Cosmetic pesticides? I didn’t “overlook” anything — I flat out ignored it

David F. Rooney

The claim (please see And now a word from the pro-pesticide lobby…) by pro-pesticide lobbyist Lorne Hepworth that I “overlooked a number of important facts in his recent Revelstoke Current articles on pesticides, such as the fact that these products contribute to proper maintenance of public and private spaces, which make for happier, healthier communities” is bull shit — plain and simple.

I did not overlook it. I flat out ignored it.

I do not know — and never have known — anyone who believes that the use of pesticides makes for a “happier, healthier community”… unless, of course you are talking about the community of pesticide purveyors who have happier, healthier bottom lines as a result of the municipal and private use of pesticides.

As for Lorne Hepworth’s suggestion that Health Canada is actively out there protecting people’s health. Well, that’s almost laughable. Cigarettes are still sold in this country, aren’t they? Dangerous products are openly sold in this country because they are produced by politically connected and powerful industries.

Hepworth also claims: “We cannot stand by in silence while our products – which are deemed safe for use by experts from around the world — are falsely accused of causing a litany of health problems.  That accusation simply isn’t true and it shouldn’t go unchallenged.”

What litany of health problems? The only health problem mentioned in The Current are pesticides’ links, as demonstrated through medical studies across the world, to certain forms of cancer.

Do those studies constitute proof? Perhaps not but I’m sure there are still people in the tobacco industry who will tell you there is no proof that smoking causes cancer, too. And I’ll bet there are still people who think the oily sheen on the surface of the Love Canal was pretty as were the fires on the Cuyahoga River (for those of you too young to remember or to know this: the Love Canal was a community in upstate New York that was evacuated because the canal that ran through it was used as a dumping ground for chemicals. As for the Cuyahoga River, it has caught fire at least 13 times because the chemical pollutiants in it were ignited.)

What I am not suggesting is that we are in any danger of turning into another Love Canal or that the Columbia will burn some night. But I am saying that the people of Revelstoke need to consider just how much synthetic poison — and that’s what pesticides are — we really need. I don’t like dandelions or burdock anymore than the next guy but there are other ways to get rid of them that don’t include adding to the synthetic chemical burden on our environment. We live in one of the most unspoiled places in Canada. Do we really want poisons leaching into our river just because we want lawns that have no weeds in them?

Some people think that’s just fine, especially since they’re making money off selling poison. Consideration of bylaws banning cosmetic pesticides threatens them to the point where, as you’ll read in the next instalment of The Current’s series on cosmetic pesticides, they’ll threaten lawsuits against those who oppose them

Revelstoke’s decision regarding cosmetic pesticides is going to be made by the people of Revelstoke based on what the people who live here believe is best for them — and no one else.

I’ve already made my choice. There’s a Pesticide Free sign on our lawn. If you’d like one of your very own please contact Sarah Newton (clicking on her name will give you a pop-up e-mail form) at the North Columbia Environmental Society.

For more information on pesticide propaganda please go to John Steinman’s Deconstructing Dinner radio show where you can hear this discussion.