Say "No" to Pesticides

Think twice about what you plan to spray on it before you head out to the garden this weekend.

The link between common household pesticides and fetal defects, neurological damage and the most deadly cancers is strong enough that family doctors in Ontario are urging citizens to avoid the chemicals in any form.

The frightening message came yesterday when the Ontario College of Family Physicians released the most comprehensive study ever done in Canada on the chronic effects of pesticide exposure at home, in the garden and at work.

"The review found consistent evidence of the health risks to patients with exposure to pesticides," the study said, naming brain cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and leukemia among many other acute illnesses.

As well, the college found consistent links between parents' exposure to certain agricultural pesticides at their jobs and effects on a growing fetus ranging from damage to death. The risks, they concluded, can come even from residue on food, ant spray and the tick collar on the family cat.

The researchers also found that children are far more vulnerable to the effects of pesticides than adults because their bodies are growing, they have a greater skin surface in proportion to their sizethan adults, they ingest more food for their size than adults and they often have less-developed systems to excrete chemicals, inform

Sanborn urged the Ontario government to follow the lead of Quebec and ban cosmetic pesticides on a provincial level to save every municipality from the time and cost of a lengthy review of the medical evidence.

Under the Quebec law, the most common lawn and garden pesticides such as 2,4-D and MCPA, will be banned from sale and use starting next year.

While those who work with pesticides, including farmers and golf course superintendents are most at risk, "perhaps most striking is that work exposures among parents can result in an increased risk of significant health problems including kidney cancer and brain cancer in their children," Sanborn said.

Even home and garden use of pesticides is associated with brain cancer, childhood leukemia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), she said, report

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