Pesticide ban targets homeowners

As of now, it is now illegal to use pesticides for cosmetic purposes on residential lawns across Ontario.

Home and garden stores in Toronto will no longer be allowed to sell chemically laced pesticides, such as Weedex, as the province takes steps to help remove what many consider harmful substances from contaminating the environment.

According to a report released by the David Suzuki Foundation, the chemicals that some of these pesticides contain cause serious illnesses to humans, such as cancer and have also been linked to neurological diseases and reproductive problems.

Ontario’s Environment Minister John Gerretsen has said that the ban will decrease the public’s exposure to toxic chemicals, but specifically “protect young children that play in lawns, gardens and ballparks.”

The ban, which was originally announced exactly one year ago by Gerretsen, coincides with Earth Day and will force home owners to use organic methods to kill weeds and eliminate pests from their lawns.

There are 250 substances banned for sale to the general public and 95 that cannot be used for cosmetic use. However, these pesticides can still be used for some of the following reasons:

  • Wherever the public’s health or safety could be jeopardized, pesticides can be used by licensed professionals to kill poisonous plants, insects that sting or carry disease, or to kill termites, which can compromise the structural integrity of a building.
  • Pesticides may be used to eradicate the growth of an invasive species of plant or insect, or to protect an environment or animal species. Again, this must be done by a licensed commercial operator.
  • Companies will be able to use pesticides on golf courses and sports fields.

The agriculture industry will also be allowed to use pesticide/fertilizer combinations for commercial, operations.

For more details on what the ban covers and its exceptions, go to the government of Ontario’s news website.

There are many eco-friendly options that homeowners can use to help keep their lawns looking esthetically pleasing.

For instance, a natural weed-killing pesticide can be made by mixing a litre of boiling water, five tablespoons of white vinegar and two tablespoons of regular table salt. Plants like basil and tomatoes are also natural alternatives to keep mosquitoes away from your lawn.

For more tips on natural lawn care, the City of Toronto’s website has numerous suggestions.

Filed by Brad Pritchard