'Unnecessary and avoidable threat': Calls to keep cosmetic pesticide ban in place

Over 30 health and environmental organizations are calling on the province to keep the cosmetic pesticide ban in place.

The group, which includes the Manitoba Health Coalition, the Manitoba College of Family Physicians and the Winnipeg Humane Society, wants the province to rethink Bill 22.

The upcoming legislation would roll back restrictions that have been in place since 2014, which forces lawn companies and homeowners to stop using certain chemicals and switch to eco-friendly products.

The coalition believes lawn pesticides are a threat to the health of children and others.

“The overwhelming consensus of the available research tells us that children are most at risk from exposure to pesticides. Toxic lawn pesticides represent an unnecessary and avoidable threat to the health of children and others in our community. The pesticide ban can and should stay in place,” said Thomas Linner, provincial director of the Manitoba Health Coalition.

If the bill is passed, people would be allowed to use Health Canada approved pesticides for cosmetic use, but there would still be a ban in places like schools, child-care centres, hospitals, municipal playgrounds and provincial parks.

READ MORE: Understanding pesticides in Manitoba

The Manitoba NDP, who announced in April it would delay the bill, issued a statement Tuesday, renewing calls to stop the bill from passing.

"This bad PC bill is unnecessary and it will move us backward not forward to a cleaner future,” said Lisa Naylor, NDP critic for climate change and the environment.

“Families and experts agree – cosmetic pesticides are harmful for our children, our pets and our environment. We have to come together to raise awareness and stop Bill 22."

BILL WOULD ALLOW HEALTH CANADA APPROVED PESTICIDES: PROVINCE

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for Jeff Wharton, Manitoba’s minister of environment, climate and parks said cosmetic pesticides that are currently restricted in Manitoba are deemed acceptable by Health Canada.

They added over 350 Health Canada scientists are dedicated to the review of pesticides.

“They use the most recent data and science available to assess risks to human health and the environment. Any pesticide must go through this rigorous review before it can be sold in Canada and must include instructions on how to safely apply the product,” the spokesperson said.

They added other prairie provinces have no such ban on pesticides in place and do not protect sensitive areas like schools and hospitals, as Bill 22 would.

The bill is set to come to a vote in the Legislature this fall.

- With files from CTV’s Jon Hendricks and Devon McKendrick