Today, Friends of the Earth Canada filed evidence (from our 2017 flower testing results) to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario to begin investigation of RONA, Canadian Tire and Home Depot for selling gardeners plants containing harmful, banned cosmetic pesticides, namely boscalid, imidacloprid, pyraclostrobin napropamide, and spinosad.

These corporations and their directors could be fined millions of dollars.

Here’s the back story:

Have you ever said, “Somebody should do something about that!”?

One weekend, our own Bea Olivastri got so fed up with inaction on pesticides, she did something about it all by herself.

“I was suspicious about commitments made by Big Box stores to remove bee-killing pesticides from their garden centre plants. And, I was worried that I was seeing so few flower tags about their bee attractiveness. So I decided to give Friends of the Earth’s flower testing work a personal boost.

Last spring, I spent a Saturday cruising local Ottawa garden centres – it was an intense but fun day of buying lots of plants I recognized as bee-friendly – that is, until I read their test results from the University of Guelph’s lab.

Not only did I read about neonicotinoids residues in the flowering plants, I was shocked and appalled to see residues from pesticides that have been banned for almost ten years under Ontario’s Cosmetic Pesticide Ban.

Is your local garden centre selling contaminated flowering plants? And who is checking?

Thanks to the work of tens of thousands of us petitioning and lobbying provincial governments to act, four provinces have cosmetic pesticide bans in place, several have limited bans and hundreds of municipalities have bans in place where their province has not acted.  But passing a law or by-law is one thing. Enforcing it is another.

Bea’s personal testing project demonstrates we must not let our guard down – we must stay vigilant and insist on enforcement of pesticide bans.

Not that this is easy.

If you are worried that flowers in your garden centre are toxic for bees, children and pets, if you are frustrated – like Bea – and want pesticide bans enforced, here’s a chance for you to do something important.

Because we had test results clearly showing flowers contaminated by banned pesticides, we know enforcement is missing in action.

In the next few weeks, we want to test flowers in garden centres in every province with a cosmetic pesticide ban. It’s urgent to get this work underway immediately so we can discover if there is additional evidence of banned pesticides in this year’s flowering plants.

Will you help by contributing to Bea’s Flower Testing Fund? If you are worried that flowers from your garden centre are toxic for bees, children and pets, here’s a way you can act now.

Testing costs are $200 per sample all in. Whatever you can donate will help Bea and me and our volunteer flower samplers get the testing underway fast!

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