Herbicide spray poses no risk to public: Natural Resources

Justin Dickie
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Spraying fails to be an issue in county

AMHERST - There's been some controversy around the province recently regarding aerial herbicide spraying, but it hasn't been an issue here yet.

"I haven't heard of anyone complaining through our office," said Department of Natural Resources technician of forest resources Keith Black. "Usually they're just looking for general information. What we do is we send them through to the company that's doing the spraying and also to the Department of Environment."

District Manager of the Dept. of Environment and Labour Brad Skinner said his department's received very few calls on the issue and he's not sure what all the hubbub's about elsewhere.

"We have only had very few calls in this area. This year there seems to be a tremendous amount of concern in some areas, predominantly in the Pictou County area," he said. "The concerns that I've seen relate to potential health affects. However, the product is registered for use by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada and they require a tremendous amount of study and it's reviewed in detail before a product is registered and they've determined that it is quite safe to use. As long as it's used according to labelled directions, there's no risk to the public."

The active ingredient in the herbicide is glyphosate, a common weed killer that's been used in agriculture, silverculture, and home gardens since the early 1980s.

Currently, aerial spraying can't occur within 100 metres of a dwelling and anyone within 500 metres of the spray zone is given a written notice and an opportunity to raise concerns before the herbicide is applied.

Skinner said the distance restrictions aren't due to health concerns, but to make sure the low-flying helicopters applying the spray are a safe distance from homes.

According to Skinner, the product has a very low toxicity and isn't harmful to animals or humans.


Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Department of Environment, Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada

Geographic location: AMHERST, Pictou County

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