Exposing pesticide risks

Wheat field and farming

Pesticides are among the most widely used chemicals in the world. Now pesticide residues are commonly detected in our bodies. (Photo: Meriç Tuna via Unsplash)

Pesticides are among the most widely used chemicals in the world. Now pesticide residues are commonly detected in our bodies. We’ve campaigned against harmful pesticides for decades.

Pesticides and Parkinson’s

On March 30, the Quebec government recognized the scientific link between pesticide use and Parkinson’s disease. This is a huge victory for farm workers and others at risk.

Thanks to your support, our report “Pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease. A Well-Established Causal Relationship. Measures to Protect All Citizens” helped convince them.

We submitted that along with “Alarming Increase in the Prevalence of Autism: Should We Worry About Pesticides?” to the National Assembly of Quebec’s committee on agriculture, fisheries, energy and natural resources in September 2019.

Increases in Parkinson’s cases were first observed in Quebec in the 1980s. Since the ‘90s, more than 100 studies have evaluated the link between the disease and pesticide exposure.

Many pesticides affect development of connections between neurons (a.k.a. “nerve cells” that transmit information between different areas of the brain and between the brain and the rest of the nervous system). This may explain the associations of pesticide use with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Pesticides of concern in relation to neurodevelopmental disorders include:

  • DDT (banned today in many countries but still present in the environment)
  • Chlorpyrifos (finally banned in Canada in 2021 after decades of delay, yet still allowed for use during an unjustifiable phase-out period)
  • Glyphosate-based herbicides (the most widely used agricultural chemical in the world, now banned in some countries but still permitted in Canada)

With your support, we’re working to strengthen federal pesticides law and advocate for a pesticide use reduction policy. And you’re boosting the call for a ban on glyphosate.

Corporations have been able to use the population of Quebec and Canada as guinea pigs, and now we see what could be one of the most harmful consequences of this careless and poorly controlled experiment.

Louise Hénault-Ethier, former Science Projects Manager

More pesticide progress

Pesticides such as bee-killing neonicotinoids are a major threat to biodiversity. But the federal pesticide regulatory agency has flip-flopped on a proposed ban, allowing widespread use of “neonics” to continue.

Canada’s system for regulating pesticides is failing to protect nature. But that could soon change:

This is great news for ecosystems in Canada. Your calls on government advocating for nature are making it possible.

*Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. It’s now found in one-third of our foods. And it’s decimated milkweed (the sole food of monarch butterfly larvae) throughout North America.

We need Health Canada to stay on top of the science, particularly for glyphosate — the most widely used pesticide in Canada by a large margin. The most recent science shows glyphosate may pose dangers to human health and can cause ecosystem damage.

Lisa Gue, Manager, National Policy

Canada must do more

We continue to push the federal government to:

  • Strengthen the Pest Control Products Act to better protect human health and the environment
  • Develop a plan to cut pesticide use in half by 2030, as the European Union has done
  • Align with world-leading approaches to improve transparency when assessing pesticide risks
  • Increase opportunities for independent scientists to take part in decision-making
  • Ensure impacts on wildlife are fully considered
  • Support food producers that choose alternative approaches

Canada can do better. In 2020, the European Union set a target of reducing pesticide use by 50 per cent by 2030. It also banned the three main neonicotinoid pesticides in 2019. Let’s catch up!

Raise your voice.

Hold Canada and provinces accountable for protecting nature

Finding Solutions features stories of caring people like you who make everything here possible. You can read, share, discuss, take action, join, donate. Whatever you choose, you’re helping protect Earth’s life-support systems. Thank you.