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The Pesticides Management Code

Updating: March 2011

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Pesticides Management Code
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The Pesticides Management Code and You

Highlights


Ensuring improved conditions for health and the environment

The Pesticides Management Code, in force since April 3, 2003, sets strict standards to control the use and sale of pesticides. This new regulation aims at limiting the harmful effects of pesticides on human health – especially on the health of children – and on the environment. The environmental management approach that it advocates limits the non-essential use of pesticides to the bare essentials in matters of lawn maintenance. Childcare centres, elementary and secondary schools have to be as free as possible from pesticides.

This Code is the result of a vast consultation carried out in 1998 by the Ministère de l’Environnement. Moreover, it follows the recommendations of the Groupe de réflexion sur les pesticides en milieu urbain, whose mandate was to discover means of reducing Quebecers’ dependence on and exposure to the products used for green space maintenance. Many citizens, environmental groups, research centres, municipalities and private companies have expressed their wish for regulation aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide exposure for people and the environment, notably in urban environments where the majority of Quebecers live.

In the March 2002 report entitled "Pour la protection de la santé et de l’environnement, la gestion environnementale en milieu urbain", the focus group made nearly fifteen main recommendations. Among these, the adoption of the Pesticides Management Code was considered essential to reach these objectives in urban environments. This regulation is in keeping with the group’s two guiding principles, which are precaution – as the toxicity of the products has yet to be thoroughly studied and pesticides should therefore be used carefully – and exemplary behaviour, which contributes, among other things, to changing habits through pesticide management in urban environments. That is why the lawns of public, semi-public and municipal properties were targeted from 2003 till 2006.

Though pesticides may be useful in certain cases, we must nonetheless recognize that they are noxious, and acknowledge that we must take steps to limit their use. When these products must be used, it should not compromise our health or environment in any way.

Above all, we need a healthy and clean environment. Through the Pesticides Management Code, we are therefore asked, individually and collectively, to use pesticides in a responsible manner and to choose alternative means whenever possible.

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Why the government intervenes in the use of pesticides?

To protect human health

Pesticides can comprise human health. Children are particularly vulnerable to the noxious effects of pesticides due to their physiology (e.g.: undeveloped immune system and more permeability skin) and higher exposure level that results from their behaviour (e.g.: tendency to put objects in their mouth). Pets are also vulnerable to these products.

Pesticides are absorbed by the body, particularly by way of the mouth, skin and through respiratory system. They can trigger immediate effects, which are usually manifested by symptoms such as headaches, skin or eye irritation, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Environmental protection

Pesticide use often causes water, air and contamination soil. When organisms that are not targeted by the application of these products are exposed to them, the result is a negative impact on biodiversity.

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Highlights of the Pesticides Management Code

Under the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides, the Pesticides Management Code introduces stricter rules for the sale and use of pesticides to permit and certificate holders. Commercial and private users include farm producers and forest managers. Certain provisions concern citizens, notably the observance of minimum distances from bodies of water and streams. More specifically, the most important elements of the project are:

Pesticide Use Rules:

  • it is prohibited to use certain pesticides on the lawns of public, semi-public and municipal properties and, since April 2006, on the lawns of private and commercial properties, except for golf courses;
  • it is prohibited for commercial users to apply on lawn spaces pesticides that are impregnated or mixed with a fertilizer, unless these products are stored in separate containers;
  • it is prohibited to use certain pesticides on the lawns of private and commercial green spaces, as of April 2006;
  • it is prohibited to use almost all pesticides inside and outside child care centres and elementary and secondary schools, and specific rules must be observed when using authorized pesticides;
  • it is prohibited to use certain aerosols indoors;
  • minimal distances must be observed when using pesticides or when preparing pesticide mixtures near bodies of water, streams or rivers and water intakes, for all types of equipment used;
  • specified distances from watercourses and inhabited areas will also have to be observed in the case of equipment causing significant aerial drift (in orchards for example), during aerial spraying and when pesticides are used in high-traffic vehicle, train or energy corridors;
  • golf courses are required to submit triennial plans for the reduced use of pesticides to the Ministère since April 2006;
  • application of information modalities for the public and the Ministère when certain pesticides are used in forests and high-traffic vehicle, train or energy corridors;
  • billposting and pesticide warnings when pesticides are used in urban areas and on golf courses;
  • specific rules apply during fumigation (aeration, schedule, posting of warnings);
  • specific rules apply for aerial spraying (for example marking the location);
  • ground applications of pesticides to reduce adult biting insects is prohibited;
  • it is prohibited for all, including citizens, to use strychnine and DDT.

Sale Rules:

  • it is prohibited to sell fertilizer-pesticide mixtures and mixed packages (e.g. herbicide and insecticide), since April 2004;
  • it is prohibited to display products intended for domestic use in a way which makes these products accessible to the public, since April 2005;
  • it is prohibited to sell certain pesticides intended for domestic use, since April 2006.

Layout rules for the storage, loading and unloading of pesticides:

  • retention and backflow prevention system, etc.;
  • distance from floodable areas, rivers, municipal wells, etc.;
  • environmental liability insurance for large capacity storage.

Other regulatory amendments:

Other regulatory amendments aim at:

  • repealing the Regulation respecting the use of DDT, the provisions of which will be included in the Pesticides Management Code;
  • amending the Regulation respecting the application of the Environment Quality Act in order to retrieve from the authorization procedure activities which now fall under the Pesticides Management Code, notably the use of pesticides in high-traffic vehicle, train, or energy corridors;

To make known the Pesticides Management Code provisions and ensure that the Code is applied, the Ministry has been publishing since 2003:

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List of active ingredients prohibited for lawn maintenance purposes

Categories of pesticides

Active ingredients

Insecticides

Carbaryl
Dicofol
Malathion

Herbicides

2,4-D (all chemical forms)
Chlorthal dimethyl
MCPA (all chemical forms)
Mecoprop (all chemical forms)

Fungicides

Benomyl
Captan
Chlorothalonil
Iprodione
Quintozene
Thiophanate-methyl

NB: Active Ingredient Trade Names (Classes 3 and 4)

List of ingredients allowed inside and outside childcare centers as well as elementary and secondary schools

Categories of pesticides Active ingredients
Insecticides

Acetamiprid
Boric acid
Borax
Silica dioxide (diatomaceous earth)
Methoprene
Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate
Ferric phosphate
Insecticidal soap
Spinosad

Herbicides

Acetic acid
Conjugated decanoic and pelargonic acid
Herbicidal soap

Fungicides

Sulfur
Calcium sulphide or calcium polysulphide

Biopesticides

Active ingredients approved by the federal government

NB: Active Ingredient Trade Names (Class 3 - Classes 4 et 5)

The information provided in this document is in no way meant to replace the text of the Pesticides Management Code. The full text is published in the March 19, 2003, edition of the Gazette officielle of Publications du Québec.

Avoiding pesticides… a natural thing to do.


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