Ottawa Citizen

There is link between pesticides and cancer



Re: Pesticide platforms, Oct. 20.

It is encouragin­g that the Citizen is trying to be fair to proponents of pesticide bans by acknowledg­ing that such groups of health profession­als and advocates do have credibilit­y.

But the Citizen editorial is wrong in stating that “ research has not been able to to establish a link between cancer and pesticide use.”

The Canadian Cancer Society's position states that “ We base concern on the conclusion­s of the Internatio­nal Agency for Research on Cancer ( IARC) that state that some substances used in pesticides are classified as known, probable or possible carcinogen­s. In some cases, evidence linking pesticides and cancer will not be scientific­ally definitive, but it may be suggestive and growing.”

That this generally conservati­ve organizati­on concludes that there are in fact enough links to justify banning the cosmetic use of pesticides must be respected.

The Citizen is ignoring the cancer society's view when the editorial stated, “ We’d like to see a direct link establishe­d between disease and pesticides before such a ban is enacted.”

If there are any city council candidates or editorial board members who remain unconvince­d about the need for a ban, they should share their superior knowledge by letting the rest of us in on what they know that the Canadian Cancer Society does not, or admit that they are clinging to denial that pesticides can be applied without exposing us and our environmen­t, a condition set forth by Health Canada itself in its qualificat­ion that “ pesticides are ( only ) safe if applied as directed,” such as only when wind speed is negligible and applicator­s, other nearby humans and pets and wildlife are adequately protected from inhalation and skin exposure.

Practicall­y speaking, it is generally impossible to meet such conditions and while this disclaimer protects Health Canada, it offers pesticide proponents nothing to hide behind. PEGGY LAND,


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