06/28/2013 06:25 EDT | Updated 08/28/2013 05:12 EDT

Manitoba to ban synthetic pesticides for residential use starting 2014

WINNIPEG - Manitoba is bringing in legislation to ban synthetic chemical lawn pesticides.

Only federally approved bio-pesticides will be allowed for use on lawns, sidewalks, driveways and patios.

Agricultural lands, gardens, golf courses and sod-farms would be exempt.

The legislation would come into effect December 2014, but there would be a one-year grace period for homeowners.

Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh says the move will reduce children’s and pets’ exposure to the chemicals.

He says Manitoba is bringing in the legislation because there is increasing availability of replacement products and alternative turf management practices that effectively control weeds.

More than 170 Canadian municipalities already have a ban in place.

Three notable warnings about the risk of synthetic chemical pesticides have been released this year.

Most recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that “epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioural problems.”

“From a risk versus benefit perspective, the health benefits of reducing unnecessary use of cosmetic pesticides outweigh the risks,” said Dr. Elise Weiss, deputy chief provincial health officer. “It is prudent to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure to pregnant women and children.”