The Canadian Institute of Child Health (CICH) encourages other jurisdictions across Canada to follow Quebec's lead in protecting children form pesticide exposure. The Province of Quebec, this week announced changes to the laws that regulate pesticide sale and use in the province. CICH is pleased that a major thrust of the new law is to better protect children by mandating a near total ban on the use of pesticides in and around child care centres, primary and secondary schools. These restrictions along with other provisions in the bill will better protect the health of all the children in Quebec from the effects of toxic pesticides.
The provisions of the bill are completely consistent with the position taken by CICH when we presented to the Standing Committee on Health of the Canadian Parliament on April 25, 2002; "In the case of pesticides to be used for purely cosmetic reasons around schools, child care centres and homes, we feel that the only acceptable risk is zero risk, as there is no justification for risking a child's health for a weed free lawn!"
We encourage other jurisdictions across Canada to use this law a model for their own regulation. As we have said in Pesticides and Child Health: The Position of the Canadian Institute of Child Health, "we call for both personal and local action, we also call upon the Federal and Provincial authorities to address pesticide use by implementing the Precautionary Principal to avoid the exposure of children to chemical pesticides".
There are a multitude of scientific studies and papers that show the links between pesticides and negative health outcomes for children. For example, in an article published in "Environmental Health Perspectives" ("Pesticides and Childhood Cancer" by Shelia Hoar Zahm and Mary H. Ward, June 1998) it was shown that "the majority of children's exposure to pesticides comes from home, lawn and garden"; they go on to tell us that "Parental use of pesticides was associated with a 3 to 9 fold increase in childhood leukemia in a case-control study". CICH Board Member Dr. Graham Chance writes (in an article published in Paediatric Child Health Vol 6 No 10 December 2001) that, "Organochlorines are acknowledged carcinogens and, based upon animal studies, are suspected teratogens (causes birth defects), immunotoxins and endocrine disruptors". He goes on to state that other classes of pesticides also have similar known or suspected human health impacts.
For more information, the Canadian Health Network (www.canadian-health-network.ca/1environmental_health.html) has a number of fact sheets and resources from both governments and non-governmental organizations. The Canadian Institute of Child Health is the Environmental Health Affiliate for the Canadian Health Network.
For more information contact Miriam Levitt at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Canadian Institute of Child Health (CICH) has been making major differences in the life of every child since 1977. CICH is the only national organization that maintains a comprehensive statistical profile on children's health and the only non-profit, charitable organization committed solely to improving the health of our children. Our goal is to provide all Canadian children with the best possible future.
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Last Reviewed: January 30, 2003