Concerns about the spraying of pesticides close to a school in a rural area

Petition: 393

Issue(s): Agriculture, compliance and enforcement, human/environmental health, pesticides, water

Petitioner(s): Resident of Canada

Petitioner Location(s): Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia

Date Received: 31 March 2016

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: This petition expresses concerns about the spraying of pesticides on the agricultural field adjacent to an Advocate Harbour school in Nova Scotia. The school is at the bottom of a slope made of coarse gravel and sand. The petition emphasizes the potential health risk to children of spraying pesticides on the agricultural field, where wild blueberries grow.

The petition states that the school’s water source is a well. The petition points out that the well’s water was tested and showed the presence of hexazinone, a pesticide banned in the European Union. The petition seeks clarification on the use of hexazinone on coarse gravel and sand, as the pesticide’s label mentions that the pesticide should not be used on this kind of soil. As only one pesticide was tested, the petition indicates that other pesticides might be present.

Referencing the Toxic Substances Management Policy, the petition questions the acceptable level of Track 1 substances being used on the agricultural field adjacent to the school. The petition expresses concerns about the cumulative effects of pesticides on children’s health, questioning whether the children in rural areas are given the same level of protection from pesticides as children attending schools in urban areas.

Finally, the petition suggests implementing around the school a zone free of agricultural pesticides to ensure that the children can learn and play in a safe, healthy environment.

Federal departments responsible for reply: Health Canada