Perspectives

Are pesticides used in urban green spaces safe?

There’s no question that private and public green spaces in urban areas are beneficial on many levels. As natural systems, these spaces can come under the threat of pests such as insects, weeds and disease. Pesticides help to control these threats and, in Canada, all pesticides are highly regulated and tested extensively. These products are applied in urban green spaces by licensed professionals and are safe when used as directed by the product label.

Urban green spaces such as golf courses, parks and fields have many benefits. They’re good for both mental and physical health, and they benefit the environment and the economy. Green spaces provide food and habitat for wildlife, produce oxygen and help reduce pollution. Even your lawn can help  reduce the warming effect of hard surfaces commonly found in urban areas. Green spaces in cities, from the local park to your own back yard, make for happier, healthier communities.

For all of these reasons, it’s important that we keep these areas healthy and free from the threat of pests such as insects, weeds and fungi. Practicing integrated pest management, including the safe use of pesticides, is the best way to control these threats.

How do we know pesticides are safe?

A single dandelion can produce 200 seeds.

In Canada, all pesticides are tested to ensure their safety for humans, animals and the environment. They must also continue to meet Health Canada’s rigorous standards and are evaluated every 15 years, or when new information indicates that further investigation is required. Provinces also have some responsibility for the sale, application, storage and disposal of pesticides, and each province can determine what licences, if any, are required for the application of pesticides.

What is the difference between the pesticides I buy and those applied by professionals?

Grubs feed on the roots of grass, causing lawns to brown and die. Grubs also attract predatory animals like skunks and raccoons.

Urban pesticides can come in different formulations. Consumer-grade pesticides are diluted and meant for use by homeowners, who should always read and follow the product label. There are also commercial-grade products designed for use by people with specialized training. Regardless of the formulation, all pesticides in Canada must meet stringent safety standards set out by Health Canada.

Children Playing in Grass

At Bayer, we take responsible and safe use of pesticides seriously. We continuously work with regulators and professional applicators to ensure our pesticides meet the latest standards and are used properly.