From: Davil Ljunggren, Reuters
Published February 22, 2005 12:00 AM

Canada Not Planning to Ban Popular Lawn Pesticide

OTTAWA — Canada said Monday it did not plan to restrict the use of the popular garden pesticide 2,4-D and said it had found no evidence to support suggestions that the substance could cause cancer.


More than 60 municipalities across Canada have banned the cosmetic use of pesticides because of the possible harmful effects on humans and the environment.


Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced after a lengthy re-evaluation of 2,4-D that the pesticide was safe to use so long as label instructions were followed.


"The PMRA understands that the public may have concerns over domestic uses of pesticides and would like to convey that all registered pesticides undergo a thorough science-based risk assessment," it said in a statement.


Connie Moase of the PMRA said the agency would take a final decision on whether to ban the pesticide later in the year after the public had been given a chance to make comments.


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"We have determined that 2,4-D can continue to be used safely by homeowners who choose to use it on their lawns provided that label instructions are followed," she told a news conference.


Environmental activists attacked the decision, however.


"We're quite disgusted with it ... I don't think it's protecting the health of Canadians at all. There are certainly lots of ways you can maintain beautiful lawns and gardens without using 2,4-D," said Meg Sears of the Canadian Coalition for Health and Environment.


2,4-D, formally known as 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, is manufactured by a number of major chemical companies such as Syngenta Crop Protection Canada Inc., Dow Agrosciences Canada Inc., Bayer Chemicals, Monsanto, DuPont and BASF.


Moase said tests on animals had found no evidence that exposure to highly elevated levels of 2,4-D caused cancer.


"The overall analysis shows no clear association between exposure to 2,4-D and human cancers," she said.


But the agency did say that "to promote risk reduction" users should use the pesticide at its lowest effective rate and added it would limit the number of times per year that an entire lawn could be sprayed.


The PMRA also said it planned to start re-evaluating the use of 2,4-D on farms and would require users to set up buffer zones if they planned to use tractor-pulled containers to spray golf courses or sod farms.


Sears said her group would make public submissions stressing its opposition to 2,4-D.


"I can't say I'm very hopeful because the worldwide chemical industry is very powerful and has a lot more money than our volunteer organization," she said.


Source: Reuters


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