Dramatic Increase in Pesticide Violations | Ecology Action Centre

Dramatic Increase in Pesticide Violations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DECEMBER 11, 2013

Violations of pesticide regulations are up significantly in the 2013 season, according to a report released today by the Pesticide Free Nova Scotia Coalition (PFNS). Of the retailers audited, some were assessed as being in full compliance. And while PFNS applauds these retailers, and has reached out to thank them for their efforts, the overall trend is disheartening. “Three years into the pesticide ban and the stores that are following the rules are the exception,” says Chris Benjamin, author of the report. In all, fourteen of twenty-one retailers were observed by volunteer auditors to be in violation of the provincial ban on lawn pesticides. Violations included carrying banned products without proper certification, failing to keep controlled products out of easy reach, and not having a certified pesticide seller in a store selling controlled products. This is the third year PFNS has done a retail pesticide audit. Each year the number of violations has increased, from only one in 2011, to eight last year and fourteen this year. “The main challenge is a lack of enforcement by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment,” says Mark Butler of the Ecology Action Centre, a member of PFNS. “We hope the new government will address this important issue, and we look forward to working with them on it.” Education of retailers is also an issue, says Kelly Cull of the Canadian Cancer Society, which helped fund the study. Studies show that there may be a connection between pesticides and cancer in adults and children. “Only the stores certified to sell the most high-risk pesticides get trained,” she says. “But consumers don’t know which stores are certified and they expect lawn and garden centres to help them understand the rules.”

The report makes nine recommendations to Nova Scotia Environment for improving compliance, including restoring the original $300,000 annual enforcement budget, providing training for all pesticide retailers, clarifying the rules on what products are allowable and in what circumstances, and requiring that users of controlled pesticides erect signage warning their neighbours of the risk.

For more information, please contact: Chris Benjamin Audit Coordinator 902-407-2433 Email: chrisbenjaminwriting@gmail.com
Kelly Cull Manager, Government and Partner Relations Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division 902-423-6183 Email: kelly.cull@ns.cancer.ca
Mark Butler Policy Director Ecology Action Centre 902-429-5287 Email: action@ecologyaction.ca

Full report: 2013 Report on Nova Scotia’s Cosmetic Pesticides Ban

For Broadcast Use:

Violations of pesticide regulations are up significantly in the 2013 season, according to a report released today by the Pesticide Free Nova Scotia Coalition (PFNS). “Three years into the pesticide ban and the stores that are following the rules are the exception,” says Chris Benjamin, author of the report.

Violations included carrying banned products without proper certification, failing to keep controlled products out of easy reach, and not having a certified pesticide seller in a store selling controlled products. This is the third year PFNS has done a retail pesticide audit. Each year the number of violations has increased, from only one in 2011, to eight last year and fourteen this year. Background Information Pesticide Free Nova Scotia Coalition PFNS Pesticide Free Nova Scotia (PFNS) is a coalition of organizations and individuals who joined together out of a strong concern about the health and environmental risks of cosmetic pesticides. The PFNS mission is to eliminate cosmetic and non-agricultural pesticide use through education programs, as well as implementation of strong provincial and municipal policies and regulations. The PFNS steering committee represents the Canadian Cancer Society, the Ecology Action Centre, and Real Alternatives to Toxins in the Environment. A full list of members and endorsers can be found at www.pesticidefreens.ca.
The Nova Scotia Act to Control Non Non-essential Pesticides The Nova Scotia Act to Control Non-essential Pesticides became law in April 2011. It functions by banning some pesticides, while designating others “excepted-use” and specifying under what circumstances those products can be sold and applied. In order to sell or supply an excepted-use pesticide, a retailer must employ at least one staff member who has been specially trained on the products’ applications and risks, and who must be present every time those products are sold. The regulations also stipulate that excepted-use products must be stored in such a way that they are inaccessible to consumers without the assistance of staff, and that certain literature is distributed at the point of sale. More information is available at: http://www.gov.ns.ca/nse/pests/.

The PFNS Retail Audit and Res Results Summary ults Through this project, PFNS engages and educates volunteers, reports non-
compliance activities, and is able to assess how retailers are doing, forming recommendations on this basis.

This year, PFNS engaged six volunteers in carrying out informal audits of the cosmetic pesticides ban at local home and garden centres. In August and September 2013, volunteer auditors visited twenty-one retailers (eight certified and thirteen non-certified), in Kentville, Wolfville, Spryfield, Sackville, New Minas, Coldbrook, and Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Regions were selected based on volunteer availability. Whenever possible, volunteers audited both retailers that hold a Class 1 Certificate of Qualification, as well as those that don’t, for purposes of comparison. Auditors used a “mystery shopper” model for their retail visits. Retailers were assessed according to four criteria, informed by regulations of the Act: (1) the storage and availability of banned and excepted-use pesticides; (2) the availability of relevant literature and signage for consumers; (3) the presence of a certified vendor, where applicable; as well as (4) the overall knowledge and support of retail staff with regards to the legislation, products, and pesticide alternatives.

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