Banning Pesticides: Bravo Philip Brown

Kudos to Charlottetown City Councillor Philip Brown for calling on his colleagues to enact a ban on cosmetic pesticides within the city limits.

Civic “beauty” at the expense of our collective health is absurd. Council should show leadership on this issue and move immediately.

Show your support to Councillor Brown by sending him an email.

While you’re at it, you might thank him for being the only member of council to publish his email address.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 11, 2003 - 20:47 Permalink

Bruce Garrity just emailed to say that his address is now published on the City’s website. Helps to have a web-literate son surveying the media landscape for you. No word on how Bruce feels about pesticides. I’ll ask him.

Bruce Garrity's picture
Bruce Garrity on March 12, 2003 - 03:58 Permalink

Councilor for Ward 6, Bruce Garrity, joins Councilor Philip Brown in his attempts to get the pesticide issue on the next city council committee agenda. Garrity says ” We should review all the facts prior to decission making but I do beleive we are heading for a ban on cosmetic pesticides here in the City and even Province wide”
Garrity concluded” Those chemicals do work for sure- the lawns can be golf-course perfect but at much too high a health risk”.

steve's picture
steve on March 12, 2003 - 14:15 Permalink

Montreal just moved to ban most cosmetic pesticides on the island (the island of montreal thjat is) as well. Apprently there are several organic alternatives which work just as well.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 12, 2003 - 18:08 Permalink

As a student of the game of golf, I look forward to continued enjoyment of the passtime as I know it, and ensuring future generations have the same good fortune. Therefore,I do not blindly support this movement any more then I would banning laundry detergent or countless other enviromental poisons that all Islanders and Island residents have right now under their kitchen sink.

I see above a cunning way of appearing to be on-board, while qualifying the statement with an exit strategy when it all comes crashing down. Maybe this cause could use Leo??

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 12, 2003 - 19:57 Permalink

Wayne: your position appears to be “we’ve got lots of poisons in our house, so banning some of them is a bad idea, especially because some of them are used in other circumstances to keep the golf course beautiful”. Is that correct?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 12, 2003 - 21:39 Permalink

My position is that by pointing out other examples of how we use/abuse chemicals in our daily lives (that are perhaps not as

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 13, 2003 - 00:15 Permalink

In addition, the appearance of the golf course (“Keeping the golf course beautiful”) is not the main reason for the use of pesticides and herbicides in the regular maintenance of a golf course.

What makes a cosmetic pesticide worse then any other, if they are so dangerous? What happens when the West Nile Virus hits us? All the mosquito lovers out there will regret the day they stood against the war on such pests.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on March 13, 2003 - 02:50 Permalink

Surely when we spray to kill the mosquitoes we kill everything even the birds and bats that eat them. Result more bugs. We get sprayed too.I would rather take my chances with the virus

Mike's picture
Mike on March 13, 2003 - 16:28 Permalink

Having lived off-Island for the past 8 years (university and work) I’ve come to really appreciate everything PEI has — culturally and environmentally. Living in Halifax for the past 2 years has allowed me to see both sides of the argument for cosmetic pesticides but really there isn’t much of an argument for keeping them. I’m not a tree-hugger or activist-type (too pragmatic) but it doesn’t take rocket science to realize that these chemicals don’t make sense.

If people are too lazy to go out and pull a few dandelions & crab grass, etc. out of their lawn — then they don’t deserve to have one. I also don’t even understand why people find these weeds to be noxious. I mean who the heck cares?… it’s a waste of time and money to get your lawn looking like that. The same goes for golf courses — raise the green fees to cover the cost of having maintenance personnel do this manually, leave the fairways alone. Regular mowing gets rid of these things 9 times out of 10 anyway.

PEI’s biggest impediment to future growth is sprawl development in the countryside around Ch’town, S’side & the ‘Q’ which will further tax groundwater supplies & sewage systems. Concentrate the development & improve the environment thru pesticide bans etc. and it’ll be cheaper for Island taxpayers in the long run for having to provide services, plus you might find quite a few Islanders willing to return home just for those reasons alone.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 13, 2003 - 17:03 Permalink

Well put, Mike.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 13, 2003 - 17:11 Permalink

The use of pesticides on golf courses has little to do with appearance…there are pests, fungus infestations, and other issues having nothing to do with aesthetic appeal. Regular mowing does not get rid of the dandelions 1 out of 10 in my neighbourhood…if Mike could do what he claims, he would make a fortune in the lawn care business.

