Cosmetic pesticide ban reconsidered in Manitoba

Manitoba may be re-thinking its ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides.

In a release issued this morning, Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox said the province would consult with Manitobans about legislation that prohibits the use of pesticides on lawns and public green spaces, including schools, day cares and playing fields.

“The purpose of the legislation is to reduce the exposure of people and pets to herbicides used in lawn care for non-essential or cosmetic purposes,” Cox said.

“We are committed to finding the right balance between protecting the environment, minimizing the impact and providing usable, aesthetic green spaces in our communities.”

The former NDP government passed a cosmetic pesticide ban in 2014, claiming it would “protect children from the risks of chemical lawn pesticides” and prevent “some of our most vulnerable populations, especially children, from getting sick.”

The legislation and government rhetoric around pesticides angered agricultural groups in the province.

In a 2014 letter to the province, Manitoba Beef Producers said a ban suggests that agricultural chemicals are a threat to human health.

“MBP (Manitoba Beef Producers) has concerns regarding the artificial distinction being made between so-called cosmetic use of pesticides and agricultural use…. We do not believe that products can be considered safe in one environment and toxic in another. It is our view that this distinction between different uses of products sends an unfortunate (and ultimately dangerous) mixed message to the public at large.”

Manitobans can email their comments to pesticide.review.2016@gov.mb.ca, or respond to an online survey at www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/envprograms/initiatives/cosmetic_pesticides/.

The government is accepting comments until Sept. 12.

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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