The Canadian Cancer Society has joined the call for ban on cosmetic pesticides in view of their possible links with cancer.
Cosmetic pesticides are those used to control dandelions and other weeds in lawns and on sports fields.
In a survey in the Alberta region, it was found that 87 per cent of the 790 polled say they would support community bylaws restricting the use of cosmetic pesticides, said Lorie Boychuk, the society's public issues analyst.
Edmonton Councillor Don Iveson, whose portfolio covers environment issues, said he was hearing from many people who would like to see such a ban. "I think we need some kind of strategy to reduce their use, and I know the city's done quite a bit on that front." He said he didn't know whether a ban was feasible, but felt education about the issue was important.
Boychuk said the science linking pesticides with cancer kept getting stronger. "The evidence is definitely suggestive and growing. It's not 100-per-cent conclusive, but we feel there's enough existing at this point in time to invoke the precautionary principle."
Alberta Environment says it is Health Canada's role to determine which pesticides are safe, after which the province manages their use.
The department is conducting a mandatory review of provincial pesticide regulations, which began two years ago and should be finished this summer, said Alberta Environment spokeswoman Cara Van Marck. The regulations govern sales, handling, use, disposal and storage of all pesticides used for agricultural and cosmetic purposes.
Cosmetic use is being looked at during the review, she said.
"Provincial legislation would ultimately be the preferred course of action, because if you ban the use of the products in municipalities that's only one piece of the puzzle," Boychuk said. "You need provincial jurisdiction to ban the sale of them at retail locations. If you've got a ban in place but people are still allowed to walk into a (store) to buy them, then it's not really that effective."
Ontario has introduced legislation banning the use and sale of cosmetic pesticides, and Quebec has enacted similar laws, she said. There are efforts in B.C. Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia to get similar legislation in place, she said, writes Hanneke Brooymans, The Edmonton Journal.