Why not ban Javex, Tide and Ivory Dish Detergent if you are really into protecting the environment? Halifax is an excellent example of this double standard…demonize those who take a little pride in their property by making them feel like environmental terrorists, while at the same time turn a blind eye to the dumping of tons and tons of raw sewage into their harbour.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 13, 2003 - 17:27 Permalink

Obviously to push this issue forward involves solving what I will call, with all due respect, “The Wayne Problem.” Ideas?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 13, 2003 - 17:57 Permalink

*Smile* Peter, you sound like my Grade Six teacher!

Many influential voters are members of our local golf course. In response to your call for “back-up”, I would call on them to come to my aid.

Ken's picture
Ken on March 14, 2003 - 00:22 Permalink

Mike — I’m kinda slow, it took me a full minute to figure out “The Q” is Montague. I’m chillin’ up in TV, other endo.
Wayne is right about all that chemical stuff under the sink, who’s going to pick on mom for cleaning supplies?
Cosmetic anything conjures up deceipt. Of course they should ban cosmetic pesticides, but not pesticides themselves or Mr Clean, Lysol and Javex.
Remember the sock and puppet show they used to use to teach kids about labels: corrosive was the boney-hand, poison was the skull-and-bones. I think they need to update the laws again to be more like the nutritional panels on food. The complete chemical ingredient list plus the health risks of each just like WHMIS in the workplace.
We are blind to products like Joy and Weedex which sound so sweet but contain chemical cocktails of Eastern European proportions.
In short, poison and corrosion should be contained in a scary, completely informative package — not bright yellow sunshiney bottles. No wonder kids drink poison.
If the risks were well known then golfers would hesitate to play on toxic fields, being a conservative lot they would want to conserve thier health.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 14, 2003 - 00:30 Permalink

That’s small “c”…right, Ken? *Smile*

Interesting to note that Brown has also offered his concerns about crows in our community. Crows are not one of those

Ken's picture
Ken on March 14, 2003 - 00:30 Permalink

Mandatory posting of all chemicals/pesticides used on the course in a prominent place in the clubhouse would allow everyone to make informed decisions.
And mandatory marking by roadways, every 10 metres with nasty orange poison flags, next to fields sprayed with pesticides would also inform the public.
It is an awareness problem. Lets make laws that make poison visible.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 14, 2003 - 00:43 Permalink

Great, and in the kitchen, laundry room, office and everywhere else they are used. Banning one segment only (pesticides that are rightly or wrongly labeled as “cosmetic”)of this issue is not the answer.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 14, 2003 - 00:45 Permalink

FYI: Belvedere G.C. announces spraying on it’s notice board under the proshop to it’s members…and has done so for many years.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 14, 2003 - 01:10 Permalink

What’s next…peanut butter?

Justin's picture
Justin on March 14, 2003 - 02:02 Permalink

Pesticide & Herbicide is a good place to start. We’re putting nerve agents and Agent Orange on our lawns. Pimarily the latter. Those chemicals under the kitchen sink are bad, but you don’t use them for de-foliating entire countries as was done with the exact same chemicals found in Weedex, Killex, Weed’n’feed, yadda yadda. Lawn chemicals are in the league of crimes agains humanity… literally. I’m talking warfare chemicals. That’s what we’re trying to get off our lawns. After addressing that, we won’t sound so silly going after lesser evils like cleansers.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 14, 2003 - 12:14 Permalink

Classic knee-jerk

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 14, 2003 - 16:33 Permalink

Dandilion dandilion,
Much maligned.
Often out of sight,
Never out of mind.

Hide your tiny leaves,
Lower your sunny head.
Thanks to Alfred Dupont,
Now you’re frickin’ dead!

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 14, 2003 - 16:38 Permalink


Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 14, 2003 - 17:21 Permalink

Justin; over-stated but the compass heading is more or less correct.

