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Over thirty communities in British Columbia have adopted their own municipal bans on cosmetic pesticide use, a move that is being supported by the Canadian Cancer Society and several other health organizations. The Canadian Cancer Society cites that scientific research shows exposure to pesticides puts people at greater risk for cancer, reproductive problems, and neurological illness.

However, none of the communities in the Peace Region have signed on to support the ban. In fact, there has been push-back from the rural directors of the Peace River Regional District because of concerns over the spread of noxious weeds to farmlands near municipalities. Area C Director Arthur Hadland, who is also a farmer in the Baldonnel area, does not think a ban is necessary.

“All the pesticides we use in British Columbia, and Canada, go though a very stringent review, and we probably have the safest herbicides and pesticides in the world,” said Hadland. “If we have a need to use these, and they are put on by a certified applicator, I don’t see where the issues are.”

He said he would be concerned about municipalities in the region being banned from using herbicides to control weeds because he said if left unchecked, those weeds can easily spread by water, vehicles or air to adjacent agricultural lands.

“It would just exacerbate the problem,” said Hadland. “I know right now some municipalities are having problems with thistles and scentless chamomile. I think rural communities are really concerned about ensuring we have all options available to control noxious weeds.”

Hadland said he doesn’t believe pesticides can be attributed to broad healthcare problems in the province as much as lifestyle choices such as diet, a lack of exercise and smoking and consumption of alcohol. He said he and his family have used pesticides on his farm for decades and have not encountered any health problems.

The B.C. Grain Producers Association, representing grain growers in the Peace Region, has also raised concerns about the possibility of a ban on cosmetic pesticides and the implications for commercial use of those chemicals on farms. 

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