Report says pesticides not associated with most common cancers

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By Steve Sharratt

   PEI - Pesticides sold and used on P.E.I. are not associated with the four most common cancers in the province, according to a new report released by the Department of Health and Wellness.

A sign warning of pesticides spraying. Submitted photo

And, according to the study, eliminating the use of all pesticides in P.E.I. would have little or no impact on Island disease rates.

“Pesticides used in P.E.I. do not pose a significant public health risk when used according to Health Canada’s usage and safety precaution labeling,” says the report now posted on the department’s website. “The Chief Public Health Office will continue to monitor ongoing research in this area.”

However, the 300 page report also says there is “good evidence” to recommend that pesticides can be a contributing factor to the human health effect under consideration.

RELATED: City introducing education program instead of bylaw banning cosmetic pesticides

The report says there is evidence to suggest a possible connection between exposure to some pesticides and a number of types of cancer, including cancers of the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system, particularly non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

However, the report points out that pesticides sold in P.E.I. were not associated with the four most common cancers in the province - lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer.

“Eliminating the use of all pesticides in P.E.I. would have little or no impact on Island disease rates, including cancer rates.”

The report says the annual new cases of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma would likely be decreased by 1.7 per cent for males and 0.4 per cent for females.

By comparison, if all smoking in P.E.I. ceased, annual new cases of Lung Cancer would be decreased by 82 per cent for males and 55 per cent for females.

The report notes that an extremely low to very low reduction in average population for the risk of Parkinson’s disease and melanoma may be achieved by eliminating agricultural pesticide exposure on P.E.I.

The Chief Health Office compiled the findings after reviewing studies published between 2004-2015 from North America, Europe and Japan.

Organizations: Chief Public Health Office, Health Canada

Geographic location: P.E.I., North America, Europe Japan

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