It is a matter of choices and compromises: We cut trees to build homes. The trees die for our shelter and we consider that ok. Some kill animals for shelter (skins etc..) and that’s ok by those who do it but not by some others — given the options open to those who do so, most people consider it reasonable.

If we killed horses to clad homes in PEI there would be outrage because the benefit is either a) not worth the cost, or b) there are choices available which present a much lower cost.

Just in case this needs to be said: money is the smallest component in “cost” (in the above example, repulsion would be part of the cost).

With lawn chemicals both a and b are definitely true.

What galls me is the constant outrage from the lawn care industry. Their claim is that there would be too much labour and cost in any other method — and some of them claim their chemicals don’t hurt (that has never mattered to me when my throat is rapidly closing off and I make a mad dash out of town with the windows rolled up — at least one of these chemicals is very dangerous to me).

If it is true (and it may be) that “organic” lawns are harder to care for, then the lawn care industry should expect greater market opportunities as we get rid of their most labour-reducing business function; their chemicals. I think they should sponsor the resolution if they were thinking $.$$

Now, if their argument is, “I have build a business and I want to keep doing it the way I have been and I’m not interested in learning anything new about earth friendly lawn care”, then I consider the issue to be one of motivation and entrepreneurship and my sympathy wanes considerably.

Any business that fails to adapt will die; ask a dandelion.

The first of these invertebrate swat-team franchiser who hedges against chemicals in its planning is likely to own the market in just a few years.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 14, 2003 - 17:30 Permalink

Dandelion dandelion,
Simple little flower.
How have I missed thee,
When snows begin to shower.

Hold your own in Winter,
Feed the bees in Spring.
Soil unfit for you,
Is hardly worth a thing.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on March 14, 2003 - 18:47 Permalink

Why would thinking about Javex etc be so difficult as well.I ask why are so many kids getting asthma today? There is a paradoxical correlation between houses that are “too clean” and asthma and before the vaccine polio.

We don’t need the anti bacterial stuff and we can find alternatives to much of the under the sink stuff too.

But for now Lawns are a good start

Ken's picture
Ken on March 14, 2003 - 20:21 Permalink

Cities have smog alerts in their weather forecast, and pollen counts for allergies. Pesticide levels should be reported every day, can they be measured?

Ken's picture
Ken on March 14, 2003 - 20:26 Permalink

I had an idea to build small solar powered sensors to go in brooks and rivers and measure water temp, speed of water, clarity of water, salinity, etc. A little box that looks like a turtle, with a solar panel back and a radio with a range of 10km or better to transmit readings every hour.
Like a distant early warning system for all the rivers.
The box also has to cost less than $500, since hundreds would need to be deployed.
And they would need to survive winter ice too.
Anybody out there electro-mechanical enough to do that?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 14, 2003 - 21:22 Permalink

This calling for jihad on pesticides was discussed on the CBC this morning, with a responsible professional reassuring listners that their usage of chemicals were well within present government guidelines.I trust them alot more then the way home-usage cocktails of bleach and Mr.Clean are thrown into the environment.

Maybe we could plant a few more cameras out there, watching our rivers for polluters to go with the sensors??

Where are the origins of the word “kudos”?

Justin's picture
Justin on March 15, 2003 - 13:32 Permalink

Pesticides are a good place to start. I reiterate that for a good reason. We use the word ‘pesticides’ when we mean ‘pesticides’ and ‘herbicides’. These are among the worst chemicals used in North America. Now, if we start to ban or curb chemical uses, wouldn’t it then be logical to start at the worst? It’s ridiculous to work on Javex before Diazinon. Now, I re-state that lawn chemicals are in the league of crimes against humanity because they were used in crimes against humanity: Chemical Warfare. Ever hear of a little skirmish called the Vietnam War?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 15, 2003 - 14:28 Permalink

Justin, you sound like an expert on South East Asia. I have been to Hanoi with a friend for a Francophone Summit, and have read a great deal about the conflict there, being from that era. I could not disagree with you more. Your attempts to link our environmental issues here with that conflict are, with all due respect, nothing more then alarmist.
Many microbiologists argue your dismissing the significance of some pollutants such as Javex and Tide and their effects on the environment.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on March 15, 2003 - 15:38 Permalink

When I am considering the many opinions on this subject I am much more inclined to look at the issue from a personal perspective. Is there an agreement that Pesticides and herbicides are toxic to living things? I am not a chemist, but when the thoughtful farmer is my neighbourhood knocks on my door to warn me that he will be spraying tomorrow, and that I might want to keep my windows and doors closed as well as keep my pets inside, even I get it. This stuff kills things. If a substance kills things I believe it is safe to refer to it as poison.

