David Rawnsley: Citizens for Alternatives to Roadside Spraying (CARS) – Glengarry ON – March 26, 2010

Citizens for Alternatives to Roadside Spraying (CARS)

March 26th, 2010 Glengarry ON – With very little fanfare this week, the Counties Council once again approved the spraying of the poison 2,4-D on our roads, with the stated intention of killing noxious weeds, including but not limited to the wild (poison) parsnip. In fact, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment prohibits this under their new Cosmetic use of Pesticide Act. While it allows golf courses an exemption it does not exempt municipal or county roadsides. No, county roads are sprayed only to protect county workers who might be exposed to a health and safety risk, an issue we have heard nothing about.

The Ministry of the Environment states in its brochure entitled “Going Pesticide Free – Finding Healthier Alternatives” the following:

“Using pesticides on our lawns and gardens is unnecessary and harms our environment along with our families and pets. As kids grow, their small bodies can be more sensitive to the effect of pesticides. And because they spend a lot of time playing outdoors, they have greater chance of coming into contact with harmful pesticides. That’s why Ontario has banned the use and sale of pesticides for cosmetic purposes.”

Does it make sense to use public tax dollars to spray the banned herbicide 2,4,-D on the public right of way that often adjoins a private lawn? Do our vulnerable children know where one ends and the other begins?

The Counties Council and staff should be aware that they are circumventing the new Pesticide Act under the spurious claim of protecting their employees, though no evidence of a health and safety issue exists in the documented records, and no mention is made of it in public meetings. County Councilors (the Mayors and Deputy Mayors) should understand that they vote not to spray weeds – they vote for a health and safety action to protect their employees who might stray into roadsides without the appropriate clothes and safety protection.

In our opinion the Counties are at best “bending the law”; at worst they are “misrepresenting themselves to the community”.

How do the Counties place the importance of their employees, who can be appropriately protected, over the decision to “harm our environment along with our family and pets”, not our words but the words of the Ministry? Who is advocating for our Health and Safety?

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  1. Of course there is a crisis in Ontario and 2,4-D is perhaps the ONLY solution we have. If the province is taken over by poison parsnip, purple loosestrife(each plant can make over 3-Million seeds per year) and other noxious weeds, perhaps we can ask David Rawnsley and his bunch of treehuggers to solve the crisis!

  2. I find the roadside spraying downright unbelievable. I was under the distinct impression that under the provincial pesticide ban such spraying would be illegal. It certainly is unconscionable, in my opinion, and tantamount to exposing the public to deadly “second-hand pesticides”. Smoking is now banned in public places, so as to protect the public against second-hand smoke. Such prohibition should certainly apply to “second-hand pesticides” under the Ontario ban. The obsession with weed control on the part of county authorities makes no sense whatsoever. If there is a need to remove the weeds, why not employ school children in pulling them out? 2,4-D was invented during WWII for use on the battlefield. It should not be used for frivolous purposes in peacetime. This herbicide has been linked to various types of cancer, endocrine disruption, neurological and immune systems damage, asthma, Parkinson’s, reproductive problems, diabetes as well as behavioural and learning disabilities in children.

  3. It is the indiscriminate use of herbicides that have created this problem. The modernist view from the 50’s where man believes he can control and improve on nature has been proved to be totally wrong and created more problems than it solved. The more we learn about the environment the more we realize that we shouldn’t screw with nature. It may not be too late but if we keep trying to “fix” the environment the only way for the Earth to recover will be to eradicate not the weeds but man itself.

    So, yes the only solution may be to ask David Rawnsley and his bunch of treehuggers to solve the crisis. A little bit of patient and hard work may be just the trick.

