's make the streets safe for our seniors to walk on and let us
make our lawns safe for our kids to play on." Raynolds said after
three years of education, helped by the district, it's now time to
launch a full-scale education program backed up by a bylaw banning the
use of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides for domestic use.

"Seeing how long it takes to consider this, I think now is the time to
do the next step," she said Wednesday.

Raynolds and her group is asking for $6,700 from the district in 2006
to help with producing pamphlets, website design, staffing a hotline
for two hours a week and for speakers' fees and advertising. Last
year, the district gave more than $3,000 for educational brochures and
to set up a website.

In addition to a ban, the group also wants the district to make it
mandatory for developers to provide up to 20 centimetres of top soil
on the front yards of new homes. That will ensure healthy lawns and
reduce the need for watering.

"This truly is SMART GROWTH on the Ground, Al [Coun. Al Hogarth]!" she
told council.

Raynolds said later that banning cosmetic use of pesticides in the
suburbs wouldn't affect farming or apply to essential measures such as
spraying for West Nile virus.

If council approved such a bylaw, Maple Ridge would follow Port Moody,
Vancouver, New Westminster and North Vancouver. Maple Ridge has
already stopped spraying pesticides on parks, playgrounds and school

Raynolds cited one bylaw from Gibsons in which anyone wishing to use
pesticide must first fill out an application and pay a $50 fee. If
spraying within two metres of a property line, neighbours have to be
notified in writing, signs have to be posted and at the year end a
written report provided explaining the application of the pesticides.

But Raynolds favours just a straightforward ban on their use for
cosmetic purposes.

"We're not asking for the sale of pesticides to be banned. We're
asking for the restrictions on use, just like tobacco."

According to information provided by the group, a McGill university
study showed that pre-natal exposure to home and garden pesticides
increased the incidence of childhood leukemia.

Raynolds said that federal Green party and New Democratic candidates
have said they'll write a letter supporting a ban.

According to CPR, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the
Environment favours a ban on cosmetic pesticides. Studies link
pesticide exposure to the development of Parkinson's disease. CPR also
cites a 2003 Mustel Group poll of 500 people commissioned by the
Society Promoting Environmental Conservation.

That poll said 80 per cent of Greater Vancouver Regional District
residents favoured local bylaws that would restrict cosmetic pesticide

Copyright 2005 Maple Ridge News