Ottowa Strives To Be Pesticide Free by 2003

Ottawa Sun
September 20, 2002

Pesticides Linked To Cancer In Kids

There might be no indisputable evidence on the health dangers of pesticides, but that doesn't mean Ottawa should ignore the warning signs, the city's top pediatrician said yesterday.

"Most of the very important research is looking at various forms of childhood cancer and pesticide use." said Dr. Joseph Reisman, chairman of pediatrics at CHEO. "There seems to be a link and this evidence is building."

Reisman joined fellow members of the Coalition for a Healthy Ottawa to kick-start the "Pesticide Free by 2003" campaign.

The campaign begins with a rally this weekend to promote the upcoming debate on a citywide pesticide ban — including use on private property.

Council is expected to vote on a ban at the end of the year.

"We are looking for a ban by 2003 for several reasons. No. 1 is health professionals have identified risks in pesticide use, especially for children," said coalition co-chairwoman Diane Holmes. "Secondly, there are safe alternatives to pesticides."

Although there is no scientific study sound enough to extinguish debate over the health effects of pesticides, Reisman came to the kickoff armed with studies that helped to convince him to join the campaign.

"With the mounting evidence and the amount of research on it, it makes complete sense to be proactive," he said, adding scientists have linked pesticides to Parkinson's disease, leukemia and other cancers.

The rally, which features American scientist Elizabeth Guillette, will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at city hall.

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Deborah Elaine Barrie
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