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From July 12, 2001

Quebec Considers Cosmetic Pesticide Ban

According to The Gazette, Quebec's environment minister Andre Boisclair announced earlier this month that the Canadian province is "seriously considering" a ban on pesticide use for strictly aesthetic purposes. The announcement follows the Canadian Supreme Court ruling that municipalities can legally restrict the use of pesticides.

"There are people who are demanding that we eliminate pesticides for cosmetic purposes, and it's a question I am looking at very attentively," Andre Boisclair told The Gazette. "I certainly would not reject it out of hand. When public health is at stake, I don't negotiate."

Mr. Boisclair noted that a provincial code on pesticide use will move ahead quickly now that the country's top court has confirmed the right of municipalities to pass bylaws restricting their use, reported The Gazette.

"In many cases, these pesticides are being used by people who are not aware of the potential danger," Mr. Boisclair said. "These products, according to all the research that has been brought to my attention ... are dangerous for those who handle it and for those around them. There is a health risk and a risk for the environment in the use of pesticides, and we have to be very careful. We have to set a framework for pesticide use."

If signed into law, the legislation would:

Set safety rules for storage and preparation of pesticides, setting minimum distances from wells, sewers and underground water sources.

Require signage warning the public when pesticides have been applied on public and private property.

Oblige businesses that store pesticides to have insurance to cover environmental damage in case of spills.

Set out rules for when the public and the ministry must be notified prior to pesticide application.

Establish emergency procedures in case of accidental pesticide spills.