Updating: March 2011
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.
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.
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.
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:
Layout rules for the storage, loading and unloading of pesticides:
Other regulatory amendments:
Other regulatory amendments aim at:
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.