Do I have a right is live without being poisoned? I suggest I do! I believe that just as O’Brien should be able to drive to work without getting choked on fumes of poison, I too should be able to have confidence that I am not being poisoned by chemicals.

While I am not so naive as to think that the agriculture industry will move away from applying poison to their crops in the short term — I do believe that eventually we will move there. In the meantime, I see no reason why I should silently watch my neighbour apply poison next door that will migrate to my environment when the sole purpose of the application is cosmetic.

I am not an alarmist. However, when people that I love come very close to death from living in close proximity to agricultural chemicals (over which they have no control), I do get alarmed.

Oh yeah, I smoke. I don’t however, smoke in an environment where non-smokers can’t get up and leave my environment if they find it offensive. With the profliferation of chemical poisons, we don’t have the option of getting up and walking away from the environment we find offensive.

Ken's picture
Ken on March 15, 2003 - 16:18 Permalink

We can see smoke, but pesticides are undetectable. If only they were visible the game would be over. They are like a fart you can’t smell, but it makes you sick.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on March 15, 2003 - 16:38 Permalink

I wonder if anyone around here remembers DDT.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 15, 2003 - 21:40 Permalink

I move and Peter starts sniping with Wayne! Jeesh.

Two points:

a. Unlike many other provinces, PEI may not have expressly devolved to the municipalities the power to enact over health and/or welfare and that makes it a bit of a sticky point getting something done. [I have not read PEI news this week so I don’t know it this has been raised.]

b. Without some independent science to the opposite, how is any reduction in cosmetic chemicals not simply good? Dandilions are edible and attract bugs that attract birds: birds in yard = good. Pesticides get in water and make you sick in >25 years: sick = bad. Why is this a hard idea?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 15, 2003 - 22:59 Permalink

The word “cosmetic”, Alan, is the problem here and the start of a slippery slope. My argument has been that if it’s for the better health of Islanders, then non-cosmetic is no better then cosmetic. All should be treated equally…cleaning supplies, etc. Otherwise, you are missing what many consider an equally dangerous mixture, and in the hands of amateurs.

Golf courses, as you know, hire professionals who (except for the disasterous summer of ‘97 at Belvedere…remember that one?) have a deep concern for the environment, and know what they are doing. Otherwise, our golf courses might start looking like those in the county of Fife. That might not be a bad idea, come to think of it.

Having read about several Quebec separation referendums, I thought it might be interesting to know how the question sent to City councillors seeking their stance on this issue was worded?

PS Welcome back, Alan.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on March 16, 2003 - 00:02 Permalink

Well said craig.

Mike's picture
Mike on March 16, 2003 - 22:52 Permalink

The use of pesticides on golf courses has little to do with appearance…there are pests, fungus infestations, and other issues having nothing to do with aesthetic appeal.”

With that logic I’d better watch out for all these horrible insidious dangers lurking throughout the Canadian wilderness! I was hiking in Gros Morne just last fall and had no idea that I could have been in contact with such naturally-occurring pests, funi, etc….

Seriously though, Halifax does have a huge problem — same as most large coastal municipalities in Canada. Halifax’s sewage problem is no different than Saint John, St. John’s, Sydney, etc. Even Ch’town and S’side, after their amalgamations are finding their sewage treatment plants are barely coping with the additional loads — and I think they’re only performing primary treatment.

You’re right though, many hazardous household chemicals under the sink, etc. should probably be looked at. I was only commenting on the cosmetic pesticides used on the Island for weed & insect control for keeping the Kentucky Blue Grass looking good.

I always wondered what our past generations did back 70-100 yrs ago did for keeping their lawns neat & tidy? Did they care to the extent we do today about weeds? I doubt even the huge landscaping budgets for Buckingham Palace or Rideau Hall managed to keep out every weed back in those days so why the huge push for property owners in Canada to do so in the past 50 years or so?

