Chair Named To Lead Independent Panel On Herbicide
McGuinty Government Committed To Getting Answers
Ministry of Natural Resources
Dr. Leonard Ritter has been named the chair of the Independent Fact-Finding Panel on Herbicide 2,4,5-T to look into its past use in Ontario in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and possibly the 80s.
Dr. Ritter is the executive director of the Canadian Network of Toxicology Centres and professor of toxicology at the University of Guelph. He will lead a panel of experts to look at the use of 2,4,5-T by provincial ministries and agencies.
The panel's responsibilities will include:
- Investigating and documenting the scope and scale of the use of 2,4,5-T herbicide in the province by Ontario government ministries and agencies, including those acting as agents or as contractors
- Determining the specific time period when 2,4,5-T herbicide was used in the province by Ontario government ministries and agencies
- Determining the geographic area where 2,4,5-T herbicide was used in the province by Ontario government ministries and agencies
- Examining whether exposure to 2,4,5-T herbicide in the affected areas may have potential health impacts
- Documenting the methods 2,4,5-T herbicide was deployed by employees of provincial ministries and agencies, and the interaction of those employees and the general public with 2,4,5-T herbicide application operations in affected areas
- Reviewing the preparation, application and storage of 2,4,5-T herbicide as well as provincial occupational health and safety, and laws, standards and workplace practices including the use of personal protection equipment and applicable training
- Referring, where appropriate, to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board any findings that could assist its work.
The final report will be submitted to the Minister of Natural Resources and released to the public in its entirety.
- Ontario is the first Canadian jurisdiction to launch a government-wide review of the use of 2,4,5-T.
- The federal government removed 2,4,5-T from the list of approved herbicides in 1985. Until that point, it was commonly used in many other jurisdictions in Canada.
- Ontario is a world leader in reducing the use of pesticides and harmful substances. A cosmetic pesticide ban came into effect in April 2009. The same year, the government passed the Toxics Reduction Act.
- On February 28, Minister Jeffrey sent a letter to the Federal Minister of Health to encourage the federal government to investigate the use of 2,4,5T herbicide in other provinces and territories across Canada.
- On March 1, the Ministry of Natural Resources notified its provincial and federal counterparts about the issue.
The Health and safety of all Ontarians is of utmost importance. People in Ontario are depending on us to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter and that's what we intend to do."
I am pleased to be leading the panel that has been given a mandate to search out information and create the clearest picture of the use of 2,4,5-T and its implications."
Dr. Leonard Ritter