Edmonton Risks Serious Health/Environmental Consequences with Continued Use of Persistent and Potent Neurotoxin Chlorpyrifos to Control Mosquitos


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).

Chlorpyrifos: Why is Edmonton the Only Municipality in Canada That Still Uses This Potent and Persistent Neurotoxin to Control Mosquitos?

by Sheryl McCumsey – Edmonton Chapter Steering Committee Member and Coordinator, Pesticide Free Edmonton

Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxin that inhibits proper nerve functioning. It is used to kill insects by paralysing the insect’s essential muscles like those used for breathing. Of course it doesn’t just impact insects as many health studies have proven. The chemical is linked to severe birth defects, brain damage, developmental delays and behavioural problems in humans. Its use correlates with increased incidence of cancer and it has caused deaths. Some of the largest lawsuits around any pesticide are related to chlorpyrifos. $23.5 million was awarded in 2010 to one US family in a lawsuit after their children were permanently harmed. New York State also sued Dow Chemical, the company that makes the chemical, for $2 million for saying chlorpyrifos is safe. Currently, seven US state attorney generals have charged the Environmental Protection Agency with violating federal law by failing to issue required safety findings on chlorpyrifos. Meanwhile, in Canada, when Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency was audited in 2015, this pesticide was specifically mentioned as not being re-evaluated as required by law.

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Supreme Court rules in favour of the Clyde River Inuit but against the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the Clyde River Inuit were not adequately consulted as part of the National Energy Board approval of an energy project that would impact their territories and threaten their culture.

A five-year oil exploration project in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait (off Clyde River’s coast) had been approved by the National Energy Board (NEB) without proper consultation. This project would use seismic blasting — a process of firing loud sound explosions through the ocean to find oil — as a first step towards dangerous Arctic oil drilling. Oil industry activities like seismic blasting seriously threaten Inuit food security by putting at risk the Arctic animals they depend on for their very survival. Three years ago, Clyde River filed a legal challenge against the seismic companies, the NEB, and the federal government for failure to consult. Today, the Supreme Court ruled in their favour.

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Can you believe Trudeau did this?

As someone who loves to kayak, I am deeply worried about every lake and every river in Canada.
Did you know that most lakes and rivers in Canada are no longer protected from harmful development like dams, mines, powerlines and fish farms?

As someone who loves to kayak, I am deeply worried about how the federal government is eroding the public’s right to navigate lakes and rivers and the impacts this will have on lakes and rivers in our communities.

I bet you share similar concerns about the welfare and protection of our cherished lakes and rivers.

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NAFTA? 2017

On the survey we sent you earlier this month we asked supporters like you what concerns you the most about President Donald Trump. His proposed renegotiation of NAFTA to “put America first” scored high. And now I urgently need your help to act on that concern.

For years, we have seen the ravages of NAFTA – the Chapter 11 corporate lawsuits that have cost Canada billions of dollars and eroded our environmental and public policy, hollowed out manufacturing towns and put hundreds of thousands of people out of work, and created greater inequality in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

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