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April 8, 2002
Public conversation on pesticide reduction launched
Toronto -- Dr. Sheela Basrur, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, has launched
a public conversation on strategies to phase out the use of non-essential

Dr. Basrur today released a discussion document to guide a series of public
meetings and consultations. "Playing it Safe: Healthy Choices about Lawn Care
Pesticides" summarizes the health risks associated with pesticides and asks
Toronto residents to consider a number of questions about reducing cosmetic
pesticide use.

Dr. Basrur said that phasing out pesticide use is one way to reduce the risk to
human health from toxic substances in the environment. "There is enough
compelling evidence to warn the public of health risks that may result from
long term exposure to pesticides. It's time to shift to alternatives."

The discussion document cites scientific studies identifying risks to children,
pregnant women and workers from pesticide exposure. Dr. Basrur referred to
studies that have found pesticide residues may be affecting Toronto's aquatic
ecosystem. She also noted that because pesticides are in widespread use and are
mobile in the environment, it is virtually impossible to avoid contact with

"Today we are beginning a conversation with Toronto residents and we look
forward to hearing their ideas," said Dr. Basrur. Four public meetings have
been scheduled for May 13 to 15. The public is being asked to consider three
· "Is it a good idea to reduce or eliminate pesticides?"
· "How can residents be encouraged to reduce pesticide use?"
· "Should a bylaw be developed to restrict pesticide use?"

"The City of Toronto has worked hard to nearly eliminate pesticide use in our
parks. Now it's time to work with residents to help ensure their lawns are safe
and healthy," said Dr. Basrur.

Information about the consultation process is available at
. For recorded information on meeting times and locations, the public can call

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