From: , Organic Consumers Association, More from this Affiliate
Published June 23, 2008 09:03 AM

The Great Pesticide Debate

It's a battle that's been raging in this country for more than 15 years, with skirmishes fought in town council rooms, the House of Commons, the Supreme Court of Canada and on the letters pages of this newspaper.

But the use of pesticides for purely esthetic purposes -- such as killing dandelions -- has likely never been a hotter topic than it is today.


The push for a cosmetic pesticide ban in Calgary comes at a time when citizens have started questioning the safety of the food they eat, the toys they buy and the chemicals they're exposed to.

That public awareness has seen the movement for a pesticide ban pick up speed in Calgary, says Robin McLeod, spokeswoman for the Coalition for a Healthy Calgary.

A Canadian Cancer Society survey released in May found 87 per cent of Albertans support community bylaws banning the cosmetic use of pesticides.

"Environmental concerns are becoming a bigger issue for Canadians as a whole," McLeod says.

If passed, Calgary would be the first major municipality west of Ontario to implement a pesticide ban. In February, three aldermen brought forward a proposal for Calgary to phase out the use of pesticides -- including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides -- for cosmetic purposes by the end of 2010. The proposal called for city crews to stop using the chemicals by December 2009, with the ban to include private property by December 2010.

After two hours of debate, the issue was referred to an environmental advisory board to study and come back with recommendations.

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