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Provincial cosmetic pesticide bans: Quebec has to catch up

Montreal, May 17th, 2011 – After leading the way with the first provincial ban on lawn pesticides in 2003 (the Pesticides Management Code), Quebec has now fallen behind other provinces when it comes to protecting human health and the environment from cosmetic pesticides. A report released by the David Suzuki Foundation and Equiterre today compares provincial cosmetic pesticide bans and concludes that regulations in Ontario and Nova Scotia offer the best models - although there is still room for improvement.

“Quebec’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks (MDDEP) would do well to update the Code. Since taking effect in 2003, Quebec’s list of banned pesticides has remained unchanged, while Ontario and Nova Scotia have adopted stronger policies and now prohibit more pesticides than Quebec,” says Sidney Ribaux, Equiterre’s executive director.

The David Suzuki Foundation and Equiterre recommend revising Quebec’s Pesticides Management Code to ban not only lawn pesticides, but also pesticides used for cosmetic purposes in other aspects of landscaping. The two organizations also recommend that Quebec create a robust list of lower risk products permitted for use, that the sale and use of all other pesticides be prohibited on all public and private property, and that a mechanism be developed to cover new active ingredients as they emerge on the market.

“Quebec should seize the opportunity to learn from developments in other provinces and regain its leadership position by revising the Pesticides Management Code,” states Karel Mayrand, Director General of the David Suzuki Foundation in Quebec.

“Ontario and Nova Scotia have raised the bar when it comes to protecting the environment and human health from cosmetic pesticides. Other provinces should draw on these models and introduce stringent regulations on cosmetic pesticides,” concludes Nadine Bachand, project manager in agriculture at Equiterre.

"Too many people believe they are protected by the Pesticides Management Code introduced by the Government of Quebec. However, the Code far too weak and Quebec now needs to catch up as recommended in the report by the David Suzuki Foundation and Equiterre. Ten years ago, we were pioneers in the movement to raise awareness among the public and decision-makers about alternative solutions and the need for a province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticide; it’s now time to raise the bar and reclaim our leadership position," adds Edith Smeesters, pioneer of the movement for alternatives to pesticides in Quebec and ecological horticulture consultant for Equiterre.

"Many of our members experience adverse health effects upon exposure to pesticides. This restricts their quality of life during the summer as they have to stay away from sprayed areas and cannot take part in outdoor activities due to pesticide use. The Pesticide Code of Québec was put into effect as a health protection measure. Keeping this in mind, Québec must now strengthen the Code to better protect the health of vulnerable populations,” states Michel Gaudet, Vice-President and spokesperson for the Association de santé environnementale du Québec (ASEQ).

Consult the complete report

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Éveline Trudel-Fugère
Tel.: 514 522-2000 ext 303
Cell.: 514 605-2000

Manon Dubois
David Suzuki Fondation
Tel: 514 316-4646 ext 104
Cell: 514 679-0821