It’s SPRING in Regina! HURRAH!! But wait! Is that a dandelion I see poking its head up in my pristine green lawn? Not already!! Where is the number for the pesticide company I called last year?
STOP: Before you dial that number, please consider the following facts:
- The Canadian Cancer Society warns against the use of pesticides, citing research that links their use to cancer and other serious health issues.
- Dandelions have many health benefits. All parts of the plant – flower, leaves, stem, and root – are edible, highly nutritious, and medicinal.
4 NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF PESTICIDES
- Children and unborn babies are at high risk for health problems related to pesticides. These include developmental problems, lower intelligence scores, birth defects, endocrine disruption, asthma, and leukemia, as well as several other types of cancer. Pesticides drift far on the wind and can be breathed in or land on toys, garden food, and clothes. They can also be tracked into the house. Children are particularly vulnerable as their bodies and brains are still developing and their immune system is immature. Older children doing active sports breathe in more air with its burden of toxins.
- Seniors are also at high risk. Immune systems and organ functions weaken with age. These systems which help the body deal with toxins are often already overworked by daily medications and chemically grown food. So exposure to pesticides has a more damaging effect.
- Pesticide exposure damages the same brain areas as those linked to multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). It is also becoming clear that pesticides are hormone disrupters. Thus long exposure to chemical pesticides can cause cancers such as prostate cancer.
- Bees are gravely threatened by pesticides. Bees depend on dandelions, their first spring source of nectar. We depend on pollination by bees for about one-third of our vegetables, fruit, and flowers. Neonicotinoid pesticides are particularly harmful to bees, attacking their nervous system and hence threatening their survival.
“Research linking pesticides to serious health issues is significant and growing. Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast, brain, prostate, lung, pancreatic, stomach, kidney and other forms of cancer have all been linked to pesticides. Learning disorders, reproductive issues and acute health effects are also associated to pesticides. By eliminating the non-essential use of pesticides, exposure to these harmful chemicals will drastically decrease, contributing to better overall public and environmental health.” ‒Canadian Cancer Society
PESTICIDES IN WASCANA PARK
Wascana Park, officially known as Wascana Centre, is a 9.3 square kilometer urban park located in the heart of our city. Owned by the City of Regina, the University of Regina, and the Province of Saskatchewan, it includes Wascana Pool, the Science Centre, the Legislative Building, the University of Regina, and SIAST.
Every week, from early spring through the fall, the Wascana Centre Authority sprays Wascana Park with pesticides, including RoundUp and 2-4-D, one of the ingredients of Agent Orange.
A recent World Health Organization report warns that glyphosate, the key ingredient of RoundUp, “probably causes cancer” in humans.
2-4-D has also been linked to cancer, as well as to cell damage, hormonal interference, and reproductive problems.
Wascana Centre Authority has confirmed that in 2015 it will continue to include RoundUp and 2-4-D in its spraying program.
PESTICIDES IN CITY PARKS
- In 2010, the City of Regina instituted a one-year pilot pesticide reduction project, designating three parks ‒ Gordon Park in southwest Regina, Al Pickard Park in north Regina, and Queen Elizabeth II Court in front of City Hall ‒ as pesticide-free.
- This experiment, now in its 6th year, has been a success in both economic and aesthetic terms. However, the project has not been expanded to all city parks.
- Like the Wascana Centre Authority, the City of Regina includes RoundUp and 2-4-D in its spraying program.
- Banish toxic pesticides from your property.
- Let the folks at the Wascana Centre Authority know you want them to stop using pesticides for cosmetic purposes:
Bernadette McIntyre, Director: 306-347-1846 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Mamona, Chief Operating Officer: 306-347-1812 email@example.com
- Let the Mayor and your City Councillor know you want the city to eliminate the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes in all our parks: regina.ca/site/contact/contact-your-city-councillor/ Over 170 Canadian municipalities have banned pesticides from both public and private spaces.