Ontario gardeners, beware of what pesticides you use

Posted May 10, 2011 by KJ Mullins
You have children and pets and a big backyard. In Ontario if you want to use a powerful pesticide in order to make sure your lawn is greener than the neighbours you may be tempted to order something online. That order could make you a criminal.
Grass at eye level
Peered low to see an Annex park from the grass' perspective. In the distance, though you can't see it, a woman is sitting at a picnic bench
David Silverberg
In Ontario gardeners dealing with pests need to make sure that their products are approved for use in Canada. Some products that consumers order online are not allowed to be used under the Pest Control Products Act.
Using pesticides can be dangerous. For that reason Canada only allows products bearing a Pest Control Product Registration Number on the label. Pesticides are made from both synthetic and natural active ingredients.
When a product is unregistered it may not contain the necessary precautions or instructions in either of Canada's official languages. Not knowing how to use the product can lead to accidental misuse or injury.
Some of the risks to pesticide exposure are frightening. Toronto Public Health warns that people who work with pesticides have an increased risk of fertility problems, birth defects and risk the chance of certain cancers, including leukemia, kidney, brain, testicular, prostate and cervical cancers, and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL). Some workers who have had long term exposure could have an increased risk of Parkinson's Disease.
Bugs are a natural part of any garden. The only time bugs should be controlled is when the plant's health is at risk. A good gauge of when to act is if the cost of controlling the problem is less than the cost of replacing the affected plant.
By selecting hardy plants and acting quickly when a problem arises gardeners can have a beautiful garden without harsh chemicals. Often, all that is needed is to remove the affected leaves from a plant or give them a squirt of insecticidal soap.