Canadian Cancer Society calls on the B.C. government to ban cosmetic use of pesticides

On-line consultation an opportunity for public to join the fight for cancer prevention

The Canadian Cancer Society British Columbia and Yukon today called on the B.C. government to enact legislation to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides that would set a new national standard. The Society is also asking British Columbians to participate in the on-line public consultation.

"Over the next 40 days, British Columbians can make their voices heard and join the fight for cancer prevention and against the use of cosmetic pesticides," says Barbara Kaminsky, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society B.C. and Yukon. "It is time for the provincial government to accept the research and listen to the vast majority of British Columbians who want pesticide legislation."

Kaminsky says that in 2010, B.C. will have an opportunity to demonstrate national leadership by adopting the strongest cosmetic pesticide ban in Canada.

The Society in partnership with Toxic Free Canada introduced model legislation as part of the 60 day on-line public consultation process announced last month by B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner. In addition to adopting some of the standards set in the Province of Ontario's ban, the Society's proposed bill goes further and includes:

- immediate ban on use of cosmetic pesticides on all sports fields - including those being used for an international or national event; - municipalities to pass stronger cosmetic pesticide bylaws, as they have done in passing smoke-free bylaws; - ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides on B.C. golf courses within three years; and, - establishment of a public education campaign and 'white list' of low risk products that can be used as alternatives to cosmetic pesticides.

A complete copy of the proposal is available at The proposal focuses on cosmetic uses of pesticides; pesticide use in forestry and agriculture are beyond the scope of the proposal.

"It is important that the B.C. consultation leads to a new law this year that can come into effect this time next year," says Kaminsky. "Most important of all, however, is that the B.C. government does not pass weak legislation like that has been the case in other jurisdictions."

To facilitate increased public participation in the province's on-line consultation process the Society has created a special web-link at where members of the public can provide their input by email, by contacting their local MLA or by joining the Pesticide Free B.C. Facebook group. The Society is also hosting the Vancouver Premiere of "A Chemical Reaction", a documentary that tells the story of the Canadian movement to ban lawn and garden pesticides on January 20, 2010 7:00pm at Park Theatre 3440 Cambie Street.

A growing body of evidence in published studies from the World Health Organization and US Environmental Protection Agency on the carcinogenicity of pesticides points to an increased risk of cancer to both adults and children: cancers that include leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate, brain, and lung.

"Children may be at a higher risk due to their rapidly developing bodies," says Kaminsky. "By eliminating these harmful agents from our lawns, gardens, sports fields, playgrounds and recreation areas, we will be helping to prevent cancer in children and adults and we will be promoting a sustainable environment at the same time."

Cosmetic pesticides are used to control unwanted weeds and plants to improve the appearance of lawns and gardens. More than 25 B.C. municipalities have adopted bylaws to ban their cosmetic use and several provinces have bans in place. Ontario's law is currently recognized as a national standard.

Large national retailers have voluntarily stopped selling pesticides and others have said they would support a provincial ban.




  1. Ken Ken Canada says:

    I find it funny that we can decide to ban cosmetic pesticide use and make it a national incident when there is no "scientific" eveidence that links pesticide use to cancer. C'mon people pull your head out of your arseholes, if the Cancer Society were to link automobile exhaust to cancer would we rush to judgement and stop driving cars? I think not. They pick on pesticides because it is an easy target. No one needs them, yet many jobs and a large part of the economy is provided through the use of cosmetic pesticides. Let's not rush to judgement just because someone has an agenda. Once cancer is linked "scientifically" to pesticide use then we can perhaps pass judgement. by the way the Pesticide Regulatory Management Agency is one of the most strict organizations on the globe as far as passing pesticides for safe usage. People who obtain licenses to apply pesticides are educated on the correct techniques and safe application of these products. Scientifically we know what is going on, medically we do not!

  2. Rod Rod Canada says:

    Let's get on the BAN wagon as we do not know all the facts! It is true that many pesticides from the 40's, 50's and 60's caused ailments or cancers to the public that were heavily exposed to them. Today, research goes above and beyond to insure that the health of the general public is not at risk. Of all the people, it's the ones who are either manufacturing or applying the product that are at greatest risk and recent studies have not shown a direct link to pesticide medical problems with these people. Cosmetic use? The amount of total pesticide usage per acre would be found on our vast expanse of farmland and in the many greenhouses that produce the food that we consume. Is this an acceptable use of pesticides...cosmetic use on our food crops? How many people have died from the food we eat? I know of no three-legged farmers who use pesticides. The biggest problem with anything is when someone without the education, training or experience takes on a task and makes a mistake! Take a look under your kitchen sink or in your medicine cabinet, tell me how many products are there that can kill you or an unwary child. Often times it NOT the product, but the applicator or end user who causes the problems. Let's hear from the Canadian Cancer Society...where did they get their information and what research is behind it? Yes, it's easy to make a broad statement and jump on the "Ban Wagon"!

  3. barry barry Canada says:

    This woman should be sent to jail for spinning lies that contradict all REAL scientific evidence. Any person related to the cancer society that comes within 100 feet of my property looking for donations from me from now on will no longer receive my heart felt donation but will be forwarded to this woman's audacity and then shown the door. When the cancer society starts lieing to us, something is really really wrong. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

    Barry Studer

  4. Steve Clark Steve Clark Canada says:

    For all the great work the CCS does, why do they associate themselves with self-serving, agenda laden, misleading, fear mongers like this woman and her group. SHOW US THE SCIENCE! SHOW US THE PEER REVIEWED EVIDENCE! SHOW US THE DOUBLE BLIND TEST RESULTS! Guess what they can't. As an association, we have led the way in conjuction with the Ministry of the Environment in implementing the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. Recognizing threshhold limits for pests, evaluating effecting and safe controls (mechanical and cultural and lastly chemical), devising an effective management plan that will minimize risks and damage to people, property values and workers.
    It is so easy to attack the industry as a whole, just trot out the pictures of the kids and puppies and tug at your heart strings. Shame on you!
    If the CCS want to make a real difference in peoples lives lead the ban on real dangers, cigarettes, fast food, trans fat, idleing in you car, etc. This is not a band wagon educated people want to get on. The Canadian Cancer Society should watch who they associate with!

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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