Re: “The Killing Fields” [Spring 2010]

Kudos to Paul Webster [“The Killing Fields,” Autumn 2009] for alerting us to the devastating impact of pesticides on birds. I had not realized the numbers killed were in the hundreds of millions. This is truly a tragedy. It’s also true, of course, that pesticides harm people, and here again federal regulation is inadequate.

A recent study from the David Suzuki Foundation compared Canada with other countries when it comes to pesticide residue on food. The study found that “Canada has the weakest standards of any of the jurisdictions examined.” In other words, produce sold in Canada is allowed to have more pesticides on it than produce sold in Europe, Australia or the United States.

In some cases, Canada’s regulations are so weak they verge on the absurd. For example, pineapples sold here can contain 300 times more lindane insecticide than pineapples sold in Europe. Leaf lettuce sold here can have 400 times more permethrin insecticide than leaf lettuce sold in Europe.

At a minimum, Ottawa should bring us in line with European standards. Anything less means that the destruction – human and animal – will continue.

– Gideon Forman, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Toronto