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Monday, 21 May 2012

Cosmetic pestcide ban falls in BC - how to release politically unwanted news before the long weekend

If you are interested in how to release politically unwanted information, watch the media on the Friday before a long weekend. 

A year ago, BC’s premier indicated that she would move to regulate cosmetic use of pesticides and join the forward thinking provinces of Qu├ębec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador in precluding the use of cosmetic pesticides.   (and in Saskatchewan and Manitoba pesticides companies are so much of the economy they might be excused).  But in tree hugging BC, known for its environmental extremism and oftentimes very insightful policies, the shocker was released on a Friday afternoon before the first major outdoor camping weekend – one can just imagine the back-to-naturists having departed their telecommuting offices for the relative wilds - when the earthquake was released.  BC cosmetic pesticide committee's collective wisdom flew in the face of the 40 existing communities and 60% of the BC population that already have voted no to cosmetic pesticides.

No wonder the report was released before the long weekend. By Tuesday, all that will be left are some echos in the blogosphere like this.  

Read the decision.  Pesticide ban committee report May 18 2012  it actually seems to make sense of many of the aspects of the rationale.  What should disturb our BC colleagues thought is that little is made to suggest that there are not health effects currently.  The decision seems more based on everything is currently hunky-dory, and that further restrictions would hurt certain industrial processes, with the kicker being on page 25 where media reports were used to demonstrate that pesticide limitations were problematic as it led to weed overrun playing turf. So while popular reporting received considerable attention by the committee, the health consequences were skimmed at best and almost accepted as trivial fact. 

Thus the committee knowingly decided not to act in the face of a potential health hazard.  Perhaps another blow for Premier Clark in controller her government.  Clearly a win for the minority industry supporters that responded in the process, and likely a win for some ultra conservative cabinet ministers who wear liberal red clothing.  

While BC’s public health community seems to have had some differences of opinion leading up to the committee deliberations, the final decision will be seen as another blow to public health in BC.   The strong advocacy efforts of the Canadian Cancer Society with many NGO partners clearly overwhelmed the committee input with supportive comments that have been ignored.  

And BC gets to stand alone – renowned for its green stances, but willing to poison its land. 

Any other May 18th, Friday before the long weekend stories to share?   Feel free to write a piece and submit to Drphealth@gmail.com   

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