Action Alert by Council Of Canadians

Here is the action alert from the Council of Canadians in support of our efforts. Click this link to send a letter to Minister Murray:

And here is the blog that Mark Calzavara posted about the action alert


This well supplying drinking water to Paris is beside the gravel pit.

Desperate appeal to Minister Murray is all that stands between contaminated gravel and the drinking water of thousands.

by Mark Calzavara – Council of Canadians’ Ontario-Quebec regional organizer.

People in Paris, Ontario are anxiously waiting for a decision from Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray – their last hope to protect their drinking water from being contaminated by the activities of a new gravel pit situated between two of the town’s Wellhead Protection Areas. We have been supporting the Concerned Citizens of Brant ( in their five year long struggle and we are asking everyone to sign on to a letter encouraging Minister Murray to make the right decision.

Although the gravel pit was approved more than 40 years ago, Dufferin Aggregates didn’t start to develop it until 2012. Unbelievably, the Ontario government allowed development to proceed and even approved a gravel washing facility on the site despite serious concerns from groundwater experts that the washing process could concentrate and release poisonous herbicides such as Atrazine and glyphosate that have been applied on the land for decades.

Atrazine is ranked highest of 83 pesticides in the Agriculture Canada priority scheme for potential groundwater pollution.

“Atrazine demasculinizes male gonads producing testicular lesions associated with reduced germ cell numbers in teleost fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, and induces partial and/or complete feminization in fish, amphibians, and reptiles. These effects are strong (statistically significant), consistent across vertebrate classes, and specific.”- Demasculinization and feminization of male gonads by atrazine: Consistent effects across vertebrate classes-Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 127 (2011) 64–73

Atrazine is an endocrine disruptor and has been rated as a Category 1 substance of high exposure concern by the European Union which banned its use in 2004. It is now under federal government review because of mounting evidence that it is harmful at levels much lower than previously suspected.

When Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) officials approved Dufferin’s application, the CCOB appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal, asking for additional conditions to be put on the MOECC approvals for the pit. Expert witnesses such as Dr. Ken Howard (one of the key scientists involved in the Walkerton Inquiry) testified to the risk of contamination posed by the pit’s operations and exposed serious flaws in the studies paid for by Dufferin which the MOECC based their approvals upon.

“Despite being requested to do so, the proponents have not made any serious effort to determine the presence and distribution of atrazine at the site. Their investigation program – design, implementation and number of samples collected is entirely inadequate.” Ken Howard

In the end, the Environmental Review Tribunal ruling did not grant the conditions that the CCOB were seeking to protect their drinking water.

The appeal to Minister Murray is the last chance to get those prudent and responsible conditions in place to ensure the safe operation of a facility that should never have been allowed in such a sensitive location. Please take a moment to sign and share this letter of support now.

paris pit june2017

The Dufferin pit has opened but the gravel washing operations have not begun.



bottle feeding_babyAtrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in Canada, and is applied to kill both broadleaf and grassy weeds. The greatest use of atrazine is in the production of corn.

In 1991, Italy and Germany banned the use of atrazine. The European Union (EU) followed suit and banned the use of atrazine in 2003 on the basis that it was virtually impossible to keep water contamination below its regulatory limit of 0.1 ppb (0.1 part per billion or 0.1 µg/L – micrograms per Litre) due to its widespread use and health concerns. In 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced it was seeking public comments on a potential ban on atrazine.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) initiated a special review of atrazine in 2013 and issued a report in 2015 for public comment. On March 31, 2017, the PMRA announced it was initiating a second special review of atrazine as it had become aware of additional information relating to the toxicology of atrazine and its impacts including potential human health (drinking water) and environmental risk. After completion of this evaluation, a report will be issued for public consultation.

Health Canada’s “Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document – Atrazine” first published in September 1993 was reissued in January 11, 2011. The guideline is 5 micrograms per litre, fifty times higher than the EU standard. The Canadian guideline was based on scientific data dated from 1964 to 1993. Significant scientific advances have occurred in the fourteen years that has elapsed and the guideline has not undergone re-review and updated.

