Letter draws a response

Lawn and tree care professional responds to pesticide concerns

Before getting into my letter I should identify myself as the owner of Supergreen Lawn and Tree Care. My credentials are 35 years of working with pesticides.

At my last check up I had no evidence of any health concerns.

My wife and I have five children and a number of grandchildren, all healthy.

As should any father/grandfather, I dote on my family, I would cause them no deliberate harm.

I am responding to the letter written by Gideon Forman on the risks of pesticides.

In his first paragraph he states, “Even Health Canada admits that lawn pesticides have risks.”

An excellent observation, as the executive director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, has he also noted the risks mentioned in commercials with over the counter drugs, not to mention the prescribed ones?

Everything has an element of risk, and of course one might be concerned that the material I place on a yard might harm them (that’s why signs are posted after treatment, a whole other story).

I have the same concern for flying, any number of things can go wrong and has the potential to harm me (my family), numerous others on the flight, and individuals on the ground (the aircraft has no sign posted asking me to stay off).

I suppose both concerns could be addressed by staying at home (unless something happens to that aircraft, directly above my house).

His second paragraph cites his doctors’ organization.

Did you know that you don’t have to be a doctor to join this organization?

Yes you can, and it doesn’t cost that much either.

In the same paragraph he mentions the Canadian Cancer Society, an organization that seems to have meandered away from its original intent.

The CCS also says the risk is not worth taking, yet on its website, the society states there is no proven link between pesticides and cancer.

If there isn’t a link, why would one of Canada’s largest charities promote pesticide bans across the country, rather than direct them towards finding a cure?

Nowhere is there any mention of scientific or toxicological evidence, just that there is a risk, a maybe, a potential.

This is the argument the Provincial Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides has to base a decision on?

Bear in mind that both the Liberals and NDP favour a ban. When/if it goes through I urge you to ask for a detailed report on how they came to their decision, hold them accountable.

Can we do better? I believe we are working towards that goal, certainly the material used today is much different from when I started.

Many of today’s pesticides are species specific, meaning they target a specific insect, leaving beneficial insects alone.

Many of today’s pesticides are softera, meaning they break down in the environment more quickly.

We’ve come a long way in 35 years, and products will undoubtedly continue to improve.


Henry van der Molen, Vernon