Like I said, a lot of wasted money and effort. Weeds will always be with us and we might as well live with them rather than wasting so many resources trying to control them. If my neighbour wants to go out and break his back pulling weeds, I say go fer it — but if he starts spraying (which affects me, on my property), then I should have a right to say no way….

Justin's picture
Justin on March 17, 2003 - 03:38 Permalink

Ahh. My PC is being bad. Just spent the better part of these 2 days trying to get ‘er to boot. Anyway… I’m not gung-ho to ban toxic chemicals outright, but there is something objectionable about putting the most hazardous of them on just any lawn in residential neighborhoods. Chemicals used to kill broadleaf plants and insects are among the most dangerous retailed chemicals. Yes, there are lots of places where they can and should be used by people who know their dangers, like golf clubs and railways. But, since they are carcinogenic to humans and there ain’t much need to use them for lawn-looks when the only benefit is the death of a few dandelions and you gotta keep on doing it year after year after year, making the lawn dangerous to kiddies. Why not start there? I understand your sarcasm about me being an expert on South East Asia: the reference being that I’m aware that Agent Orange was the code name for the chemical coctail of 24D and 245T used to defoliate forest and jungle to aid finding the target. My sin is listening to war correspondents on the news, not living in Asia. The chemicals of choice in Canadian lawn care for weeds are the self-same 24D and 245T. My sin is reading the packages on everything from Weed’n Feed to Round-up. This is a good place to reiterate that they are carcinogenic. The chemicals found under the sink are, well, under the sink. To be exposed to these you don’t go out to what should be a safe walk on a sidewalk, but rather impose them upon yourself while they’re in use. With the exception of a decent soap and warm water, I don’t take truck with most of them and think of them as toxic and useless. That stuff typically gets washed out to the harbor where marine life is affected. Javex is among those less offensive to humans partly because low concentrations does such a good job of killing micro-biology in the water supply. That’s a decent example: use of chlorine in our water supply shouldn’t lead to the pumping of tonnes of it into our lakes by anyone who wants theirs to look ‘ooh shiny’. Now, to address the charge that microbiologists disagree with my dissmissiing the hazards of Javex, Tide, et al: I agree with them, so they can’t be in disagreement with me. OK, I am alarmist about pesticides but the truth about them is alarming. Pesticides mess with the nervous system and both pesticides and herbicides are more carcinogenic than is acceptable for stuff we get exposed to at whim of a lawn buff or against our wishes. Chemicals are bad, chemicals are good. We need them and honestly haven’t been responsible with them. I will not buy into the argument that because SOME some bad things aren’t banned we shouldn’t do something about others. When it comes to putting an end to careless use, we have to start somewhere so why not the worst of them? Nowhere do I say that lesser evils aren’t evils, nowhere do I dismiss cleansers et al. Nowhere do I call for an outright ban. “Pesticides are a good place to START”. That’s what I’m saying.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on March 24, 2003 - 17:09 Permalink

If there ever was a perfectly reasonable starting point in the whole issue of pesticides… if there is… Justin, you’ve just layed it out perfectly.

If we started there I’d be content to listen to all arguments on all sides so long as they didn’t repeat themselves after being given a really good reason why something they’ve suggested won’t work.

Comper Judge's picture
Comper Judge on June 15, 2004 - 21:04 Permalink

PooP Booyah

Kevin's picture
Kevin on December 27, 2007 - 00:39 Permalink

A long time ago this thread contained somesuch about defoilaints — read and google — I just did, and it is actually the real deal! The stuff in Killex, and other cosmetic pesticides, is the same stuff that the yanks poured over sout-east Asia by the ton. And, I just finished Dr. Richard Kurial’s history course on Vietnam and WOW were there terrible consequences. I haven’t yet, but the birth defects, I’m sure, would be found in Google Video, nevertheless my recent reading showed plenty — anyway, the incidence of those defects has been, and still is, grossly higher than normal for the world and even higher still when compared to S.E. Asian stats from before the VN war. It turns out that Justin’s comment about “crimes against humanity” was much less of an overstatement that it appeared back when he wrote it; in fact, in light of the evidence, it’s dead-on.