Atrazine has the ability to disrupt the endocrine system, and has been linked to abnormal sexual maturation and weakened immune functions. It has also been linked to a variety of adverse effects including breast and prostate cancer, reproductive defects including reduced sperm quality. Epidemiological studies suggest that it is carcinogenic to humans.

Importantly, atrazine has non-monotonic effects i.e. it does not exhibit a traditional dose-response that produces increasing effects with increasing doses of exposure. Rather, the effects are more severe at lower doses than at higher doses. The Health Canada guideline was developed without considering the non-monotonic effects of atrazine.

An aspect of atrazine exposure that has received less attention than through drinking water, relates to atmospheric transport of atrazine through volatilization or attached to fine soil particles or dust that are dispersed by wind and air currents. These could be re-deposited on land surfaces, streams and lakes by dry deposition, rainfall or snow. They could be transported for significant distances, and were detected >180 miles from the nearest application site. Potential human exposure occurs through inhalation.

Referring to the atrazine guideline of 5 micrograms per litre for drinking water quality, the Health Canada guideline states, “It is therefore considered to provide adequate protection for the bottlefed infant.” This conclusion was based on the results of a rat reproduction study that used body weight as an endpoint.

In view of studies that showed abnormal sexual development and non-monotonic effects of atrazine, the approach used cannot be considered precautionary.

Should pregnant women and babies be drinking atrazine-contaminated water?

The answer is, “No.”

Poh-Gek Forkert, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Queen’s University
May 1, 2017

PDF can be downloaded at this link: DrForkert Atrazine SummaryHealthRisks PrecautionaryMeasures2017


For Immediate Release

Paris, Ontario May 18, 2017 — The Concerned Citizens of Brant (“CCOB”) have filed an appeal with Environment Minister Glen Murray seeking to overturn the Environmental Review Tribunal’s decision to allow Dufferin Aggregates to establish sewage works for an aggregate washing operation. In its appeal, CCOB argues that the Tribunal failed to consider the toxicological aspects of atrazine and its potential to cause adverse health effects. CCOB is seeking an order from the Minister revoking the Tribunal’s decision with respect to certain conditions and substituting CCOBs’ proposed revised conditions.

“Many members of the community continue to be concerned about the proposed aggregate washing operation given that it will be taking place on lands which were sprayed with the herbicide atrazine for approximately 40 years” said Jeff Broomfield, CCOB’s co-chair, “We strongly believe more rigorous conditions should have been imposed.”

Mary Parker, a member of CCOB, added “We are concerned that the decision fails to include measures which are necessary to protect our drinking water supply, given that the aggregate operations will take place adjacent to a well head protection area, which has also been identified as an area of high vulnerability. We hope Minister Murray will reconsider the matter and revise the Tribunal’s decision and strengthen the measures which we believe are necessary to protect our health and the environment.”

For more information, please contact :

Jeff Broomfield – 519-754-6229


Please join us Wednesday, June 14 for a very special event in Paris featuring Council of Canadians Chairperson Maude Barlow and other guest speakers. This event is presented by the Concerned Citizens of Brant and the Council of Canadians.

When: Wednesday, June 14 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Where: St. Paul’s United Church, 48 Broadway W., Paris (Map)

Featured speakers:

• Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians
• Graham Flint, P.Eng., President, Gravel Watch Ontario
• Paul General, Manager of Six Nations Eco-Centre and Wild­life Officer, Member of Seneca Nation, Six Nations of Grand River
• Dr. Sheri Longboat, Assistant Professor, University of Guelph, Haudenosaunee Mohawk, Six Nations of Grand River
• Ron Norris, Co-Chair, Concerned Citizens of Brant
• Dr. Gerald Tetreault, Aquatic Toxicologist, Research Associate, University of Waterloo

Admission by donation and open to all – please bring a friend!

For more information, please email the Concerned Citizens of Brant –

We hope to see you there!


P.S. Please share this email & poster.

Atrazine – Pesticide banned in Europe found in Toronto’s tap water

Atrazine has been one of our bigger concerns and NOW magazine has reported that Atrazine has been detected in the drinking water for both Montreal & Toronto.

