LETTER: Response to "attempt to create pesticide 'hysteria'"
[In response to a letter by Henry Van Der Molen, published in the Rossland Telegraph on 11 June 2011]
We note that Mr. Van Der Molen is a contract sprayer with Supergreen
Lawn and Tree Care, hardly an impartial by-stander, which explains his
support for B.C.’s status quo.
I am retired middle-level public servant who is familiar with the
Ottawa pesticide approval scene. Indeed the Special Committee on
Cosmetic Pesticides did place a blind–and highly misguided faith–in
the Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
Here is an accurate description how the PMRA operates. No independent
research is pursued at the PMRA, where staff consists mainly of
toxicologists (rodent specialists) and very few epidemiologists (human
specialists). The PMRA has no labs of its own and fully depends on data
submitted by the industry. Vital data–e.g. information on the
controverial 2,4-D dioxin–may be withheld from the PMRA by the industry
with complete impunity.
The Standing Committee on Health of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session,
were told in April 2005 that the PMRA is not to be trusted. Among PMRA’s
shortcomings were listed the inappropriate use of safety factors in
human health risks assessment concerning seniors, pregnant women,
children and fetuses as well as ignoring cumulative and combined
exposures. Note that the PMRA is partially funded by the pesticide
On the other hand, Dr. Meg Sears is an independent biochemist. She found
the 2008 review of the omnipresent herbicide 2,4-D by the PMRA
completely inadequate and pointed out that, among other things, the PMRA
ignored 2,4-D’s links to breast and prostate cancers. (Notice of
Objection to a Registration Decision, 2008.)
K. Jean Cottam