April 10, 2009

Dow suing Canada over pesticide ban

The government of Canada is being sued by Dow Agrosciences LLC over the province of Quebec's ban on residential pesticides.

The suit is based on part of the North American Free Trade Agreement that allows businesses to sue governments over regulations that harm their interests, The Globe and Mail reported.

Under NAFTA rules, companies can only sue federal governments but not provinces or states. Ironically, the federal Health Canada agency endorses the use of the pesticide according to manufacturers' directions, the report said.

Quebec first banned the sale of 2,4-D, commonly used to make lawns insect- and weed-free, and Ontario is set to follow suit this year.

In its notice of arbitration, Dow claimed Quebec has no scientific basis to impose the ban and said the pesticide received extensive testing and is safe to use as directed.

Brenda Harris, regulator and government affairs manager for Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc., told the newspaper the company was justified in filing the suit.

Do we want regulations in Canada made on political whim or do we want them based on science? she said.