Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Great Step Forward

On September 7th a few Edmonton City Councillors formally requested an administrative inquiry into the feasibility of a pesticide bylaw. This is an encouraging step in the right direction. The report from city administrators is expected by the end of January 2011.

During the next few months we need to ensure that our voice is heard. One way you can help is to actively participate in this year’s municipal elections. Let candidates know that this issues is important to you. The Canadian Cancer Society is surveying all the electoral candidates in Edmonton to find out where they stand on implementing a pesticide bylaw. The results of this survey will be out during the first week of October on the Vote for Health website.

This website is also a great place to find tools that will help you engage candidates during the election season. You will find sample letters to send to candidates and sample questions to ask them whenever you get the opportunity. If you really want your voice to be heard, make sure to attend the scheduled public forum taking place in your ward.

Let us know how it goes!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Organic Golf Course Good Enough for Obama

While on his vacation this week, US President Barack Obama played a round of golf at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, MA. The Vineyard Golf Club is believed to be the only 100% organic golf course in the United States. Despite using only natural means of turf maintenance, the club manages to maintain elite status and attract pro golfers and celebrities alike.

Many in the golfing industry believe that synthetic pesticides are required to ensure pristine greens, but the Vineyard Golf Club is demonstrating how healthy greens can be maintained using alternative methods. They use comprehensive turf management practices including planting more disease resistant grass, using boiling water for weed control, and using microscopic worms to kill turf destroying grubs.

Golf clubs around North America are beginning to adopt more natural turf management practices and reduce the amount of chemicals they are spraying on their greens. You would be surprised to know that, yard for yard, many spray less chemicals than your neighbor! We can do our part by encouraging our local golf course owners to consider phasing-in more organic turf management practices. Talk to a manager at the courses where you golf to learn more about their turf management policies.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Navigating the Report Form

We've had some feedback that Health Canada's Voluntary Pesticide Incident Report Form is not very user friendly. If you have tried to file a report through this system, please let us know your experience with the process.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reporting negative effects of pesticides

The Canadian government currently welcomes voluntary reports of negative human, animal or environmental effects due to contact with pesticides. These voluntary reports are added to a database used by the government to determine trends and make decisions about product registration. Reporting "incidences" is an important way to ensure that the government is making informed decisions. Please fill out a report form if you have an incident to report.

The Pesticide Incident Reporting Database is posted online and lists all voluntarily reported pesticide incidences. Manufacturer's are also required to report any incidences that they have been made aware of through customer complaints.

The government's incidence reporting program was implemented in April 2007. During the program's first two years, 1393 incidences have been reported in Canada. These include:

- 526 incidences involving domestic animals
- 217 incidences involving humans
- 47 incidences involving the environment
- 23 packaging failures
- 9 cases highlighting new information gained through scientific studies

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Know Your Rights

Few Edmontonians know that they have the right to petition to make the public spaces adjacent to their property herbicide-free. Currently, 21 communities in Edmonton have taken advantage of the City’s petition program to eliminate spraying in their parks. How about yours?

If you would like to lead this initiative in your community, the first step is to fill out the City’s petition application form (which also requires you to contact the program co-coordinator.) You can also take a look at a copy of the petition form itself. People who have already petitioned their local parks say that it is a simple process. You only need one signature per household and most people are happy to sign the petition.

Another option is to take advantage of the Medical Alert Pesticide Program (MAPP) or the Herbicide Exemption Request Program (HERP) which allow you to request spray-free buffer zones around your property. For more information, check out the City’s website.

Become informed and take action today!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Does the gulf oil spill make you think twice about your grass?

Many North Americans are contemplating their dependence on oil while following the news on the latest oil spill disaster. What many people do not know is that virtually all synthetic pesticides are derived from petroleum. Choosing not to spray your lawn this summer will help you reduce your oil consumption. That’s another good reason to be pesticide free!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alberta slow to get with the program

Canadians have many things to be proud of when it comes to protecting our health and our environment from the negative effects of pesticides. Towns, cities and entire provinces are taking the initiative to enact cosmetic pesticide bans. In fact, Edmonton and Calgary are now the two largest cities in Canada that have not enacted any such ban.

On June 15, 2010, the four Environment Ministers of the Atlantic Provinces met together to discuss the idea of a collaborative pesticide ban – the first multi-province initiative of its kind in Canada. Two of these provinces already have legislation banning pesticides, and Nova Scotia will be enacting a ban by the spring of 2011. Read more here.

Alberta needs to get with the program! If you want our government to begin protecting our heath and our environment get involved today. Sign our online petition or send us an email to learn how to become more involved.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pesticides & ADHD

Want another good reason to go green this gardening season? Recent research suggests that children exposed to high levels of pesticides may be at greater risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In a joint study between the University of Montreal and Harvard University, researchers examined 119 children and discovered that those with the highest levels of pesticide-related chemicals in their systems were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD compared to those with little-to-no chemical exposure.

While the study does not establish a direct "causal" link between pesticide exposure and ADHD, it should lead to more research examining the correlation.

Want more information? Read from the Edmonton Journal.

Or, dive into the research which has been published in the June 2010 edition of the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Come to our Press Conference!

Protect our children
Pass a Pesticide Ban in Edmonton!

Mothers & Doctors call for Pesticide Ban in time for Mothers Day.

EDMONTON - On Thursday, May 6th a broad coalition of local mothers, residents, scientists, teachers, and doctors will re-launch a campaign to make Edmonton Pesticide Free. The group, supported by The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT, Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta & NWT, and Sierra Club Prairie, will all be on hand at Earths General Store to speak to the importance of Edmonton passing a Pesticide Free By-Law so to protect the health of our children and our communities.

