Subject: Calgary sprays despite what it says about pesticides

Calgary: Spray first, Plan later
Local and National Civil Society Groups Call for a Shift to Least-Toxic Landscaping
Calgary’s “Integrated Pest Management” plan is contradicted by early pesticide use
Citizens’ groups question legality of pesticides beside the Elbow River and public trail
                                                                                                                                     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CALGARY (May 4, 2018) Pesticide applications returned to Calgary while the snow remained, contrary to the City’s own  Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM Plan), and potentially against provincial and federal laws. Prevent Cancer Now and Coalition for a Healthy Calgary call for a shift to least-toxic approaches, in the City’s review of its 20-year old Plan.
Signs confirm that pesticides were targeted against “invasive woodies” as early as April 15th. Garlon herbicide was applied at mid-day on April 24th on natural lands beside the Elbow River and a popular pathway, west of the Elbow River Bridge at Riverdale Avenue.
Higher resolution photographs are available on Pesticide Free YYC Facebook

Federal and provincial legal requirements to follow the pesticide label may have been violated, with applications in urban areas close to waterways and where children frequent.
The City’s IPM Plan was also breached, with application to dormant plants while the label recommends use during active growth, and lack of public notice on the City’ online notification of pesticide applications. Accessed April 25,2018, the website was last updated the week of October 9, 2017.
Calgary remains Canada’s largest city without pesticides restrictions to protect the health of its people and environment.  “We frequently hear of children and mothers exposed to pesticides in parks and along trails,” said Robin McLeod, President of Coalition for Health Calgary. “Clearly the City is using pesticides as a first resort, not a last resort. It is time to shift gears from killing unwanted species, to manual control, and optimizing conditions to grow what we desire. This is key to healthy, cost-effective landscaping.”
 “Pesticides are designed and spread in our environment, specifically to be toxic,” stated environmental health scientist Meg Sears, Chair of Prevent Cancer Now. “They feature among top chemicals that can interfere with basic biology, and are linked with rapidly escalating cancers and chronic diseases, in younger and younger Canadians. Conditions such as such as diabetes, autism, autoimmune diseases, asthma and vascular diseases and are swamping clinics, bankrupting healthcare, and exacting inestimable costs in human suffering.”
Triclopyr (the persistent, active ingredient in Garlon) is listed as mimicking the hormone estrogen in an extensive 2015 review, and as causing mammary tumours in animals. Such “endocrine effects” may cause many chronic conditions. Health Canada registers pesticides if they pose “acceptable risks when used according to the label.”

Rudimentary federal pesticide assessment leaves aside the complexities of ongoing, low-dose, modern exposures, and cannot ensure “safety.” Just as doctors aim for “best practices,” Calgarians should expect excellence in land management. Instead, Calgary continues to fall further behind strategies protecting the majority of Canadians who enjoy regional and provincial pesticide bans.
For further information, please contact:
Meg Sears PhD                    613 297-6042    Chair, Prevent Cancer Now
Robin McLeod                     403 703-0018    President, Coalition for a Healthy Calgary
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P.O. Box 86058 Marda Loop, T2T 6B7, Calgary, Canada
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