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July 14, 2011
For immediate release

Lawn care professionals asked to stop using Oracle

Environment, Energy & Forestry

Licensed lawn-care professionals in Prince Edward Island have been asked to voluntarily stop using the herbicide Oracle(dicamba) in residential areas, says Minister of Environment, Energy and Forestry Richard Brown.

“To ensure the highest level of public safety for Islanders and to protect the urban environment, we have requested that Oracle no longer be used by commercial applicators in residential areas,” said Minister Brown. “Restricting the use of this product will clear up the confusion that exists with the public and lawn-care professionals about the safety of the product.”

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is responsible for evaluating and registering all pesticides sold for use in Canada. In 2008, PMRA re-evaluated dicamba, the active ingredient in Oracle, and concluded that it “continues to be acceptable for lawn, turf, agricultural, and industrial uses.”

However, in June 2010, the manufacturer of Oracle changed the label adding a precautionary statement advising that the product was not to be used in residential areas or sites where people “may be present during or after spraying, including homes, schools, parks, playgrounds, playing fields and public buildings.”

When a label is changed on a product, PMRA allows retailers a transition period to sell the older product if there is no perceived risk to human health or the natural environment. As a result of this practice, two versions of Oracle are now available to commercial applicators, one labeled with a precautionary statement restricting use and an older product with no restrictions. The transition period ends December 31, 2011.

“This situation has caused confusion and anxiety with the public,” said Minister Brown. “If a product is labeled not for use in residential areas, it should be taken off the market immediately to protect public health and the environment. I would like to thank the commercial applicators for their co-operation on this matter.”

Government will move forward with an amendment to the Pesticides Control Act to officially restrict the use of Oracle in any residential area.

Media Contact: Kim Devine
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