Chemical Reaction details the story of the town of Hudson Quebec and
their fight for the right to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides in their
town. Their fight culminated in a 2001 Supreme Court win against
pesticides companies and a precedent that guaranteed the rights of
Canadian municipalities to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides. This
environmental and human health victory would eventually lead to bans in
more than 100 municipalities and province wide bans in Quebec, Ontario,
New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia.
Many provinces in Canada now have legislation restricting the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides. Click here to find out how your province can too.
The research to date does not provide a conclusive link between pesticides and human cancer, but evidence does suggest a possible association. Research shows a link with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), leukemia, multiple myeloma, prostate, kidney, brain and lung. A number of studies, including a few in Canada, have found possible links between farmers exposed to pesticides and a higher risk of NHL.
Canadian communities have been working to ban cosmetic pesticides for more than 15 years. The first to do so was the township of Hudson, Quebec which enacted a ban in 1991. In 1992, Hudson charged two pesticide companies with violating the bylaw. These pesticide companies challenged the legality of Hudson’s bylaw claiming that since pesticides are legal in Canada it should be legal to apply them in Hudson.
After nearly a decade in court, in 2001 the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right of a local government to pass bylaws that regulate in relation to public health and the protection of the natural environment.
This decision recognized the authority of municipalities including Hudson to pass bylaws restricting or eliminating the use of cosmetic pesticides.
There are a broad array of groups and organizations working to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides in communities and provinces across Canada. Thanks to this work, the majority of Canada now has laws in place restricting the cosmetic use of pesticides.
For more information about pesticides and cancer, please search for 'pesticides' at www.cancer.ca