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Pesticide ban-one step forward

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Physicians and environmentalists are concerned about the effects of pesticides on our health-particularly our children's health

Physicians and environmentalists are concerned about the effects of pesticides on our health-particularly our children's health. In response, over 60 communities across Canada are banning or restricting the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on public spaces and private property.

In April 2004, Ontario physicians presented a review of literature on the effects of pesticides on human health. They found that pesticides, particularly organophosphates, disrupt the hormonal, reproductive, immune, neurological, and behavioural systems.

Pesticides were linked to memory loss, changes in cognitive behaviour, and even suicide. In children, these neurotoxins can alter the normal development of the brain and nervous system, leading to developmental delays, behavioural and attention problems, hyperactivity, and learning disabilities.

In a study conducted by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that all those tested had traces of pesticides in their bodies. The levels of chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate, were well above safe levels. Though already banned for residential use in Canada, chlorpyrifos is still widely used on over 30 food crops, including wheat, peaches, and strawberries.

Although the restriction on the cosmetic use of pesticides is a positive step forward, until they are banned altogether, we and our children are still very much at risk. What can we do? Express your opinion through your pocketbook-buy organic.

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