A hundred years from now, I wonder what people will think of our generation. Will they have a look of disbelief on their faces, shaking their heads saying, “Why would they use poison on their gardens and lands? Was beauty so much more valuable to them than their health and the health of their children?”

Did you know more than 6,000 cases of pesticide poisoning are reported in Canada each year (mostly children)?

Did you know approximately 1,000 commercial pesticides products are available in Canada that can not be sold in other countries because of health and environmental concerns?

Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are poison. You can see this for yourself by checking the label. They are meant to kill weeds or insects. Unfortunately, these toxic chemicals work a little too well causing short and long-term health effects such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, birth defects and organ damage.

When we use insecticides and fertilizers, those chemicals eventually find their way into our bodies. Pesticides easily travel from our garden to grass, soil, groundwater, and eventually to our water supply.

Here are a number of ways to stop pesticide poisoning:

  • Avoid purchasing pesticides. Use non-toxic alternatives instead of chemical pesticides. Doing so will send a message to manufacturers and the government that we want safer products available on our shelves.
  • When grocery shopping, look for products labeled “100% organic” which means they don’t contain pesticides
  • Wash and peel fruits and vegetables with a mild, natural detergent to remove pesticide residues
  • Buy plants and flowers grown without dangerous pesticides whenever possible
  • Vote for politicians who support tighter restrictions on pesticides in Canada

If you currently have pesticides in your house and want to continue to use them, here are a few ideas to minimize their toxic effect:

  • Store them in locked cabinets that are inaccessible to children
  • Keep pesticides in their original containers to prevent misidentification
  • Avoid using pesticides when children (or pets) are nearby
  • Find out from your local poison-control centre how to safely dispose of pesticides
  • Keep the number for your regional poison information centre near the phone

Source: Finding Solutions newsletter (Summer 2007), David Suzuki Foundation and the David Suzuki Foundation web site.

Originally posted in the Airdrie Echo August 15, 2007

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