Urging City Hall to Challenge Questionable Pesticide Practises and Stand Up to Troubling Federal Pesticide Regulatory Lapses

The City of Edmonton Community and Public Services Committee met
this past Wednesday, June 26 to discuss the recently released updated
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy.  The Committee accepted the policy as is and has punted it  forward to the entire City Council for discussion,
possible amendments and possible acceptance on Tuesday July 2nd or
Wednesday, July 3rd.

We’ve asked the City Clerk to make this a time specific issue, ideally 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, July 3rd. Council will decide this fairly early on
Tuesday morning, July 2nd. We would like to make it relatively easy for our
allies can speak to this issue and urge City Council to consider a couple of key amendments:
1. That there be a “red, yellow, green” list of pesticides as used in othe
jurisdictions such as Ontario (See: https://www.ontario.ca/page/pesticides-home-lawns-and-gardens)
2. That there be a strong, credible and influential medical expert voice (or,
ideally voices) on the advisory panel being called for by the new IPM Policy.
2a. And that this improved advisory panel meet as often as necessary to ensure
that dangerous pesticides, such as chlorpyrifos, are never needlessly used
again in Edmonton.  

Our main concern remains the City’s misplaced deference to the federal
regulator, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in determining
whether or not a pesticide can be safely used.  It appears that the new IPM
policy will not ensure that the highly questionable and haphazard use of a
pesticide like chlorpyrifos will not happen again in the future.   
(See:  https://edmontoncouncilofcanadians.ca/2019/06/26/edmontons-sordid-history-of-chlorpyrifos-use-to-control-mosquitos/)

 The fact is that chlorpyrifos is and was “approved for use” by the PMRA when Edmonton was the only municipality in Canada to be using this highly toxic and volatile neurotoxin to control mosquitos as recently as 2017.  Our understanding is that the City of Edmonton still retains a significant stock of chlorpyrifos to be used again whenever a Pest Branch functionary decides it is necessary to do
so.  As long as chlorpyrifos or any other pesticide is “approved for use” by the
PMRA, the City of Edmonton may use it.  That’s not good enough.   It is
especially not good enough for Edmonton’s children who are most susceptible
to deleterious effects of pesticides like chlorpyrifos and others.   

Chlorpyrifos is “approved for use” today in Edmonton and could be used again, despite the fact that it has never undergone a complete, mandated
re-assessment since its initial approval in 1969.  Since 1969, over 2000 peer
reviewed studies about the toxicity of chlorpyrifos, especially to children, have
been published and a number of high profile court cases have indicated that it
is not safe to use this pesticide under any circumstance.   

A green light from the PMRA does not inspire confidence and Edmontonians
deserve better.  Edmontonians should not have to worry that our health is
compromised simply because another dangerous pesticide has questionable
approval from the PMRA and City of Edmonton Pest Control Staff and
Contractors have a misplaced green light to spray it near unsuspecting citizens.   
The City should continue to work towards developing and practising organic
turf management techniques to naturally reduce weeds.  Of particular interest
and relevance to Edmonton could be the development and comprehensive use of “compost tea” as a natural supplement for healthy turf management.   The
City might also consider naturalizing some of its extensive catalogue of grassy
turf. Turf is costly to maintain without extensive and arguably unhealthy

Every effort should also be made to monitor and protect mosquito predator
populations and other bird/animal species threatened by pesticide use.  

Back ground information:  
Here’s the agenda for July 2/3:  http://sirepub.edmonton.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=2310&doctype=AGENDA Double click agenda item 6.12
“Integrated Pest Management Policy” and links to the updated policy and
background documents can be seen on the right of the screen.  Council may
update the schedule Tuesday morning, July 2nd, just after 9:30 a.m.

If you’d like to speak to this issue at City Council , please call the City Clerk
at 780-496-8178 to confirm the schedule and to confirm your participation.    

Link to Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Pesticide Director Randall McQuaker’s brief to Edmonton IPM Review :  https://cape.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/CAPE-brief-to-Edmonton-IPM-review-February-2019.pdf

Edmonton’s Sordid History of Chlorpyrifos Use to Control Mosquitos

Facts about Chlorpyrifos:  By Sheryl McCumsey, Coordinator for Pesticide Free Canada and Pesticide Free Edmonton

Chlorpyrifos is a potent and persistent neurotoxic pesticide that inhibits proper nerve function.

(It kills insects by paralysing the insects muscles used for breathing. It is linked to severe birth defects, brain damage, developmental delays and behavioral problems in humans, certain cancers and has caused deaths.)

It is 700 times more toxic than Malathion and breakdown products are 10-100 times more toxic than chlorpyrifos itself.

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Is City Council Prepared to Challenge Questionable Pesticide Practises and Stand Up To Troubling Federal Pesticide Regulatory Lapses?

On Wednesday, June 26, the Edmonton Public Services Committee is scheduled to respond to the pending Integrated Pest Management (IPM) review and policy update.  It is disconcerting that little more than a week before that scheduled meeting, it appears that this policy update has not yet  been publicly posted.  Therefore, as concerned citizens and volunteers, our communication strategy is limited by available information gleaned from public engagement sessions attended during the past six months and from the report of those engagements (linked below).  

Based on interactions with the  team contracted to complete the IPM review and policy update, (the IPM Working Group), our main concerns are as follows:  

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The Edmonton Chapter of the Council of Canadians urges all Albertans to show their support for proposed new and upgraded protection for the Bighorn Country, the primary source of the North Saskatchewan River.  This new parks system, adjacent to Jasper and Banff, will help to complete the Yellowstone-to-Yukon initiative, assuring protected travel corridors for wildlife. Measures are needed to protect this source of drinking water for Edmonton and the hundreds of thousands of prairie Canadians who depend on the North Saskatchewan River for daily sustenance.   Of course, a number of threatened animal and fish species also depend on the critical wild life habitat to be given additional ecological protection under this plan.

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2018 Activities Report for the Edmonton Chapter

Activities Report for 2018 for the Edmonton Chapter of the Council of Canadians

Presented at Council of Canadians Edmonton Chapter AGM.  Dec. 2, 2018

This past yearthe Edmonton Chapter operated largely with the understanding that we are effective identifying and working with  our allies and promoting the Council of Canadians as affiliated with a small range of  civil society organizations.   This has been a fairly successful approach. 

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