July 15, 2011
An agreement was reached as part of the settlement of a NAFTA dispute that challenged the Quebec government’s ban on certain uses of 2,4-D as being without scientific basis.

The Quebec government has acknowledged that “products containing 2,4-D do not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.”

It appears that industry members in Ontario, who felt some optimism following the decision, won’t see changes in this province’s total ban. LO’s executive director Tony DiGiovanni says, “We asked the 2,4-D Institute what it means for Ontario. The response was that Quebec banned 2,4-D because it was unsafe. Ontario restricted 2,4-D because in that government’s view it is unnecessary for cosmetic purposes. This means they can’t do anything about the Ontario legislation.”

Following the agreement, Peter MacLeod, vice president, chemistry for CropLife Canada, stated, “Our industry has long said that the decisions by Quebec and other governments to ban the herbicide 2,4-D and other common urban pesticides are not based on scientific evidence and do nothing to further protect human health or the environment. Now, Quebec has acknowledged that.”  

MacLeod wrote, “While the agreement recognizes the rights of governments to implement bans, it reinforces the principle that when governments make decisions purportedly relating to the health and safety of the public they should be based on scientific evidence, predictability and a transparent set of principles.”

Health Canada concluded in a 2008 review that “risks to homeowners and their children from contact with treated lawns and turf are not of concern,” and that “there is reasonable certainty that no harm to human health, future generations or the environment will result from use or exposure to the product.”