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Quebec Ban On Pesticides Welcomed In New Zealand


March 27, 2003

The Pesticide Action Network today welcomed the landmark decision in Quebec to ban the use of a number of pesticides for non-agricultural use.

"It is heartening to see Quebec taking such action", said spokesperson Dr Meriel Watts, "when in New Zealand, we still have a serious problem with pesticides and a government that wont deal with the it."

"The government has failed to implement the recommendations of its Advisory Committee¹s report on chemical trespass, it wont pass the Agricultural Chemical Trespass Bill into law, its spray drift regulations are completely unworkable and drift continues unabated, and the proposed National Pesticide Risk Reduction Policy seems to have disappeared into a black hole."

Quebec¹s new Pesticide Management Code, which strictly regulates the storage, sales and use of pesticides in Québec, aims to reduce exposure to products that are particularly dangerous to children.

Effective immediately, synthetic pesticides are prohibited in all daycare facilities and schools and the use of cosmetic pesticides is banned on all public land; by 2005, the ban will extend to all private green spaces.

The ban covers 23 pesticide active ingredients that--according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and/or World Health Organization (WHO)--are known or possible carcinogens or endocrine disruptors, including lindane, malathion, MCPA, permethrin, benomyl, captan and 2,4-D.

"It is particularly encouraging to see the ban on 2,4-D," said Dr Watts, who for many years has advocated the complete ban on this pesticide in New Zealand. "This toxic chemical is one of the worst causes of drift damage in New Zealand, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars from damage to commercial crops and serious health effects to people unable to escape exposure to the drifting herbicide." Because of its endocrine disrupting effects women and children are particularly vulnerable to it.

The Pesticide Action Network believes that every possible measure should be taken to reduce the exposure of children to toxic pesticides, particularly those that are carcinogenic or endocrine disruptors, and urges that New Zealand follows Quebec¹s lead by banning their use in schools, daycare centres and public spaces.

For further information, contact:

Meriel Watts, PhD Spokesperson, Pesticide Action Network, Aotearoa NZ

ph/fax: 64-9-372-2034

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