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Daily News Archive
From March 6, 2006                                                                                                        

Help Quebec Activists Preserve Aesthetic Pesticide Ban
(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2006)
Quebec activists from the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (CAP) are asking concerned citizens of Canada, the U.S. and beyond to write to the Minister of the Environment, Claude Béchard, and ask that he leave the Quebec Pesticide Code untouched and implement the final phase as scheduled on April 3, 2006. Let the new Minister that the preventive protections provided through the Pesticide Code of Quebec are important to you and that it serves as a model for your own state, province or country.

The former Minster of Environment, Thomas Mulcair, who was a staunch supporter of the Pesticide Code, has been replaced by Mr. Béchard, former Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade. Canadian activists are concerned that he may give in to industry pressure to weaken the code.

While the lawn care industry could have used the Code as an opportunity to grow the organic side of the business, it chose to fight the Code. At a conference held late in 2005, the industry was announced that every effort would be made to get 2,4-D off the list of pesticides to be banned in Quebec.

CAP is asking that people write to the new Minister of the Environment urging him: 1) to keep 2,4-D on Quebec’s list of banned active pesticide ingredients; 2) to leave the Pesticide Code untouched; and, 3) to implement the final phase of the Pesticide Code of Quebec, as scheduled, on April 3, 2006.

Take Action: Below is a sample letter to send to the Minister of Environment, Mr. Béchard. Please feel free to modify it to your own words. For background on the code see this Daily News story from March 2003.

Please email your letter to:
ministre@mddep.gouv.qc.ca (Mr. Claude Béchard)

Copy to:
sandy.levesque@mce.gouv.qc.ca (Premier Jean Charest – riding office)
ministre@msss.gouv.qc.ca (Mr. Philip Couillard, Minister of Health)
ministre@mamr.gouv.qc.ca (Mme. Nathalie Normandeau, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Regions)
andre.boisclair@pq.org (Mr. Andre Boisclair, Leader of the Opposition)

For Quebec residents, if you wish to contact your Member of the National Assembly, or send them a copy of your letter, the coordinates can be found at: http://www.assnat.qc.ca/eng/Membres/deputes.shtml

-------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Claude Béchard

Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parcs
Édifice Marie-Guyart
675, boul. René-Lévesque Est
30e étage
Québec (Québec)
G1R5V7

Dear Mr. Béchard,

I am writing to congratulate you on your appointment as the new Minister of the Environment. I also want to bring a very important matter to your attention.

On April 3, 2006, the Pesticide Code of Quebec will be brought into its final phase of implementation. I have been given to understand that there is a concerted effort to remove 2,4-D from the list of pesticides to be banned under the Pesticide Code of Quebec. Undoubtedly, you are or will be inundated with reports, studies and various other materials touting the safety of this herbicide, just as at one point, it was said that the pesticides DDT, Lindane, Chlordane, Chlorpyrifos (Dursban), Diazinon, etc., were all safe. Even though these pesticides have now been banned in North America, some of them still persist in our water, air, soil, food and bodies, and have contaminated people and animals as far as the Arctic.

Amidst the damage to human health and the environment, I do not recall any pesticide industry lobbying to take care of the victims of this contamination, nor of the environment that has been degraded. On the contrary, Health Canada goes to great lengths to accommodate industry, even allowing them several years to finish using stocks of pesticides, long after there is proof of harm and even after it has been decided that the pesticide must be removed from Canada. There are no records of how many of our children and loved ones have paid a high price to protect corporate profits.

A recent study “Toxic Nation: a report on pollution in Canadians” described how during the past 50 years, breast cancer incidence has climbed 90 percent; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer tied to a weakened immune system, has increased 250 percent; asthma affects more kids than ever before; and neurological problems1 such as autism and Parkinson's disease are increasing in the young and elderly. Biomonitoring tests reveal toxic chemicals, particularly pesticides and related chemicals, are in all of us.2 A Quebec study found pesticides in the bodies of children. Of the children tested, 98.7% were contaminated with pesticides. 3 Among the pesticides found, was the herbicide 2,4-D.

It is imperative that Quebec takes the Precautionary Principle to heart. Quebec will not stand alone in banning 2,4-D for use on green spaces. Sweden, Norway and Denmark have already done this. 2,4-D has been classified as a hormone disrupter. Cancer rates in Sweden dropped once pesticides were restricted. 4

Therefore I come back to the Pesticide Code of Quebec. This is a unique piece of legislation that has placed human health and the environment above all other considerations. I congratulate you in advance for upholding the Code. Our children and future generations will thank you for this.

I thank you and look forward to your reply and remain,

Yours sincerely,

Please write your name and address here, and include the references below:

References:
1 Colborn T. A Case for Revisiting the Safety of Pesticides: A Closer Look at Neurodevelopment. **Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114(1):10-17. It is available at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/522014
2www.environmentaldefence.ca
3Caractérisation de l’exposition aux pesticides utilises en milieu résidentiel chez des enfants Québécois âgés de 3 à 7 ans. http://www.inspq.qc.ca/pdf/publications/319-CaracterisationPesticidesEnfants.pdf
4http ://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2003/6270/abstract.pdf