What are Pesticides?

Pesticides (herbicides, vermicides, fungicides, and rodenticides)  are poisons designed to kill insects, plants, fungi, moulds and rodents.  Pesticides contain “active” ingredients (the chemicals intended to kill), and so-called “inert” ingredients.  These are considered trade secrets, and although in many cases they can be even more toxic than “active” chemicals, most consumers are completely unaware they exist.  Even when used as directed, pesticides have many negative side effects on human health and the environment.

Some Environmental Effects

Some pesticides accumulate in the fatty tissues of mammals, amphibians, birds and fish, interfering with their growth, reproduction and behaviour.  Pesticides poison the food chain, contaminate water supplies, and are implicated in the declining populations of certain species.

What are the Health Effects?

Acute Effects: The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has identified acute health effects in humans including nausea, eye, skin, respiratory and throat irritation, muscle spasms, and even death.
Chronic effects: Repeated  exposure to pesticides has been linked to neurological problems, brain and lung cancer, immune suppression (which creates environmental hypersensitivity), leukaemia, Parkinson’s disease, kidney damage, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive disorders, including endocrine disruption, low sperm count, and sterility.

More information on Pesticides is at

For info on non-toxic lawn care go to

For tips on getting effective regulations or bylaws to ban cosmetic pesticides in your community or province, please check out and

A good starting point as used in NS is to only allow ​the established lists of less-toxic products that are acceptable in certified organic agriculture, which are regularly updated and available through the Canadian Standards Review Board (CSRB) and the Organic Materials Review Institute in Eugene, Oregon, (OMRI).


Extra notes:

PEI regulations as of Jan. 1, 2015:​Manitoba legislation effective Jan 1, 2015: 
LIST OF ALLOWABLE PESTICIDES is the 'schedule' at the bottom of

Generally, only bio-pesticides and organic methods are allowed to control weeds on residential lawns in Manitoba.

​-----------BC campaign

Sierra Club Atlantic Submission to NS Law Amendments Committee on Bill 61 - Non-essential Pesticides Control Act


By introducing Bill 61, the province of Nova Scotia took a proactive stance, one that ensures chemicals must be proved to be safe before that can be used in the province. This is a truly progressive step, one that will protect our health, create green jobs in organic lawncare and landscaping, and save tax dollars spent on health care. This document was submitted by Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director of Sierra Club Atlantic to the NS Law Amendments Committee.


To Members of the Nova Scotia Law Amendments Committee:


Thank you for your attention today.


Thank you for introducing this ban on cosmetic pesticides in Nova Scotia.


Sierra Club Canada volunteers and staff have worked long and hard toward this day. I would like to acknowledge in particular Emily MacMillan, former Director of the Atlantic Canada Chapter and volunteers with the Mud Creek Group of Sierra Club Atlantic who have worked to protect human health and biodiversity by pushing for municipal and provincial pesticide bans.

 ... Read more »


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