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August Submission to the CCHT – Diane Hruska New Member

I would like to start a conversation that I hope will continue on after today. It has to do with our health, our environment and the spraying of crops. I want to say from the start that I do not want to badmouth farmers and create a divide. I have been pleased with the concern that farmers in my neighbourhood have shown when approached on this topic, but I am just one person that has been helped and I would like to see others have this opportunity too.

Here are some of the statistical highlights about the health of people in rural areas that might interest you. According to an American report that reviewed over 25 major studies over the past 30 years, families living near farming areas experience greatly increased rates of serious health disorders compared to those living over one mile away from agriculture. These conditions include Parkinson's disease, arthritis, cancers such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and developmental brain damage in children. The Northumberland Hills Hospital catchment area is no exception according to a report released in 2009. These statistics prompted me to want to talk about glyphosate, a primary ingredient in the herbicide known as Roundup. Last year the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency declared that the world’s most widely used weed killer – glyphosate – is a “probable human carcinogen”. All of the resources that I have referred to are included on a page that I have provided for anyone who would like a copy.

I hope that through this council, we can do something to address these health issues and other environmental problems related to the use of glyphosate and other farming-related toxins in Hamilton Township. Glyphosate, in particular, not only affects human health, but also negatively impacts wildlife by showing up in their food supply and habitat. It gets into ditches and drains, streams and rivers, lakes and ponds, wetlands and groundwater. There are links to websites that deal with this information in more detail on the resource page as well.

As for the farmers’ perspective, I certainly can’t speak for them. I have done some research, however, and have included a couple of videos on my list of resources. These videos touch on some of the problems that farmers have experienced over the years.

Because it takes a long time before the negative effects of new technologies become apparent, whether they be agricultural or otherwise, I would like to propose that we be proactive in Hamilton Township and set up a committee to look at how to address this issue. There are other places in Canada and other countries that are doing so and there are several strategies that could be considered such as: 1. setting up buffer zones for schools, residential areas, parks and organic farms in Hamilton Township; 2. restricting the use of glyphosate in our water shed areas such as within the high aquifer vulnerability area outlined in Schedule D of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan; 3. passing a declaration recognizing the right to clean air and water, safe food and a stable climate. We would be joining at least 50 other municipalities in Ontario that support the improvement of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights; and 4. finding ways to support local farmers that want to make the transition to more environmentally respectful farming methods.
I hope there are enough people in this council and in Hamilton Township who share the same concerns and are willing to do some further investigation into these and other strategies that could benefit both our health and our environment.
Resources for Submission to CCHT

1. Families living near farming areas experience greatly increased rates of serious health disorders compared to people living over one mile away from agriculture. This is from an American report that reviewed over 25 major studies over the past 30 years.
http://www.chem-tox.com/agriculture/index.htm
2. For the “Northumberland Hills Hospital Environmental Scan” from 2009 go to

http://www.nhh.ca/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=FApAINpx9N8%3D&tabid=358
3. To find out more about when the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency declared the world’s most widely used weed killer – glyphosate – a “probable human carcinogen” go to
http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/03/21/who-declares-that-glyphosate-herbicides-probably-cause-cancer/#.V7e1DBJvAV4   
4. For effects of glyphosate on the environment go to
https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/impacts_glyphosate.pdf  and
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Widespread_Glyphosate_Contamination_in_US.php
5. For the history of genetically modified farming watch the videos
“Monsanto Documentary” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su0om5L4Bhg
”Farmers Speak Out” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDFA5qUzamg
“Monsanto vs. Farmers” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNvW-uGBTSk
6. For a variety of perspectives watch “Poisoned Fields - Glyphosate, the underrated risk?”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDyI10Z8aH0
7. For more on Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights go to
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/finding-solutions/2016