Glyphosate spraying over New Brunswick Crown forests and power lines poses a risk to New Brunswick’s environment, wildlife, and public health. This matter is worthy of urgent consideration because the Minister of Environment and Local Government is required to sign permits for the spraying of glyphosate under Sections 11 and 14 of the Pesticide Control Act in order for the herbicide to be sprayed in August and September. Considering the Legislature is not scheduled to sit again until after spraying season, this is an urgent issue today.
This is an issue of provincial-importance that has not been adequately addressed in the Legislative Assembly.
Myself and the Member for Restigouche-West, tabled the largest petition in the Legislative Assembly’s history in 2017 demanding a ban on glyphosate herbicide spraying on Crown forests and power lines in New Brunswick. Over the past three years, 34,832 New Brunswickers have signed this petition. They deserve our adequate consideration of this matter.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a wide range of negative impacts on many species including humans. Twelve leading scientists and epidemiologists published a consensus statement in the Journal of Environmental Health in 2016 concluding glyphosate herbicides contaminate drinking water and that glyphosate exposure levels currently deemed safe by regulatory agencies caused kidney and liver damage in animals. They also concluded that existing toxicological data and risk assessments for glyphosate herbicides are not sufficient to conclude that glyphosate use at current levels is safe.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer deemed glyphosate a “probable carcinogen” to humans in 2015. Glyphosate-based herbicides heighten the risk in developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma in those routinely exposed to glyphosate. The Public Health Agency of Canada has found significantly elevated levels of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in men in New Brunswick compared to the rest of Canada.
Due to the extent and urgency of this issue, I am requesting an emergency debate under Section 45 of the Standing Rules of the Legislative Assembly on the permits for the spraying of the herbicide glyphosate on New Brunswick’s Crown Lands and under NB Power transmission lines. It is our role to take a precautionary approach when it comes to putting our environment at risk. The Minister can remove the risk altogether by refusing to the permits provided for by Subsection 11(3) of the Pesticides Control Act.