Lifestyle

Impact of pesticide use examined

Okanagan residents are invited to a community film screening and discussion to learn more about how non-essential pesticides can affect our health and environment, and what effective natural alternatives are available.

The meeting, hosted by the B.C./Yukon branch of the Canadian Cancer Society, in partnership with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, includes a free film screening of the documentary A Chemical Reaction followed by a community conversation on the use of pesticides in the southern Interior.

The event is taking place at UBC Okanagan on March 5, 7 p.m., and will feature guest speaker Paul Tukey, creator of SafeLawns.org, author of Organic Lawn Care Manual, and executive producer of the award-winning documentary.

“We are thrilled to have a speaker of this calibre in our community,” said Jerilynn Maki, health promotion coordinator for the B.C./Yukon branch of the Canadian Cancer Society.

“Paul has been called the ‘godfather of the natural lawn care movement,’ and is known for turning the subject of lawn care into a rousing public discourse.

“We look forward to hearing his thoughts on pesticide use in B.C.’s Southern Interior.”

The cosmetic use of pesticides is a public health issue, particularly for children.

According to the cancer society, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests a connection between pesticides and various cancers, such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, prostate, kidney and lung cancers as well as childhood leukemia.

Because the cosmetic use of pesticides, which are used to enhance the appearance of gardens and lawns, are not necessary and may cause harm to human health, the society and CAPE encourage everyone to learn about the importance of eliminating their exposure to cosmetic pesticides where possible.

“With spring approaching and lawn care on all of our radars, Paul will bring his expertise about how we can learn to make the transition to healthy, pesticide-free lawns and gardens in the Southern Interior,” said Maki.

“We encourage the public to join us and bring their lawn and garden questions.”

The documentary, A Chemical Reaction, tells the story of a powerful community initiative in Hudson, Que., which eventually resulted in Canada’s first bylaw to ban the use of all chemical pesticides and herbicides.

The bylaw led to a groundswell of communities and provinces taking action to reduce their use of cosmetic pesticides.

The City of Kelowna is one municipality that has adopted a bylaw limiting the use of cosmetic pesticides.

The community event is taking place in the Arts and Science building’s Lecture Theatre Room 130.

While admission is free, donations will be gratefully accepted.

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