Turf Line News

September 2012

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/82830

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Page 33 of 47

PESTICIDE UPDATE BY JERRY ROUSSEAU BC REPORT ON COSMETIC PESTICIDES The Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides posted its 118 page report on May 17, 2012 concluding there is insufficient evidence to warrant a provincial wide ban on pesticides used for cosmetic purposes. The Allied Golf Association of British Columbia was heavily involved in the process since August 2010 as a both committee witness and resource. The AGA was also active in motivating individual golf facilities to contact their local politicians to voice their opinions on the matter. According to the committee's report, around 90 golf courses made submissions to the consultation process which is close to 1/3 of all facilities in the province. In total, there were 17 pesticide use recommendations included in the report centered on furthering public education, restricting un-trained consumer access to commercial grade products, enhancing point-of-sale regulations, re-instituting government tracking of sales, increasing compliance and enforcement, enhanced professional certification, expanding safe disposal programs and an overall theme of promoting improved and regulated IPM programs. According to the report, "The Committee believes these recommendations will protect British Columbians from unnecessary exposure to pesticides, will provide improved education, will lead to safer use by unlicensed applicators, and will encourage the overall reduction of pesticide use while providing individuals, businesses and industries with access to the tools necessary to enhance their personal green spaces, and control pests and invasive species." As for the golf industry, there were 134 instances of the word 'golf' in the report including many references toward how golf is legislated in other provinces. There were many general references like, "Some environmental and health advocacy groups, as well as the golf industry established links on their web sites" and separate headings like the following: Golf industry The golf industry was an active participant in the e- consultation. National umbrella organizations representing different sectors of the golf industry including golf course owners, golf course managers and superintendents and over 90 BC golf courses and golf organizations made submissions to the Committee. The Committee heard that pesticides are a necessity and that any further restriction on their use will have a negative impact on the golf courses as viable businesses and tourism destinations. The recommendation from the Committee as it pertains to golf is as follows: The Committee received a large volume of input on the economic importance of golf courses and on the use of pesticides on golf courses. We would like to Continued On Page 36 34 WESTERN CANADA TURFGRASS ASSOCIATION IN THE MEDIA VIA OCFP ONTARIO FAMILY PHYSICIANS WARN OF PESTICIDE DANGERS New review of pesticide research shows links between pesticide exposure and harmful neurodevelopmental, respiratory, and reproductive health effects. The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) is strongly recommending the public reduce their exposure to pesticides wherever possible, based on the findings of its second comprehensive review of research on the effects of pesticides on human health. Released today, this review shows associations between pesticide exposure and various neurological and respiratory diseases, as well as reproductive problems. Covering 142 studies, the review also demonstrates that children are particularly vulnerable to pesticide exposures that occur during pregnancy. "Many of the health problems linked with pesticides are serious," said Dr. Margaret Sanborn, family physician, Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University, and one of the review's authors. "So it's important we continue to advocate for reducing exposure as the most effective approach." The review's findings suggest that increased vigilance is needed to minimize the exposure of pregnant women, children, and adults from all potential sources of pesticides, including dietary, indoor and outdoor air, water, and farm exposures. Common pesticides the public should watch out for include glyphosate, pyrethrins and atrazine. In Canada, several provinces and many municipalities have already mandated bans and phase-outs of various pesticides in the past several years, demonstrating a trend of reducing the public's unnecessary exposure to these harmful chemicals. The OCFP supports a continuation of these bans as a way of reducing human exposure. Principle Findings of the Review: Many of the studies reviewed by the Ontario College show positive associations between pesticide exposure, across a wide age range, and deficits in child neurodevelopment, child and adult respiratory symptoms, and adverse reproductive outcomes. Some of these outcomes include: Neurodevelopment • Children are experiencing various neurodevelopmental problems, starting as newborns and continuing throughout childhood, that are associated with prenatal pesticide exposure. • In newborns, signs of exposure include abnormal reflexes, deficits in attentiveness to stimuli and irritability. i • Children up to age three show consistent reductions in the Mental Development Index, part of a scale used to assess development in young children. ii • In older children, attention problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and reduced overall IQ are more common in children who had higher levels of pesticide exposure during their mother's pregnancy. This can result in reduced school performance, increased behavioural problems, and reduced earnings in adulthood. iii Respiratory • There is evidence that exposure to pesticides is associated with the development of respiratory symptoms and some lung diseases. • In children, the findings point to an association between asthma and pesticide exposure, AND MANAGEMENT specifically maternal exposure during pregnancy. iv • Large studies of male and female farm employees show increased risk of asthma and identify specific pesticides (including 2,4-D and glyphosate) and several insecticides that are most associated with this risk. v • In adults, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is also associated with occupational exposure to pesticides.vi Reproductive • Pesticide exposure in utero has been associated with lower birth weight.vii • Lower birth weight can be predictive of long-term problems later in life, such as diabetes and heart disease. vii • One study from New York City found a significant increase in the birth weights of infants born after a household ban on two insecticides frequently used indoors. ix This helps illustrate the possible health benefit of pesticide bans within a few years of implementation. What the Public Should Do: Given the wide range of commonly used agricultural, home and garden pesticide products associated with health effects, the College's overall message to patients is to avoid exposure to all pesticides whenever and wherever possible. This includes reducing both occupational exposures, as well as lowering exposure levels at home. The College also advocates exposure reduction techniques such as: • Reduce use of indoor and home and garden pesticides and look for alternative organic methods of lawn and garden care and indoor pest control. • If pesticides are unavoidable (such as in agricultural settings), ensure proper use of personal protection equipment and change clothes before coming into contact with others (so the pesticides do not come into the home, car, etc.). What Family Physicians Should Do: The College is advocating that, where appropriate, family physicians counsel patients to prevent or reduce pesticide exposure in several settings: • In preconception and prenatal visits, counsel patients to reduce pesticide exposure and help reduce negative birth outcomes, neurodevelopmental problems, and childhood asthma associated with prenatal pesticide exposure. • Advise parents to minimize exposure of children of all ages by reducing use of indoor and home and garden pesticides. • Alert new parents to the risks of paraoccupational (i.e., take-home) exposures and the protective benefits of wearing personal protective equipment for patients that have unavoidable occupational exposure. • Educate patients in occupations at high risk of pesticide exposure about the health effects associated with these exposures; identify patients, such as those with asthma, sarcoidosis (a disease affecting the lungs) or COPD, who may have special vulnerability to pesticide exposure. The 2012 Systematic Review of Pesticide Health Effects is available on the OCFP's website at www.ocfp.on.ca.

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