Health Dangers of Urban Use of Pesticides (HDUUP)
A Working Group within the City of Ottawa
The Group was founded in 1996 within the Region of Ottawa-Carleton by Regional Councillor Diane Holmes. As of 1 January
2001, the Region and its constituent municipalities became one City of Ottawa. Its chair was John Sankey, later
Mari Wellman; Health Department liaison Martha Robinson; Councillor Diane Holmes later Alex Cullen.
Its members came from health organizations active within the City.
The purpose of the Group was to assist the City Health
Department in promoting the optimal health of City residents, by
- health promotion through public education and local action,
- public education of health and environmental risks,
- public education regarding government regulations and industry practises,
- working to change government legislation to decrease the health risks from pesticides, and
- promoting use of non-toxic pest management and landscape practices.
It limited its activities to matters to which the municipal government,
health department, and NGO's were in agreement. It worked within the
system to make it work better whenever possible, but was sufficiently
independent to be proactive when necessary. It was not formally
appointed, so had control of its own membership and agenda, and could be inclusive
and adapt quickly.
Its work plan was to
- convince municipalities and the Province of Ontario to pass
legislation to limit the exposure of residents to pesticide usage,
- conduct and support public education campaigns,
- initiate and encourage existing local programs,
- encourage pest control companies to use non-toxic methods,
- conduct appropriate research,
- achieve partnerships with corporations, and
- publicize these positive activities.
The final project prior to the passing of cosmetic pesticide restrictions by the Province
of Ontario was to reduce the risks of insect-borne
diseases such as West Nile Virus.
During its lifetime, it
- produced, obtained private sector funding for, and published
peer-reviewed brochures approved by municipal government and the
health department on
- successfully encouraged the Regional Government to adopt a policy
of minimal pesticide use, that was drafted by the Health Department,
on all its properties;
- successfully encouraged the Council of the former City of Ottawa
to adopt a policy of minimal pesticide use on all its public open
- successfully encouraged the new amalgamated City of Ottawa to adopt
the former Region's policy on pesticide use;
- successfully encouraged the Regional Government, and later the
amalgamated City of Ottawa, to formally request from the Province
of Ontario powers to restrict the use of pesticides on private properties
within the Region (powers now granted by the Supreme Court of Canada);
- made many presentations to governments responsible for urban pesticide policy;
- provided resources to local condominiums and other organizations
which enabled them to reduce pesticide use;
- obtained funding for 2000 lawn signs
and a related community newspaper campaign; and
- actively supported the City of Ottawa pesticide reduction programs
at staff and public meetings.
Our base documents were:
- Report of the Ontario Task Force on the Primary Prevention of Cancer, March 1995;
- The Jakarta Ministerial Statement on the Implementation of the Convention on
Biological Diversity, November 1995: "We, the ministers participating in the ministerial
segment of the second meeting of the conference of the parties to the convention on
biological diversity, held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 14 and 15 November 1995;
1. Realize that biological diversity that comprises variability of genes, species and
ecosystems is the world's most valuable resource for the sustainability and welfare
of all humankind;"
- Action Statement for Health Promotion in Canada, Canadian Public Health
Association, July 1996.
- Pesticides and Human Health, Ontario College of Family Physicians, January 1998.
- Pesticides and Human Health, Solomon & Kirsch, 2000.
Research and Informational
Coalition for a Healthy Ottawa. How to put human health
first for urban areas. Links between human health and pesticides.
Pesticide Education Network. Links between human health and pesticides.
Pesticide Action Network North America. Advocates adoption of ecologically sound
practices in place of pesticide use. A well-organized set of links to
other sites and a Pesticide Information Service Database:
a search engine on selected news articles, reports, factsheets,
position papers and action alerts.
the EXtension TOXicology NETwork, a co-operative effort by
several American universities. A search engine of a large infobase of material
including pesticide information profiles.
Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly:
referenced editorials on toxins and health.
John Sankey, Chair