As a graduate student, a good portion of my research dealt with non-synthetic control of weeds in landscapes. This included evaluating cultural practices and "organic" products for their efficacy. While researching the topic, I became acquainted with the Cosmetic Pesticide Ban laws enacted across most of our northern neighbor, Canada. These laws restrict the use of up to around 240 pesticide products, which include approximately 50 active ingredients. What started in a few municipalities in the early 2000's became a province-wide law banning the use of these pesticides for cosmetic purposes in Quebec in 2006. These include public and private applications including parks, public spaces, and all commercial and residential lawns and landscapes. In the decade since, these bans continued to spread across the majority of the other Canadian provinces. They include:
- Ontario (2008)
- Nova Scotia (2011)
- New Brunswick (2009) (2,4-D only)
- Prince Edward Island (2010) (2,4-D only)
- Newfoundland (2012) (2,4-D and other growth regulators)
- Manitoba (2015)
Alberta uncoupled herbicide/fertilizer products in 2010 (elimination sale of "weed and feeds"), and British Columbia enacted integrated pest management (IPM) requirements in 2013. In addition, both of these provinces had many municipalities enact local pesticide bans. I included this history in many of my presentation to highlight the speed and scope of which these bans can potentially have.
Last year, the city of Irvine became the first in southern California to pass restrictions on pesticide use in public places. Since then, other cities in Orange County have either passed or discussed similar laws, including San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, Huntington Beach, and Costa Mesa. Pressure is also being placed on HOAs to eliminate glyphosate (Roundup) from their management programs.
Will these bans continue to spread? If the situation is compared to similar scenarios in other states (such as fertilizer bans and blackouts in Florida, Michigan, New York, etc.) the answer will be yes. Even though politics may be different in California compared to Canada's provinces, the 2020's may see proposals for state-wide ban of "cosmetic" pesticides for lawns and landscapes.