  4. Poison parsnip or cancer? Tough choice.

  5. I am also responding to the submission by the Ontarian. I remember the fuss that was made about purple loosestrife not so long ago. It seemed to be spreading all over. Now most of it has disappeared, apparently without anyone lifting a finger. At least this is the situation in the Ottawa area. What is more important? The health of our children and grandchildren or the counter-productive war on weeds. At one time white clover was an integral part of lawns, kept them moist and provided half of the necessary nitrogen. Then someone decided that this clover was a weed and all clover was to be exterminated. I hope that sanity will prevail in Ontario and the necessary ban will be observed by local authorities. Incidentally, I happen to be a homeowner with a substantial weedless lawn that has not been sprayed for at least 15 years..

  6. It is interesting that someone quoting Clint Eastwood (my favourite, by the way) saying “get off my lawn,” trusts a government website to protect his health!

  7. Id rather deal with the poison parsnip. Avoid Giant Hogweed at all costs though. A little tip, use a sawblade attachment on a whipper snipper to easily get rid of the poison parsnip with minimal juicy spray. Cut it down soon enough, and keep it down, and you will notice over a couple years that it naturally regresses. Ive all but forced it off my property over the last few years. Just takes a little work to get it done, which is good for exercise. When it seeds is when you get the problems. So just keep it cut down and don’t let it flower and eventually you’ll be rid of it. The spraying is largely ineffective. So they kill it on the sides of the roads, but it does nothing against what is not beside the roads. And who knows what ill effects will come up from this method down the line.

  8. Eric, how do you feel about inhaling someone else’s cigarette smoke? If you were able to confine the use of pesticides to the interior of your house, your neighbours and the environment would be largely unaffected, but you can’t. In effect, you feel entitled to poisoning someone else’s air, ground and water, thus contributing to the contamination of the environment in general. This should be unacceptable in a supposedly civilized society. Incidentally, a friend has just sent me an e-mail reminding me that wild (poison) parsnip is NOT on the Ontario’s noxious weed list. Therefore, by approving the application of 2,4-D to eliminate the wild parsnip, your county authorities were breaking the law!

  9. K.Jean Cottam, PhD: go ahead….you’ve made my day!

  10. 2,4-D is also nasty for gardens, especially tomato’s. A farmer sprayed their field with that and killed all my tomatos one year just because the wind carried it over. So again, another reason I don’t like these nasty herbicides/pesticides used.

  11. The chance to smell someone’s cigarette smoke has been greatly reduced by government edict, but Health Canada says following the directions on some products is OK. (cigarretts do not have directions for use) Even professional lawn companies, who had to be licensed, now can not use various products..
    What about the people with asema (sp?), a yard full of weeds is not helping them.

    You know, it is not just any one thing, but our provincial government is expanding and reducing freedoms we grew up with under the guise of safety. No, I do not mean drinking and driving.
    Our next door county, Dundas, is concerned because the Province is putting another layer of administrationin place under the water act for communities under 10,000 for example.

    Thanks PHD, how about a doctor for the other side now.

  12. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has been taken to task for failing to take human exposures into account. The critics argue that scientific evidence has to be significantly broader than the toxicological (laboratory animal) industry risk assessment on which the PMRA primarily relies, because it has no own labs. The PMRA doesn’t study human exposures in the real world; regrettably the agency, which employs about 250 toxicologists and only two epidemiologists (i.e., experts on humans) refuses to acknowledge the limitations of its method. Eric, are you saying that pesticides are a remedy for asthma–pesticides can only aggravate asthma!

  13. I am not a Doctor and do not even play one on the radio, but my comment concerning an asthma victim, is what is worse, a lawn full of weeds or the spray? Unless you over spray continually near a very shallow well, I suggest it is the several months of weeds in your lawn. Of course ,varibles vary….

    The governement has taken away our chioce so we may never know. Meanwhile, we have all these professionals working for salary & benefits to give us advice, but perhaps should not be.
    I doubt that I can add any more to this thread. Enjoy your weekend all.

  14. Jean Cottam: “The obsession with weed control on the part of county authorities makes no sense whatsoever. If there is a need to remove the weeds, why not employ school children in pulling them out? ”

    So your ok with child labour? An honest days gruel for an honest days beating?

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