At a recent Leduc County meeting Councilor Rick Smith brought up a concern about the use of Chlorpyrifos in the mosquito control agreement with the City of Edmonton. This agreement has been in affect for many years and has worked well for the county with little or no complaints by residents.
Dow Chemical introduced Chlorpyrifos in 1965 and it goes by several names including Dursban and Lorsban. As more research was done regarding the affects of the chemical on the environment more and more communities began to ban the use of the chemical. In fact today Edmonton remains as the only major Canadian city still using the chemical.
Chlorpyrifos is moderately toxic to humans, and exposure has been linked to neurological effects, persistent developmental disorders, and autoimmune disorders. Exposure during pregnancy appears to delay the mental development of children. In 2001 the United States banned the use of it in homes. For some time Edmonton has restricted its use to the less populated areas and the river valley indicating they will totally stop using Chlorpyrifos when the supply is exhausted.
However research has shown that acute exposure to Chlorpyrifos is toxic to bees and could be contributing to the unusual behaviours noted recently in bees such as less walking, more grooming, particularly of the head, more difficulty righting themselves, and unusual abdominal spasms.
In freshwater aquatic animals appear to absorb chlorpyrifos directly from water rather than ingesting it with their diet or through contact with sediment. Studies have shown when concentrated chlorpyrifos is released into various rivers it kills insects, shrimp, and/or fish.
The continued use of Chlorpyrifos on rural areas and the river valley until supplies are exhausted may be frugal and economically sound but is questionable when it comes to the safety and livelihood of citizens living in the communities surrounding Edmonton.
Councilor Smith was right to question the use of Chlorpyrifos and request the County to send a letter to the City of Edmonton requesting the elimination of Chlorpyrifos beginning in 2016 regardless of the supply level.