Question Period: Pesticides – May 26,2015

Mr. Coon: My question is for the Minister of Health. Spring has finally arrived, and that means that pesticides are once again being sprayed in our neighbourhoods. New Brunswick bans over the-counter sales of only a single active ingredient, 2,4-D, which is used to make cosmetic pesticides, despite the fact that other pesticides are known or suspected to be linked to cancer, neurological damage, and reproductive damage. Both Ontario and Quebec have had comprehensive bans on the use of pesticides for purely cosmetic purposes for years. Why? To protect public health and to protect the health of our children. This is preventative health care and an essential part of any cancer prevention strategy. Will the Minister of Health request that the Minister of Environment use his powers under the Pesticides Control Act to implement a comprehensive ban on cosmetic pesticides in our province?

Hon. Mr. Kenny: Cosmetic pesticides have been reduced quite substantially since 2010 in New Brunswick. We look at our pesticide regulations through Health Canada. This is a very important question. As the Minister of Environment, I will look into the question the member has asked about specific pesticides. Lawn care professionals in the province have made some very good strides in the reduction of pesticide use, and there are proper programs to make sure they monitor where these pesticides are going and how they are used. We look forward to moving ahead with these programs.

Mr. Coon: Ontario prohibits the use of 84 over-the-counter active ingredients used to make cosmetic pesticides. New Brunswick prohibits the use of 1. It prohibits use on residential yards, school grounds, and hospital grounds. Nova Scotia has based its prohibition of cosmetic pesticides on Ontario’s list. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of exposure to pesticides because of their physiology. Children’s immune systems are not fully developed, and their skin is more permeable to pesticides. It is the risk to children’s health that has driven action by the governments of Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Will the Minister of Health immediately request that the Chief Medical Officer of Health prepare a set of recommendations on how the Minister of Environment should proceed to eliminate the risk to children that is posed by the use of cosmetic pesticides in our neighborhoods?

Hon. Mr. Kenny: Again, our department reviews this with the lawn care professionals. They do have a rigorous program in place, with a lot of training for the people who actually apply pesticides. Since 2010, we have moved forward quite substantially with the regulating and monitoring of what is being used throughout our province. We have also put bans in place on the ability to sell many of these pesticides in local retail markets. However, there is more work to do. I will take the question under advisement and report back to the Legislature on where we are going this year. I will also talk with my colleague the Minister of Health to see if there are any improvements that can be made. At this point in time, I do believe that there are substantial rules and regulations in place that prohibit these pesticides throughout the province. If there is room for improvement, we will look at it. Thank you.

Mr. Coon: This is a question of health. It is the responsibility of the Minister of Health to protect the health of New Brunswickers. This government has put an emphasis on preventive health care. The key element of preventive health care must be to eliminate where possible and otherwise minimize the exposure of children to environmental contaminants. Cosmetic pesticides are hazardous substances that are intentionally and carelessly released into our neighborhoods. This simply needs to end now, and it can be done with the stroke of a pen. Will the Health Minister meet with the Minister of Environment to ensure that he takes the necessary regulatory action to ban cosmetic pesticides in New Brunswick?

 Hon. Mr. Kenny: I will repeat what I said earlier. I will review it with my colleague the Minister of Health and look at what our current policies are. I know that he is bringing this to the floor of the Legislature today. It is my duty, along with the Minister of Health, to protect New Brunswickers from these. Since 2010, we have also put in very rigorous protection for New Brunswickers through the rules and regulations for our lawn care professionals, who have to take specific training to be able to treat with these pesticides throughout the province. There is room for improvement. I will take that question under advisement and get back to the House. I do think that the professionals who are out there are doing a good job. As I said, there is always room for improvement, so that is what we will look forward to in the future.

S:\HANSARD\HANSARD DAILIES – FASCICULES\2014-2015 58-1\56 2015-05-26 BL\56 2015-05-26 OQ BL.wpd 7/13 ORAL QUESTIONS 49 QUESTIONS ORALES May 26, 2015 Not finalized / Non finalisé le 26 mai 2015