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Court Orders Health Canada Investigate Environmental Effects of Monsanto's Roundup®

 
Health Canada Ordered to Examining Impact of Monsanto's Roundup® on Amphibians
by WCEL
The Honourable Mr. Justice Kelen of the Federal Court of Canada has ordered Health Canada to take a second look at the impacts on amphibians of Glyphosate-based pesticides – one of the most widely-used pesticides in Canada, which includes products like Monsanto’s Roundup®
 
The decision, the result of an action brought by Smithers-based pesticide-activist and French-trained Paediatrician, Josette Wier, demonstrates that Health Canada must address requests by the public for a review of the safety of a pesticide where there is scientific uncertainty about its risks. 
 
“Understanding the impact of pesticides on frogs and other amphibians is critical to understanding their impacts on the broader ecosystem,” explained Wier.
 
“There are many recent studies showing that Round-up and many other Glyphosate-based pesticides contain an ingredient known as POEA that is toxic to amphibians and perhaps also to humans and human embryos, but Health Canada refused to initiate a formal review of the safety of these pesticides.”
 
Wier’s legal challenge, brought by Vancouver-lawyer, Jason Gratl, and funded by West Coast Environmental Law and the Driftwood Foundation, focused on wetlands that provide critical habitat for many species of frogs and amphibians. Judge Michael Kelen wrote: 
 
“[Ms. Wier] is entitled to a proper analysis as to whether the pesticide in issue presents an environmental risk to amphibians inhabiting ephemeral wetlands [those that are sometimes dry] which are subject to the aerial spraying of the pesticide in silviculture.”
 
“Health Canada knew that there were risks with these pesticides, and yet failed to act to protect amphibian species, many of which are endangered.” said Wier. 
 
“The judge affirmed that Health Canada should take a precautionary approach – and re-examine their approval of pesticides where scientists don’t agree on the risks.” 
 
“It’s absurd that Josette had to go to court to force Health Canada to consider the environmental risks of substances that BC government scientists have flagged as posing a major risk to frogs and other amphibians,” said Andrew Gage, staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law.
 
“This decision empowers the public to demand that pesticides be re-examined when science casts doubt on their safety and shows Health Canada that it must take such demands seriously.”
 
Wier brought her original request for a special review of glyphosate-pesticides (especially those containing POEA) and subsequent legal challenge because of her concern about possible aerial spraying of Monsanto’s pesticide Vision in the forests near Smithers. 
 
Glyphosate products are widely used on lawns, forests and in agriculture across Canada.   

 

 

For more information contact:

Josette Wier at 250-847-8743

Andrew Gage, Staff Counsel at 604-601-2506 (Vancouver) or 250-412-9784 (Victoria)

Jason Gratl at 604-694-1919

A copy of the Honourable Mr. Kelen’s decision is available at:  http://cas-ncr-nter03.cas-satj.gc.ca/rss/T-1604-09%20decision%20ENG.pdf

About West Coast Environmental Law

West Coast Environmental Law is a non-profit environmental law and public interest organization, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. We believe in a just and sustainable society where citizens are empowered to protect the environment and environmental protection is enshrined in law.  
 
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