Two takes on pesticide issues

This week The Valley Echo received two letters to the editor in response to last week's "No reason to panic over pesticide use" submission.

RE: “No reason to panic over pesticide use,” August 23




In fact there’s a growing body of science showing people exposed to pesticides are at greater risk for cancer.

For example, a landmark study by the Ontario College of Family Physicians found pesticide exposure is linked to brain cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer and pancreatic cancer, among others.

The College also found that children have an increased risk of acute leukemia if exposed to “insecticides and herbicides used on lawns, fruit trees and gardens…”

This is one reason Canada’s most prestigious health organizations —- including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Lung Association, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation — support a province-wide ban on lawn and garden pesticides’ use and sale.

Homeowners can keep their properties beautiful using non-toxic products.

Gideon Forman

Executive Director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment





I read with interest Paul Visentin’s thoughts on pesticide use.  Paul is frustrated by the lack of concrete evidence regarding the link between cancer and pesticides. He is right in some ways that the evidence is not concrete but I ask, should we not err on the side of caution especially when we are talking about the cosmetic use of pesticides?

No one can debate that cancer rates are on the rise and will continue so until drastic changes are made in many areas of our lives. Generally there is not just one cause for illness but many contributing factors — but when an unnecessary product is “linked” to cancer why would we take the chance? He cites that pesticides have been in use for 60 years but he should also note that toxins continue to build up in our bodies until the poisons become overwhelming. Thirteen years ago I watched my then 2 year old experienced a seizure after briefly playing on my front lawn while the neighbour  sprayed her dandelions. My daughter was only outside a brief period and there was no notable wind but the attending doctor said it was pesticide poisoning.

My daughter could have eaten the dandelions without any harm but she could not have consumed the liquid that was sprayed without deadly consequences.

We know in large quantities pesticides are harmful so why is small amounts acceptable? Will my child one day be a victim of cancer? It is hard to say but I do know that what she experienced was not good and long term exposure is not worth the chance. For me it is like wearing my seat belt….it won’t harm me to wear one and chances are it will save me and that is a chance that I will take. Becoming a productive member of the community as Paul puts it means warning others of the potential dangers does it not?

Jackie Lysak