Cosmetic Pesticides in Vancouver (September 2002)

Dear Mr. Mayor and Vancouver City Council:

I am writing to you now to express our support, based on a solid familiarity with the medical and other science-based literature, for a ban on the use of “cosmetic” pesticides on public and private property within the City of Vancouver.

I am writing on behalf of CAPE, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

Our organization, composed primarily of practising physicians, from across the country, has examined the issue of pesticide use in some depth. A position paper on the subject is available on our website,

The growing evidence for harm to human health — especially the health of children — caused by many synthetic (and some traditional) pesticides compels us to speak out and advocate for a sharp reduction in their use. In particular, given the current state of knowledge, it is unseemly to allow the use of such substances for ornamental or decorative lawns and gardens, and it is particularly foolish to employ them in and around schools or other settings where children congregate.

There are many suitable alternative means for pest control which do not employ harmful chemicals. Expert turf, garden and sports facilities managers are now found across Canada, including in Vancouver, who know how to utilize such methodologies. It has been shown that creating regulatory conditions that favour non-toxic pest control methods injects a huge stimulus into the private sector to develop commercial services in this area.

For the above reasons, we feel that there is no sound reason to delay the implementation of a program of public education and regulatory reform to make Vancouver an essentially pesticide-free community. To do so will represent a vote in favour of the needs of future generations, born and unborn.

Thank you very much for consideration of this matter.


Warren Bell, BA MDCM CCFP
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Salmon Arm, B.C.


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