ACRE and Chelsea's pesticide bylaw
The members of ACRE are concerned about the release of chemical contaminants into the environment as pesticides and believe that PMRA is not adequately protecting the health of Canadians or the environment because:
- there is a lack of knowledge concerning the potential toxic effects of pesticide products on the immune, nervous and endocrine systems, reproduction and development,
- it is impossible to test the effect of the thousands of chemicals which are released into the environment every year in interaction with all of the other thousands of chemicals present in the environment;
- many chemical pesticides have not been adequately evaluated or re-evaluated for several years;
- testing criteria do not include the most vulnerable members of society (i.e. children);
- testing criteria do not consider endocrine disruption; and
- there is a lack of information on inert ingredients in pesticides.
The residents of Chelsea are clearly concerned about their health, the health of their children and the health of the environment and yet there is no effective legislative or regulatory scheme or educational programme at either the federal or provincial level which adequately addresses their concerns. ACRE and the municipality have had to fill a void created by a lack of action on the part of both of the federal and provincial governments and have had to do so without any funding. ACRE relies entirely upon volunteers.
In passing the pesticide by-law, the municipality of Chelsea acted in accordance with the precautionary principle. ACRE encouraged the municipality to do so because of its concern with the lack of scientific certainty concerning the health effects of the use of pesticide products. ACRE believes that the fact that the response of the community at large to the first draft of the by-law was to request that it be made stronger is a clear indication that many residents in Chelsea wish for their government to act in accordance with this principle.
The Hudson by-law has been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. That by-law and the by-law passed in Chelsea were motivated by a desire to create the best possible environment for the residents of those municipalities. If the Hudson by-law should be struck down by the Supreme Court, the residents of municipalities across Canada will be looking to their provincial and federal governments to protect their health and that of the environment.