By David F. Rooney
The North Columbia Environmental Society and the Canadian Cancer Society have launched an anti-cosmetic pesticide petition the Cancer Society plans to take take to BC Environment Minister Barry Penner in September.
Copies of the petition are currently available for signing at Mountain Goodness on Victoria Road and Sangha Bean on Connaught Avenue. Other signing locations will be added in the days ahead.
NCES President Sarah Newton said Friday that the Cancer Society’s position on synthetic cosmetic pesticides — those compounds used to kill weeds and other unwanted plants in lawns and gardens — is reasonable and should be supported by people who support its campaign to beat cancer.
“They are not an environmental group,” she said. “Their concern is cancer and its causes.”
Jerilyn Maki of the Canadian Cancer Society said that organization’s CEO, Barbara Kaminsky, and public issues manager, Kathryn Seely, will meet with Penner in Victoria on Sept. 7 to encourage the BC government to act swiftly on provincial pesticide legislation.
“The more signatures we can take with us, the better,” she said.
For its part, the NCES wants Revelstoke City Council to enact a bylaw that would ban the use of cosmetic pesticides on public and private property. On Feb. 23 it asked Councillors to enact a ban similar to that of Invermere, but they put off a decision for at least six months, citing a need to consult with the school district, the golf course and other stakeholders. They directed staff to look at a possible bylaw and report back in late August. A public meeting will be held prior to its decision on anti-pesticide bylaw.
Newton said research clearly shows that cosmetic pesticides contribute to cancer rates.
“My best friend died of leukemia,” she said. “He was a soccer player and lived next to a golf course. He was just 27 when he died and his family started looking for answers. They saw the European Union’s research and saw that the incidence of leukemia among soccer players (who typically played on pesticide-sprayed fields) was seven times the European average. That was pretty stark.”
The NCES currently is asking people who want an anti-pesticide bylaw to show their support by planting small anti-pesticide signs on their lawns. The group also hopes to have a screening of the film, A Chemical Reaction, prior to the City’s public meeting.