Pallister Government Would put Families at Risk by Ending Ban On Potentially Harmful Pesticides

The Pallister government may be putting families at risk with proposed legislation that could see the end of the ban on some pesticides for cosmetic purposes, said NDP Environment Critic Rob Altemeyer.

“The government has failed to provide any new scientific evidence to justify removing the ban on the use of pesticides for purely cosmetic purposes,” Altemeyer said. “In contrast to consultation with experts and scientific evidence, the government is basing this move on a poorly constructed survey and is refusing to release the results of their supposed consultation with Manitobans.”

Manitoba Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox told media today the government wants to introduce new legislation by the end of the year that would be simple and easy to understand. Under questioning by reporters at the Manitoba Legislative Building, Cox refused to rule out an end to the ban on cosmetic pesticides.

Altemeyer noted the only new scientific information made public since the ban came into effect came from the World Health Organization, which concluded pesticides are potentially more dangerous, not less, than originally thought.

Common household herbicides contain a chemical called glyphosate, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer now labels as "probably carcinogenic".

The current ban on these pesticides took effect in 2015 under the former NDP government and limited the commercial sale and use of cosmetic lawn-care products. There is an exemption for using pesticides on poison ivy and invasive species, or in agriculture and on sports fields.

“A clear majority of families indicated they support our ban on cosmetic pesticides as an important way to protect the health of young children, people with compromised immune systems and pets,” Altemeyer said. “The government should maintain the current legislation banning the cosmetic use of pesticides in Manitoba. Why put the health of children at risk?”