De Jong only Liberal candidate opposing sale of cosmetic pesticides

  • Feb. 22, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Only one Liberal leadership candidate, Mike de Jong, responded to a single question posed in an online poll by the Surrey White Rock Pesticide-Free Coalition: “Would you support the enactment of provincial legislation banning the sale, use and application of cosmetic pesticides on private lawns and gardens, as well as public parks and recreational facilities?”De Jong, NDP interim leader Dawn Black and Green Party leader Jane Sterk were the only ones answering the question and all three answered ‘Yes.’  All other Liberal leadership candidates did not respond.Cosmetic pesticides are pesticides (e.g., synthetic weed killer) used for the purposes of enhancing the appearance of lawns, gardens, public parks and recreational facilities. Scientific studies show that chemical pesticides are increasingly linked to serious illness, especially leukemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities, and fertility and neurological problems.Across Canada, more than 170 municipalities, and the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edwrad Island and soon Nova Scotia have enacted legislation to ban the sale, use and application of cosmetic pesticides.“The B.C. government has remained silent, even with the Union of B.C. Municipalities 2008 motion asking the provincial government to pass provincial legislation banning the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides,” said Andrew Schulz, coalition member.“The B.C. government has failed to protect the health of citizens, particularly the young and elderly, who are most at risk.”“Both Langley City and the Township of Langley are among the few remaining municipalities in the Lower Mainland without a cosmetic pesticide bylaw,” said Christa McGregor, coalition member and Langley resident. “We need provincial legislation to protect the health of all British Columbians.”On April 15, 2010, the environment ministry posted a summary thousands of comments.More than 8,000 comments, signatures on petitions, or submissions were received between December, 2009 and the end of February, 2010 in response to the Ministry of Environment’s request for comments on the cosmetic use of pesticides in BC.“The B.C. government has taken no action on a pesticide ban … although an overwhelming 88 per cent of consultation respondents support a ban,” said Doreen Dewell, environmental science instructor. “Also, a survey completed for the Canadian Cancer Society found that 75 per cent of British Columbians believe that pesticides have a negative impact on their health, and similar numbers are concerned about the environmental impacts of pesticides (Canadian Cancer Society Public Opinion Research Survey, 2008).”“I’ve had too many friends diagnosed with cancer and leukemia,” said Mel Tomiyama, co-chair of the Coalition’s research and education team. “We need the B.C. government to act now to prevent frivolous toxins from entering our water, air and soil,” he said.“Our children deserve the same protection as other provinces. Statistics show that landscaping and other businesses thrive under such a ban. We ask British Columbians to write a letter to their local MLA, urging them to support provincial legislation banning the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides. “For more information, see www.pesticidefreebc.org.