Why is Edmonton the only municipality in Canada, if not North America, still using chlorpyrifos, a potent and persistent neurotoxin to control mosquitos? To consider this perplexing question, Council of Canadians-Edmonton Chapter volunteers Rod Olstad and Robert Wilde interviewed Dr. Isabelle Chapados (Edmonton paediatrician and associate clinical professor at the University of Alberta) and Sheryl McCumsey (Coordinator for Pesticide Free Edmonton).
“The City of Edmonton’s use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos for mosquito control has seen its share of controversy. It appears that no other municipality in Canada or the United States will risk using this pesticide. There is also a significant body of evidence showing that this pesticide doesn’t work because it also kills the mosquito’s natural predators such as dragon flies, birds and bats.
In response to public concerns, in 2016, the city put its stock of Dursban, a chlorpyrifos formulation, into reserve to be used only in the case of a public health emergency such as an outbreak of West Nile disease. Indeed, the terms chlorpyrifos and dursban became interchangeable and city authorities, including the mayor have since stated publicly that the city no longer uses chlorpyrifos to control mosquitos.
However, there are at least two formulations of chlorpyrifos that have been used in Edmonton, dursban and pyrate. It has proven to be the case that the City of Edmonton used chlorpyrifos in the formulation of Pyrate to control mosquitos that past year. However, public denial continued. There has been no shortage of obfuscation about the city’s pesticide program. Many people were left scratching their head wondering what is really going on?
So, Edmonton environmental groups and other concerned citizens were cautiously pleased to learn that the City of Edmonton auditor, an arms length City department, would undertake a review of “the effectiveness of the City’s current pesticide program including demonstration of compliance with environmental regulations.”
This audit has recently been released and we are very pleased to welcome Dr. Isabelle Chapados, an Edmonton paediatrician and University of Alberta associate clinical professor and Sheryl McCumsey, coordinator for Pesticide Free Edmonton to discuss the findings of the audit and whether Edmontonians should be concerned that chlorpyrifos is still being used in Edmonton to control mosquitos.”
Additional Information and Links:
There are 1904 peer reviewed articles on pugmed on chlorpyrifos and toxicity.
City of Edmonton Audit Committee. See Nov. 20, 2017, City Pesticide Use Report and Administration Response-City Pesticide Use Audit here:
A public meeting with the City of Edmonton Audit Committee to respond to the Edmonton Pesticide Use Audit is scheduled for January, 2018.
For more information, email
Edmonton Chapter of the Council of Canadians:
Pesticide Free Edmonton and Alberta