CALLING ALL FRIENDS OF MOTHER EARTH,
WARNING!!! You are currently being consulted by the Ontario government about a government proposal to intentionally expose you to non-essential chemical herbicide mixtures and their toxic breakdown products. This consultation period runs until February 17, 2008.
This issue can be boiled down to one sentence: The Ontario government proposes to expose you and your family to non-essential chemical herbicides so that you can do your small part to slightly increase shareholder profit margins for multinational forestry corporations.
The government will implicitly interpret silence by the public during this period of “consultation” as ACCEPTANCE of the government’s proposal. Comments from all jurisdictions are invited. Chemicals leaving Ontario’s boreal forest will reach the fresh-water shorelines of Manitoba, Quebec, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
The tool being used by the government to consult the public on this matter is called the Environmental Registry (http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca Registry # 010-2248).
Direct Link to Proposal - http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTAyNTUz&statusId=MTUzMzE3&language=en
The herbicides that you will be exposed to include 2,4-D which is 50% of the herbicide mixture commonly known as “AGENT ORANGE” … and glyphosate, which is commonly known as RoundUP and known to cause mortality to amphibians.
Medical, environmental, and social justice organizations have vigilantly demanded a ban on the application of non-essential chemical herbicides and pesticides within municipalities, citing health and environmental concerns.
While the government proposes to ban the application of glyphosate and 2,4-D based herbicides within municipalities in recognition of the health and environmental impacts, they have taken the opposite approach to forestry.
Ironically, the Ontario government proposes that we continue to spray these same chemicals in the boreal forest, rejecting effective alternatives currently used in other provinces (most notably Quebec with a complete ban on herbicides in 2001) and other regions (Scandinavia).
Global Boreal Forest
If you have any concerns with or disagree with the government proposal, you must communicate these thoughts to the provincial government during this scheduled “consultation” period ending February 17, 2008.
The chemical herbicides are being applied to kill unwanted vegetation in the boreal forest. Alternatives being implemented in other jurisdictions of the boreal forest include:
Manual release techniques are known to greatly increase local employment opportunities for forest dependent communities. Many of the multinational forestry companies operating in Ontario are also operating in Quebec (which banned herbicides in 2001), and have adapted to using alternative methods in that province. However, they then insist that in Ontario, herbicides are an absolutely necessary tool to regenerate the forest.
In 1999, the 35th Senate Subcommittee on the Boreal Forest published a report titled, “COMPETING REALITIES: The Boreal Forest at Risk.” The subcommittee recommended that, “All herbicide and chemical pesticide use in the boreal forest should be phased out as soon as possible.”
Many people have asked me, “Why should it matter to me whether chemical herbicides are being sprayed in Ontario’s boreal forest? I don’t live in the forest, or even the country.”
The truth is, Ontario’s boreal forest is very connected to the rest of the province and indeed, the world … and one such CONNECTION COMES FROM THE MOVEMENT OF WATER.
Ontario’s boreal forest is a massive piece of land, and is broken into drainage basins emptying into James Bay, the Great Lakes, and the Ottawa River. The boreal forest is the headwaters to all communities drawing from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River way. Chemicals leaving the boreal forest reach the shorelines of Manitoba, Quebec, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Of course, when these chemicals reach the ocean, they find their way to the shorelines of all Canadian provinces.
(Ground water recharge great lakes – US Government)
Chemical contamination of the headwaters that supply our drinking water is a serious concern. A little over seven years ago, the combination of source water contamination and an inoperable water filtration system had deadly consequences for many in Walkerton, Ontario.
Justice O’Connor made many recommendations to prevent future incidents, one such being that we implement a multi-barrier approach to ensure the safety of Ontario’s drinking water. He stated, “Source protection keeps the raw water as clean as possible to lower the risk that contaminants will get through or overwhelm the treatment system.”
The report also indicates that source protection is the required barrier to prevent chemical contaminants from reaching our drinking water.
Discussions with water filtration technicians in Toronto and Ottawa indicate that the filter systems were never designed for chemical herbicides, and are inefficient in removing such chemicals.
In a report titled “Up to the Gills, Pollution in Great Lakes Fish”, Environmental Defence notes fish consumption advisories due to toxic contamination of the Great Lakes watershed. In regards to pesticides, the report indicates, “Pesticide exposure is linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, neurological problems, reproductive abnormalities, immunotoxicity and cancer. Children are at particular risk from pesticides because they are more vulnerable to the effects and have greater exposure to the chemicals. While some municipalities around the Great Lakes have instituted bans on cosmetic pesticide use, there is still widespread use in the Great Lakes basin for domestic, commercial and agricultural purposes.”
The effect of acute exposure to these chemicals over decades is largely unknown, as is the effect of exposure to multiple pesticides simultaneously.
According to Tony Clement, the Ontario Minister of Health, ”The PMRA requires laboratory toxicity studies on standard surrogate species in order to predict effects of active ingredients and their formulations on non-target species. The PMRA does not receive information concerning environmental interactions with other pesticides when considering registration of pesticides in Canada.” (December 21, 2007)
Now is the time to spread the word about this proposal, and make your voices heard before February 17th. This could be the best and perhaps only opportunity to put a stop to the poisoning of our collective water basin. Let the Ontario government know how you feel about sacrificing our health and the environment to slightly increase shareholder profit margins for multinational forestry companies.
Consultation Deadline: February 17, 2008
PROPOSAL # 010-2248
Please share this message as widely as possible. Tell your friends and family they are being consulted.
For further information, contact:
Capt. Joel Theriault B.A., L.L.B.