Question: What is a pesticide?
Answer: A pesticide is any product that is registered with Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) for the control of a pest – including weeds, insects and diseases. Herbicides (for weeds/plants) and insecticides (for insects) are both types of pesticides. Some pesticides are chemical based, some are organic, and some are biological.
Question: Are pesticides harmful to people or pets?
Answer: It depends on the pesticide and the method it is applied. Health Canada undergoes a rigourous analysis of all pesticides and their impacts on people, animals and the environment before approving them for use. This includes sensitive subpopulations, like young children, expectant mothers, acquatic life and non target species (like honeybees). Health Canada sets out specific instructions on mixing, application methods, re-entry times and risk factors. Many products commonly available are not risk free; however, by following label instructions people and pests will be protected from harm.
Toxicity of pesticides is measured by Health Canada. Keep in mind that whether a product is chemical or organic/natural is not a guarantee of its safety. Some organic/natural products are highly toxic and some chemical products have low toxicity.
Question: Are all pesticides banned in Nova Scotia?
Answer: No. The Province of Nova Scotia passed new pesticide rules called the Non-Essential Pesticides Control Act in 2011. This new legislation prohibits the use of pesticides on lawns and ornamental trees, shrubs and plants unless the pesticide in question is included on an Allowable List. These rules apply to commercial landscape professionals, homeowners and to all types of properties – residential, commercial, and public (schools, hospitals, parks, sports fields, etc).
Question: What pesticides am I allowed to use?
Answer: You are only permitted to use those pesticides included on the Allowable List, found at http://www.gov.ns.ca/just/regulations/regs/neplist.htm. This list includes products that are considered by the Nova Scotia Government to pose a lower risk to humans and the environment based on their toxicity, persistence in the environment and ability to bioaccumulate in living organisms.
Question: Are there any exceptions to the new pesticide rules?
Answer: Yes. The forestry, agriculture and golf industries are all exempted from the provincial rules and the new provincial restrictions do not apply to them. Further, pesticides not on the Allowable List are permitted to combat pests that are harmful to human health, or that can damage the environment, economy or buildings/machines. Examples would include the European Fire Ant, poison ivy, or carpenter ants.
Question: How do these new rules work with existing municipal pesticide bans, such as HRM’s?
Answer: The new provincial pesticide rules do not replace existing municipal pesticide bylaws. However, to the extent the municipal bylaw is inconsistent with the provincial rules, it is no longer valid. If you have questions about the rules in the municipality where you reside, contact your municipality.
Question: I have a weed/insect problem and am not sure what to do. Who do I consult?
Answer: Speak to your local landscape professional or nursery/garden centre. We are licensed and trained in the treatment of lawn pests and can assist you in identifying your lawn pest and proper methods of treatment. This can include which allowable pesticides to use to combat the problem, and also alternative treatments that don’t involve pesticides. We are the experts and are happy to help.
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