Pesticides in figures
Despite increased efforts to raise awareness of the potential dangers of pesticides to human health, the proportion of Canadian households using pesticides only slightly decreased between 1994 and 2005, from 31% to 29%. Quebec, at least, experienced a sharper drop, with a reduction by half in the proportion of households using pesticides, from 30% in 1994 to 15% in 2005 (1).
According to a 2007 CROP survey, pesticides are not well perceived by Canadians: the majority (71%) believe that chemical pesticides should be banned, and only 25% of respondents report using them (2).
Over the past two decades, some 140 Canadian communities have enacted laws to prohibit or restrict the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on public and private property. In Quebec, only 91 of 1,475 municipalities have a regulation limiting the use of cosmetic pesticides (3).
Conventionally grown fruits are 3.6 times more likely to contain pesticide residues than their organic counterparts, and conventionally grown vegetables, 6.8 times more likely (4).
(1) Lynch, Mary-Frances and Hofmann, Canadian lawns and gardens: Where are they the "greenest"?, Statistics Canada EnviroStats, 2007
(2) Equiterre, Ecological Ornamental Horticulture: Getting to Know Consumers to Guide their Decision-making, 2008.
(3) Christie, M., Private Property Pesticide Bylaws in Canada. Website consulted on February 12, 2008.
(4) Curl, C. et al., "Organophosphorus Pesticide Exposure of Urban and Suburban Pre-school Children with Organic and Conventional Diets," Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2002, page 18.