Newfoundland and Labrador (CAP–NL)
CAP-NL is advocating for a ban on the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is advocating for the government not only to enact legislation to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides but also to set a new national standard. In addition to adopting some of the standards set in other provinces, particularly Ontario, CAP-NL is advocating that legislation also include a ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides on all sports fields, recreational areas, and golf courses.
CAP-NL is a provincial coalition of environmental organizations and citizens who are concerned about the risks posed by the cosmetic use of pesticides to the health of children, adults, animals, and the environment. We have joined together to defend our basic rights to health and environmental quality and, more specifically, for the purpose of eliminating the cosmetic use of pesticides and replacing their use with safer and ecologically sound alternatives. In a world of multiple chemical exposures, measures must be taken to remove the needless risk of cosmetic pesticide use. There are safe alternatives available to create beautiful gardens and to control pests in buildings.
Organizations which are in support of a ban on cosmetic pesticides include the Canadian Cancer Society-NL Division, the NL Medical Association, the Association of Registered Nurses of NL, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Municipalities NL, the NL Environment Network, the Sierra Club of Canada-Atlantic Chapter, the Northeast Avalon Atlantic Coastal Action Program, Grand Riverkeeper Labrador, Food Education Action St. John’s, the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice, Kelligrews Ecological Enhancement Program, and St. John’s Safer Soil. CAP-NL is also supported by many concerned citizens across the province.
Focus and Priorities
Advocating for a province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticide use.
Working with government in establishing a public education campaign regarding the risks of pesticide use and the existence of less toxic alternatives.
Championing the right of every municipality to pass protective pesticide bylaws if provincial legislation does not exist or is of a lower standard in both law and enforcement.
Calling for strong leadership from our Premier, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Department of Health and Community Services to address this critical issue in an effective and expeditious manner.
Pesticides and Health
The cosmetic use of pesticides is considered as the use of pesticides for non- essential, or aesthetic, purposes; for example, to improve the appearance of lawns and gardens or to control organisms that may be perceived as undesirable. A pesticide is anything that is used to control or destroy a pest. Pesticides used to kill insects are known as insecticides; those used to kill weeds are called herbicides; those used to kill rodents are called rodenticides; and those used to kill fungi are called fungicides.
The scientific and medical basis for a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides is well established. Scientists and physicians have linked pesticide exposure to serious negative health effects, including cancer, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable. Additionally, pesticides can cause immediate physical reactions in people living with allergies and lung diseases such as asthma and emphysema.
Pesticide Bans Across Canada
The majority of Canadians (almost 80 percent) now enjoy the health and environmental benefits of protection by municipal and provincial legislation. To date, over 170 municipalities across Canada and 4 provinces have enacted bans. Quebec was the first province, in 2003, to introduce a ban on lawn pesticides. Ontario’s new Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act, prohibiting the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides, came into force in 2009. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia enacted pesticide bans in 2010. (Nova Scotia’s legislation comes into effect on April 1, 2011.) Newfoundland and Labrador is now the only Atlantic province without a ban on the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides.