Pesticides still necessary: minister

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I would like an opportunity to respond to a letter to the editor which appeared in the Aug. 17 edition of The Telegram headlined “Government is sending a mixed message.” The president of CropLife Canada, Lorne Hepworth, stated that, “it simply isn’t logical for the province to ban these products from homeowners who rely on them to control pest infestations on their personal property while at the same time allowing its own staff to use them to control vegetation along roadways.”

When we instituted a restriction on certain products for application on lawns in Newfoundland and Labrador, effective this lawn-care season, we did so in an effort to reduce the unnecessary use of pesticides in the province. As a government, we listened to the concerns raised by many individuals and groups in the province concerning the cosmetic use of pesticides for lawn-care purposes and considered the need to address the manner in which pesticides were being used in an urban setting. Following years of working with the expertise of the industry and the public advocating for alternative methods of pest management to be used, the provincial government determined that the only way to achieve the desired objective of reducing unnecessary pesticide use was to prohibit the use of the most common products used by and on behalf of homeowners.

It was acknowledged at the time, however, that there are essential uses of pesticides. The control of vegetation along our road networks using approved products is necessary in the province for health and safety reasons. In all provinces of Canada that have set similar residential pesticide restrictions, roadside brush and alder control is still considered a necessary use of a pesticide. It is within this context that, as Mr. Hepworth stated, we rely on the federal registration process to ensure a rigorous scientific review of such products. We accept that this process ensures that pesticides can be used without causing undue harm to people or the environment.

I would like to further emphasize that when we authorize pesticide uses for health or safety reasons, in cases such as roadside vegetation control or pest infestations, we do so in a controlled setting with a number of restrictions in place, often exceeding the stated requirements for their application. At the end of the day, our message is clear — there are circumstances under which the application of pesticides is necessary and we do so in a safe and controlled manner, ensuring the health and safety of the people of our province is at the forefront.


Terry French

Minister of Environment and Conservation



Organizations: The Telegram, CropLife Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Anon
    August 23, 2012 - 20:52

    Could care less what the government's reasons are. There is no excuse for spraying this poison along our road sides and wetlands. We have the most pristine environment in Canada and we're going to ruin it because of a bunch of crooked baymen. yeah SOPAC, i'm talking about you. For shame.

  • William Daniels
    August 23, 2012 - 20:41

    No need to worry. Minister Hedderson says tordon 101 is as harmless as table salt.

  • d barry
    August 23, 2012 - 16:52

    The minister is loose witht he truth. Un-necessary use? As the individual whos home is infested with weed and insect problems if it is un-necessary. He states the same products used in a lawn care environment are un-safe while used in road side spraying are safe. what is it? O .. and yes he does allow these products to be used on parks and ball fields. Do kids play there? What a pile of bs he shoots. He jumped on the band wagon thinking he would get brownie points. With the exception of Ontario all proviences have left the door open for trained professionals to use these federally registered products on home lawns under regulations. The minister has simply hit an easy target and helped kill an industry.

  • gb
    August 23, 2012 - 12:59

    Lies. The government doesn't NEED to use it for roadside brush and alder control. Brush and alder control can effectively be done by manual means and not by chemical means. What he should be saying is that chemical control is the most cost effective way for governments to control brush and alders. Well chemicals is the most cost effective way for me to keep my lawn. Resodding a lawn every time its destroyed by the cinch bug is an expensive propersition for any homeowner. Him and the government he represents are clearly hypocrites in my opinion.

  • Eli
    August 23, 2012 - 09:35