The roadside pesticide spraying debate continued at the April 25 Lanark County council meeting even though council has already passed a motion to spray in 2017.
Dr. Meg Sears made a presentation to council about the health consequences of pesticide spraying. Sears is a researcher and lead scientist at the national group Prevent Cancer Now.
Sears said spraying has health repercussions that council must understand. She said poisonous weed injuries to humans, like parsnip burns, are serious but easy to avoid.
For example, in order for parsnip to actually harm someone, the stem must be broken open releasing sap that must then come into contact with bare human skin and be baked under the sun’s UV rays to cause a burn. To avoid injury, Sears says it’s as simple as making sure the skin is covered and avoiding the sap.
Sears said spraying has neurological concerns as well. She said studies show that the chemicals in the spray enter the body and cause the brain to signal inappropriately. This can cause chronic diseases, like heart disease. Sears referenced research published by Public Health Canada in April 2017 that reported an increase in chronic diseases in Canada.
She also said there are regulations in place that specify not to return to a sprayed site within 12 hours of the last pesticide spraying but often times children end up getting off the bus and walking passed the site and through harmful chemicals.
At the end of her presentation, council reminded Sears that they have already made a decision to go ahead with spraying in 2017. In reply, Sears said, “I hope you can accommodate all the people who are concerned.”
There were so many of these concerned residents in the gallery that extra chairs and benches had to be brought into council chambers.