Media Release

Coalition Urges Minister: Make Changes to Pesticides Act That Matter

Mar 21 2002

The Campaign for Pesticide Reduction (CPR) today voiced cautious optimism at news federal Minister of Health Anne McLellan is about to introduce amendments to the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA), the federal legislation governing the use of pesticides in Canada, and identified the necessary improvements to make the Act protect Canadians. Originally passed in 1969, the PCPA is widely regarded as out of date with current scientific research and modern approaches to pest control. "We have been waiting years for the federal government to get its priorities straight when it comes to the registration of pesticides," said Dr. Warren Bell, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. "We need to ensure that Health Canada puts the health and protection of the Canadian public and workers ahead of that of the profits of pesticide manufacturers." "Good legislation must include a process for fast-tracking the approval of less toxic alternatives to currently registered pesticides and an automatic deregistration of those chemicals we know are harming our health," said Rich Whate of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. "The Act must be changed to recognize the troubling evidence of harmful effects that can result from pesticide exposure on children, developing foetuses, the elderly, the ill, and wildlife," said Angela Rickman, deputy director of the Sierra Club of Canada. "The new law must be strong enough to take preventive action in the face of incomplete scientific information. The law must provide the power to phase-down and phase-out pesticides when scientific evidence reveals the potential for harmful effects," said Kathleen Cooper, Researcher with the Canadian Environmental Law Association. "Canada has no system in place to track pesticide sales and use, to report their adverse health and environmental effects or to monitor the quality of products on the market; this must be amended," said Edith Smeesters of the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. "Ultimately, if what we end up with is a supposedly "new and improved" PCPA that doesn't give us the ability to deregister pesticides that cause health or environmental damage, and that continues to allow toxic and dangerous chemicals to be approved for use, this will all have been an exercise in futility," said Dave Bennett, Canadian Labour Congress. The Campaign for Pesticide Reduction is a Canada-wide coalition of health professionals, environmental organizations, labour groups, farmers' associations, academics and activists concerned with pesticide use. The Steering Committee includes the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the Toronto Environmental Alliance, World Wildlife Fund, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and the Sierra Club of Canada.-30-For more information:At CELA:Paul Muldoon,Executive Director and Counsel, 416-960-2284, ext. 219Theresa McClenaghan, Counsel, ext. 218 and 519-442-1589 Kathleen Cooper, Researcher, ext. 221Coalition Members:Edith Smeesters, Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, (450) 441-3899Rich Whate, Toronto Environmental Alliance, 416-596-0660Angela Rickman, Sierra Club of Canada, 613-241-4611, 613-293-9944(cell)