Clarifying the role of Medical Officer of Health

Posted on: March 22, 2018

Submitted by Paula Stewart MD, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

To clarify the concerns raised in the letter by Myrna Lee in the March edition, my role as Medical Officer of Health is to provide information to the municipalities about the possible human health risk of spraying the herbicide Clearview in municipal ditches as part of their management of wild parsnip.

The municipalities make the decision about how best to meet their requirement under the Ontario Weed Act to control this noxious weed.

The information I provide is based on an expert report from Public Health Ontario where their scientists reviewed the evidence and concluded that there wasn’t research evidence of a public health risk from the controlled spraying of Clearview in the Lanark County ditches.

The presentation I make to municipalities is available to review in the minutes of the Lanark County Public Works Committee meeting of October 25, 2017 on the Lanark County website.

I would be pleased to discuss the findings of the Public Health Ontario report and its implications for our region with anyone who would like to discuss it further.