For Immediate Release

Ottawa, Ontario
March 21, 2007
National Council of Women of Canada

National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) calls for halt to Malathion spraying for control of the West Nile Virus

National Council of Women of Canada
Media Release
For Immediate Release
Ottawa, August 15, 2007

While recognizing the serious health effects of contracting the West Nile Virus, NCWC notes that most municipalities do not use pesticide spraying of Malathion to kill adult mosquitoes. Rather, many use a variety of preventative larvicides, e.g., the biological Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), and chemical pesticides such as Methoprene, to prevent the mosquitoes from hatching. However, Winnipeg and other Manitoba cities e.g. Brandon, continue to spray (“fog”) residential areas with Malathion to kill adult mosquitoes.

Although cleared for ongoing use by the Federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency (FDRA ) in 2004, significant health and environmental concerns continue to be raised by citizens and scientists.

For instance, in a CBC report of July 21st 2004, family physician Brenda Maxwell, then president of the Manitoba College of Family Physicians, warned that “the use of pesticides has been linked to neurological diseases and respiratory problems, and that the long-term health risks of Malathion may not be worth the short-term benefit of possibly having fewer mosquitoes around for a few days.” And, in Ontario, in 2004, the Ontario College of Physicians reviewed over 200 studies in depth world-wide and concluded that chemical pesticides are dangerous to human health, particularly children.

The precautionary principle is paramount for the National Council of Women of Canada. Therefore, NCWC policy opposes chemical pesticides that could well be harmful to human health, and supports the use of non-chemical alternatives to control insect pests such as mosquitoes, in many municipalities across Canada, e.g., Niagara Region 1.

We strongly urge the Government of Canada to support research and promotion of alternatives to chemical pesticide uses.

We also strongly urge the Government of Canada to accelerate its re-evaluation of older pesticides, and ban their use if they don’t meet current safety standards. This would include an independent study of all data that has been compiled about each pesticide, particularly where there exist allegations attributing a wide variety of physical ailments to its use.

In the interim, we urge municipalities across Canada to follow the lead of those communities who protect the overall health of their residents through the use of biological larvicides to prevent mosquitoes from hatching.

Acknowledgement to Gracia Janes, VP, for the writing of this letter.
Contact: Karen Dempsey, President
National Council of Women of Canada
613 232 5025