Pesticides have been found to cause health issues in adults and kids, including cancer, kidney and prostate damage and reproductive and nervous system problems. These health problems can develop in anyone after being exposed to a pesticide, however it has been proven repeatedly that children are most vulnerable.

Who: Lorie Grundy R.N., MScN
Pediatric EnvironmentalHealth Specialty Unit (PEHSU)
Child Health Center, Misericordia Community Hospital

Raquel Feroe - Specialist in Internal Medicine
Board Member with Alberta Capital Airshed Alliance and Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Elisabeth Beaubien Plant Ecologist
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta

What: Launch of Pesticide Free Edmonton campaign, including coffee and by-donation sale of Pesticide Free lawn signs.

When: Thursday, May 6th 10:30 a.m.

Where: Earths General Store (9605 82nd Avenue)

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For more information, please contact:

Sheila Muxlow, Sierra Club Prairie 780 660 0312

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pesticide Bylaw List Updated

There have been more municipalities across the country enacting pesticide bylaws this spring. Prince Edward Island is the latest province to adopt some restrictions regarding lawn care pesticides, and the City of Surrey in British Columbia is the latest city to follow suit. For an updated list of municipality bylaws across the country, please visit:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Death from gardening?

I ran accross this cartoon and thought it was good for a Friday laugh. Enjoy!
Live well, Be aware, Get involved,
Pesticide-Free Edmonton

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pesticides can also hurt your pooch

Spraying chemicals on your lawn may may not only affect you, but your four-legged friends outside too.

Our furry friends are high risk for pesticides poisoning for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they are low to the ground. Being so much closer to the chemicals makes them more susceptible to absorbing what's on the lawn. The same principle is true for our toddlers.
They also spend a lot of time grooming. So after you let Spot in from outside, he might start licking his contaminated fur and ingest the toxins orally. Remember, pesticides will stay on your lawn for days after and may travel through the air, water, or by other animals.

Several studies, including The Cancer Registry and Surveillance System for Companion Animals, are mapping the incidence of cancer in companion animals in Nassau County, as well as in central and western New York. They have noted a dramatic increase in lymphoma cases in recent years due to pesticide use.

Our solution is to stop using these chemicals and you'll reduce the risk of health concerns for your pooch, cat, or any other pet that may have exposure to your lawn. Also, try to say away from lawns or parks that have been recently sprayed. Be aware of signs from the City or from priviate spraying companies stating that they have just sprayed. The signs are often small, so keep an eye out and be cautious of any strange smells.

Here are some examples of signs to look out for:

What else can I do?
- Forward this link to your friends
- Contact us for a great 1-page document that your can share with your neighbours (
- Let City Councilors know that you want to protect your pets from toxic chemicals! Book a meeting with them to share how you feel. (Here's a site that will help you:
- Start up a Facebook or Twitter site about this issue and invite your friends

Live well, Be aware, Get involved,
Pesticide Free Edmonton

Want some more information?

Check out some of our favourite sites and articles!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Welcome to your one-stop-pesticide-free-shop!

Thanks for checking us out to see what we're all about.

Pesticide Free Edmonton Coalition (PFEC) was created last year in order to create awareness about the harmful effects of pesticides. Alberta is below the national standard in pesticide bylaws and we want Edmonton to become a leader in our province.

Built with the vision of having a cosmetic-pesticide free city, dedicated individuals and organizations involved are fighting back by letting Edmontonians know that these products aren't safe! Each week we are going to try to provide a piece of information or an upcoming event that you may not know about to help you fight back too!

So what is a cosmetic pesticide anyway?

A non-essential, or cosmetic pesticide, is a insecticide, herbicide, rodenticides, fumigants, or fungicide that kills anything that some may consider as undesirable. (Usually those lawns that are neon green have been sprayed with pesticides.) We do not have a position on agricultural use.

What's the big deal?

We are guided by the precautionary principal, meaning that although there is no conclusive evidence that links pesticide use to health concerns, we must take action before there is. It wasn't too long ago that the link was found between tanning beds and skin cancer, or respiratory problems and smoking. Studies done by the Ontario College of Physicians, David Suzuki Foundation and the US National Toxicology Program believe that there is a likely link between pesticide use and health concerns such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other types of cancers, infertility, chronic headaches, as well as Parkinson's disease... just to name a few.

We're convinced that even one health concern should be enough for policy makers to pay attention to this issue.

So what can I do?

Make 2010 your year to have the nicest yard on the block without using any toxic chemicals! Need a starting point? Try There are great alternatives out there, such as cutting your lawn high or pulling out weeds by hand.

Another suggestion is getting on board with the City of Edmonton's program that would exclude your neighbourhood from getting sprayed. Keep in mind that one of the specifications is that you need to be around a green space, (so a park, school, service road for example), and you'll need 66% support in your area. If you're not by a green area, you can still fill out a petition indicator form and put your street on the list. Once you do that, your street will join the growing number of pesticide-free neighbourhoods in Edmonton! Please check out the link below for more information.

Or you can join our group! We meet bi-monthly and discuss issues in our community and the things we can can do to educate Edmontonians and push for a bylaw. We'd love to hear from you at

Keep checking back or sign up for RRS feeds for up coming posts on going green or pesticide awareness events!

Live well, Be aware, Get involved,

Pesticide Free Edmonton