Pesticide security

Re: Pesticide dangers, Health Clinic column,Western Producer,May 26.

Clare Rowson was correct to say that pesticides -like all chemicals -need to be handled according to label directions. However, she also provided a significant amount of misinformation to readers that must be corrected.

Rowson cites various studies in her column, but what readers should know is that before any pesticide can be sold in Canada, it must undergo a comprehensive scientific review and risk assessment by Health Canada.

This means that in addition to over 200 tests covering health and environmental effects, Health Canada examines all scientifically credible evidence and makes a decision based on all of the scientific evidence available, not just isolated studies.

Through this process, pesticides receive a greater breadth of scrutiny than any other regulated product, and only those products that meet Health Canada’s strict health and safety standards are registered for sale and use.

The columnist also raised concerns about pesticide residues on food when, in fact, recent data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency shows that about 88 percent of all fresh food items and 90 percent of processed food items show no traces of pesticides at all.

In instances where trace amounts of pesticides are found, it is usually in the range of parts per million or less -much, much too low, according to Health Canada, to have any impact whatsoever on consumers.

The fact of the matter is that pesticides can be safely used and Canadians should feel comfortable if they choose to use them to protect their personal property, gardens and crops.

Canada’s plant science industry welcomes questions about our products and looks forward to future opportunities to set the record straight about the safety of our products and our industry’s commitment to people, public health and the environment.

Lorne Hepworth,

President, CropLife Canada, Ottawa, Ont.

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