As of June, 2007, Thorold was the only municipality in Niagara taking action against cosmetic pesticide use; a St. Catharines ban began in 2009. The province initiated a cosmetic pesticide ban in all parts of the province in April of 2010. Fines for individuals can be up to $20,000 and for corporations up to $100,000.
Residential and commercial use and disposal of high levels of pesticides for plant care is suspected to have a negative effect on the land, animals and the water. In a 2004 paper from the Ontario College of Family Physicians reviewing studies on pesticides, Gideon Foreman with the Canadian Alliance of Physicians for the Environment said children exposed to such chemicals run the high risk of developing leukemia. Childhood non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, learning disabilities and birth defects have also been linked to pesticide use. Source:http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2008/June/CanadianPesticideBanPromised.asp
Niagara benefits from farmers’ ongoing efforts to reduce pesticide use, using integrated pest management techniques to ensure use is on an as-needed basis (as dictated by weather conditions and pest damage thresholds). Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs data shows Ontario farmers reduced pesticide use by 52% from 1998 to 2003. Source: http://agcare.org
Many Niagara farmers (850) are among the 35,000 Ontario farmers who have completed an Environmental Farm Plan; a peer-reviewed, self-assessment and remedial action plan for environmental risk on individual farms.
To be healthy, “we need to eat a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Pesticides play an important role in making sure there is enough food for everyone, by protecting food and crops from pests (insects, weeds and fungal diseases).” Compliance and enforcement standards are in place and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) monitors and enforces residue limits in both domestic and imported foods. The CFIA reports compliance over the last 10 years has been very high for fruits and vegetables. More than 99% of fruits and vegetables and 99% of imported foods tested were well below Canada’s residue limits in 2006/2007. No residues were found in 90% of Canadian fruits and vegetables and in 89% of imports tests.