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Since September, 30 highly toxic cosmetic pesticides have been banned on public lands in Quebec, including parks, schools, day cares and hospitals. The ban will also apply to every lawn in the province--both public and private--by 2005..

More Bans on Cosmetic Pesticides

Since September, 30 highly toxic cosmetic pesticides have been banned on public lands in Quebec, including parks, schools, day cares and hospitals. The ban will also apply to every lawn in the province both public and private by 2005. Children are most vulnerable to the toxic ingredients because of their size. Environment Minister Andre Boisclair says the long-term gains to children's health and the environment far outweigh the estimated short-term pain to companies in lost pesticide sales and increased lawn-care costs. The rules do not apply to farmland, which accounts for 85 per cent of pesticide use in the province.

About 40 Quebec municipalities as well as Halifax already have bylaws in place to restrict cosmetic pesticide use. Port Moody, BC is the first municipality in western Canada to take similar action. In July, city councillors approved a campaign to educate residents about pesticide risks and possible alternatives over three years, after which a bylaw will be drafted to restrict pesticide use.
Environmental News Network, CBC, Vancouver Sun

Eco-Friendly Fuel, But not for Animals
Countries around the world are making inroads with what they believe to be the fuel of the future: biodiesel, a clean-burning fuel made from vegetable or animal fats. Using biodiesel instead of fossil fuels can prevent carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, reducing greenhouse emissions. In Canada, a soy bean biodiesel mixture powers trucks at Toronto Hydro. And a provincial committee wants all diesel in Ontario to contain some biodiesel by 2006.

In Britain, this fuel also comes from the rotisserie. British supermarket chain ASDA plans to recycle chicken waste and cooking fat from its rotisseries into diesel for its delivery trucks. Biodiesel could meet up to 10 per cent of Britain's motor fuel needs, claims the British Association of Biofuels and Oils. There's no idling in Europe either, where biodiesel production is well underway. The European Commission wants biodiesel to make up 3.5 per cent of the diesel fuel used for transportation by 2007.
CBC, Acres USA

Chemicals and Male Reproduction

  • The commonly used pesticide 2,4-D often ends up in the semen of men who spray it, says a Health Canada study. About half of 97 male Ontario farmers studied had detectable levels of 2,4-D, which has been around for 40 years and is routinely used on lawns and golf courses. Researchers are concerned pesticide from semen could transfer to the fetus. Another study of farmers in Argentina found that their 2,4-D levels were up to 300 times higher than those of the Ontario men. The Argentinian farmers also had damaged sperm cells. Other studies found sperm damage was caused by dioxins that accidentally crept into 2,4-D pesticides, but the industry claims no dioxins are present in today's weedkillers.
    CBC

  • Smoking harms male fertility, according to a study released at the 18th annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna this July. In couples undergoing fertility therapy, women whose partners smoked were less likely to become pregnant and more likely to have their fertility treatments completely fail. Tobacco contains carcinogens such as benzopyrene and cotinine that can damage sperm structure and genetic material. If one partner smokes, the couple is 30 per cent less likely to get pregnant; if both smoke, that figure rises to 50 per cent.
    HealthWorld Online

  • Studies have shown that estrogen-like chemicals called xenoestrogens can disrupt the male reproductive system and reduce sperm production. For the first time, a study shows these chemicals affect sperm itself. Researchers at the same European human reproduction conference in Vienna say these pseudo-estrogens found in foods and industrial products can speed sperm burnout and prevent their ability to fertilize.
    HealthWorld Online

  • Air quality affects sperm quality, report researchers who reviewed more than 14,000 sperm samples from Los Angeles and Northern California. More ozone (smog) means reduced sperm count as well as sperm motility, or ability to swim, according to findings this April at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. Inhaled ozone may trigger an inflammatory reaction, which in turn harms sperm.
    Reuters, April 19, 2002

For more on how chemicals affect male reproductive health, see "Xenoestrogen Pollution" by Stephanie Trenciansky, ND.

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