Roadside spraying controversy continues at Lanark County council

Posted on: April 28, 2017

Jane Hobson

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.

13 thoughts on “Roadside spraying controversy continues at Lanark County council

  1. Heidi Tessier

    We need to stop these harmful practices. They are destroying our planet and health. Safe nontoxic methods need to be used. They are out there. Some education is needed. I personally am very affected by the formaldehyde in these products. Please stop using them.

  2. Dale

    The city of Calgary is using goats to control weeds! What do you think of this idea? For one, it’s all natural! 😉

  3. Karen Riches

    Spraying is dangerous to plant, insect, animal , and human life. Should be banned. Spraying is expensive. Mowing two or three times a season is a far better approach to the problem.

  4. Gayda Errett

    If Council continues to ignore all the bona fide research information and we, the citizenry become ill as a result, we can then process a Class Action suit against them.

  5. Judy Fisk

    I feel that the council has an obligation to rethink their decision and really take into account the information provided by Dr Sears as she is a national leader in this field. It’s not as though this chemical just drops down on the weeds, kills them and disappears. It floats on the wind into people’s homes and yards where children, pets and adults live and play. It also goes into ground water polluting it. Then we drink that water.

  6. Dennis Riggs

    A member of council reminded Sears that they had already made a decision to spray in 2017?

    Which council member, and how did they vote?

    I question their display of temerity.

    To essentially state that any new information or concerns raised by Lanark County residents en masse are to be disregarded for the fact of a previous decision, to pretend that it is not possible to change a decision in the light of new information or public dissidence, is a poor choice.

    It would seem to relay that the council member was unable to address or refute what Sears had said before council.

    Doggedness that refuses evidence is a fault in any leader or elected person.

    1. Myrna Lee

      Yes, after Dr. Sears gave us unequivocal evidence that spraying would poison our children, the council member wondered why she had to listen to the presentation when she had already made up her uninformed mind. Unbelievable!

  7. John Lang

    Removing a 10 foot curbside swath of vegitation will not eliminate wild parsnip. Using the same absurd logic, pesticides would be sprayed on the roadsides to eliminate mosquitos and ticks. Certainly West Nile virus and Lyme disease are a more serious threat to resident health.

  8. Richard Bowen

    Mowing often doesn’t reach far enough from the road. People could by used to cut parsnip before the seeds have formed. Employment would be created for more people instead of a few with sprayers. Would this cost more? Perhaps, but we would be paying people instead of buying chemicals. Here’s a contracting opportunity for someone. Dust off that business plan template folks. NO PARSNIPS aren’t us!

    1. Elizabeth Blair

      We MUST stop the spraying of poisonous substances! It has a serious effect on the health of all people and wildlife, not to mention the ground we walk on. Council should remember that they have been elected to represent us, and they need to respect and listen to our opinions, as well as the professionals who have advised of the detrimental results of spraying. They need to do the right thing and ban spraying!

  9. Susan McLenaghan

    After all the studies that have been done,books published, harm documented, it is remarkable to me that our local government would chose herbicide spraying to deal with wild parsnip. Have we,as a species, learned nothing over the last hundred years? Are there not other tools in the tool kit to deal with the problem? I would add that poorly timed roadside mowing has exacerbated the problem. Mowing equipment spreads the seeds when the mowing occurs after seed head formation. You would think this would be obvious?

  10. Linda Grenier

    I am so dumbfounded that in 2017, people do not understand that a chemical that kills something can kill something else. How can we be so naive to think that a chemical only kills one specific thing?

    Spraying is dangerous to all life and should be banned. Mowing two or three times a season is a far better approach to the problem and provides a local job.

    It is time that council remembers who they work for.

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