Robert's Rants
Robert's Rants
A personal blog on the Canadian pesticide industry and other pet peeves and interests

One simple step to increase pesticide safety

Here it is:

Eliminate all Domestic uses.

Simple enough.

How many homeowners do you think buy a can of “Dr Invade Kil” at the local House Hardwire, go up home and spray the wasp nest above their garage.

Without gloves

Standing downwind

Without goggles

And their hand on the trigger…(actuator button really)

And streams of pesticide running down their arms.

Then going inside and popping a beer to celebrate their fine effort.

Without washing their hands.

If some Agency out there in Agency Land really wanted to make pesticides safer overall…

Safe use…a progression, not a declaration

Government agencies keep me out of harms way…

The CDC, PMRA, EPA, FDA, CFIA, Health Canada just to name a few.

Right on top of issues like SARS, DDT, Alar, asbestos, lead water pipes, UV rays,


(Whoops, what’s up with that one.   More on that after a smoke break.)

Weren’t these all considered safe at one time?

Did the agency in charge really screw up?

Or did more information become available, through science, that changed the way we looked at those products?

Is really a possibility to deem anything as safe?  In any context?  At all times?

And if 50 years ago the use of DDT was considered safe, then doesn’t the government agency have the right…actually the obligation…to change that opinion or decision?

Simply a progression we make as we have access to more and more technological advances.  In all aspects of life.

When this knowledge becomes available though, we tend to spring back like a rubber band and go to the extremes in the sake of safety.

A parked car is usually considered safe, until a human gets inside…

But what if the braking or transmission system fails and it rolls down hill on it’s own?

(So let’s ban all cars???  Or maybe just hat model with the faulty u-bolt…)

We can’t declare everything to be 100% safe at all times to all people in all situations.

In man’s infinite wisdom though we have designed levels of safety, based on what?

Acceptable risk.

Does the benefit (including simple pleasures like taste or smell) out weigh the associated risk, either directly or indirectly?

In some cases there is no acceptable level of risk.  Zero.  In some cases (tobacco) the vast amount of money involved seems to cloud our reasoning on what is acceptable!

In the case of pesticides (even the organic ones) the benefit derived has been deemed, by currently available science, that the legal labeled uses out weigh the risk.  And by using the product according to label directions…all label directions…the product in fact has minimal if any risk to mankind and the environment.

To make it even “safer” the various agencies that regulate this have added on their own “safety” and risk factors.

If a no effect level or “safe” level is found to be at 10 ppm, for example, we err on the side of caution and increase that “safety” factor by 100 times, and reduce that level to 0.010 ppm.  Even safer yet!?!   Or maybe a built in safety factor or 1000…or down to .001 ppm.   Safest???  (okay I don’t know ppb or math even)

Let’s look at a more specific example.

So for years we have used certain rodenticides both indoors and out.  If we followed all the label uses and recommendation, it’s been considered to be used in a safe manner.  According to all the science and research and documentation over years and years.

Now the PMRA has decided that a certain group of rodenticides are no longer “safe” outside.  At all . Why?  Science again I guess.  New tests, studies, gathered data, incidences are available, that perhaps suggest safer means and methods can be implemented to make the products safer.

Were these products really unsafe for the past 20 years, and now they’re deemed more safe, perfectly safe, safer?????

They allow for the use of these products for 20 years in an “unsafe” manner and phase in the “safer” use, or use site, or formulation???

Pesticides are not much different than other factors in our life.

As technology allows, we find ways to manage those objects we deem to be pests, in safer and safer means and methods.

Studies have shown that more people survive car accidents wearing seat belts.  So now all car have seat belts.

But were my grand parents totally “unsafe” as their Model T didn’t have seat belts, or air bags, or turn signal or window wipers.

Was I raised poorly by unloving parents because 50 years ago I rode my bike without knee pads and a helmet?

So my point?  None… really

Guess that’s why it’s titled “Robert’s Rants” instead of “Robert’s Logical and Concise Meaning of Life”