The company that manufactures Atrazine says that it disappears, a defence relied upon by the MOECC & Dufferin & accepted by the tribunal. So if Atrazine disappears then how did it get in Toronto’s drinking water?


Pesticide banned in Europe found in Toronto’s tap water

Research around atrazine has found endocrine-disrupting properties connected to hermaphrodite frogs, feminized fish and low sperm counts in humans living in agricultural areas

BY   MARCH 19, 2017

Toronto may be an hour from the nearest farm, but environmental groups say unsafe levels of a top-selling herbicide used on cornfields for the last 50-odd years are turning up in our tap water.

Tests commissioned by Environmental Defence and Équiterre have found atrazine in both Toronto and Montreal’s drinking water at levels that would flunk European safety standards.

“It’s quite alarming,” says Environmental Defence’s toxics manager, Muhannad Malas. “Torontonians are probably exposed to atrazine on a daily basis.”

Research around atrazine, manufactured by agrochemical giant Syngenta, has found endocrine-disrupting properties connected to hermaphrodite frogs and feminized fish, as well as low sperm counts and reproductive problems in humans living in agricultural areas. The EU banned atrazine in 2003 because of widespread pollution of groundwater from farm runoff.

A 2013 lawsuit filed by Ecojustice, the David Suzuki Foundation and Équiterre triggered a review by Health Canada of 23 ingredients found in 383 pesticide products banned in other countries, including atrazine.

As part of its assessment, Health Canada tapped groundwater monitoring data and found the chemical in 20 per cent of 14,455 groundwater samples from Canada and the U.S., but its research says levels detected “did not exceed the Canadian drinking water guidelines for atrazine (5 micrograms/litre).”

Toronto Public Health spokesperson Christine Navarro tells NOW that “the levels of atrazine in drinking water are well below the maximum acceptable concentration for drinking water.” And that “the level of exposure in drinking water is very low.”

Navarro notes that 99 per cent of the 2,500 Canadians aged three to 79 tested in a Canadian Health Measures Survey “had levels of atrazine metabolites that were below laboratory detection levels, indicating no or very low exposure to the general population.”

The thing is, the EU’s threshold for safe levels of atrazine in drinking water is 50 times lower than Canadian drinking water guidelines allow.

Maryse Bouchard, associate professor at Université de Montréal’s School of Public Health, says, “Even at concentrations close to the European standard, several effects of atrazine on amphibians and animals have been demonstrated, including impacts on reproduction and development.”

Bouchard says some studies “also suggest harmful effects on human reproduction and development at concentrations in water similar to those analyzed in the Montreal and Toronto tap water samples.”

Environmental groups say Health Canada’s reassessment was far too narrow, limited to groundwater and failed to consider surface water sources like Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, from which Toronto and Montreal, respectively, get their drinking water.

Considering what researchers have already found with endocrine disruptors like atrazine, Malas says that even exposure at very low levels can be harmful. “There’s no safe level of exposure. The only solution is to ban atrazine so it doesn’t contaminate our water in the first place.”

You can find the article on Now’s website here:

You’ll want in on this deal

Howdy folks!

CCOB is holding an Earth Day fundraiser that’s really easy to participate in. All you need to do is buy pizza & half of what you spend goes to CCOB.

The awesome people at Dominos have put together this unbeatable deal for Saturday April 22…

2 medium pizzas with toppings & cheesy bread for just $20 – & $10 goes to CCOB
2 large pizzas with toppings & cheesy bread for just $30 – with $15 going to CCOB

We will also be having family fun activities in the parking lot from 12 – 6PM

Please spread the word. A flyer is included for your convenience.
Thanks for your continued support!!


CCOB earth day pizza fundraiser 22apr2017 (2)

Tribunal Update

Hello CCOB supporters.

The oral presentations of the hearing are completed and we now wait for the tribunal judge to make a decision. The trial judge did not indicate how long this may take, it could take months.

Below please see a summary of the closing statements:

  • CELA, CCOB’s legal team, reinforced the strong evidence that there remained significant risks to our water and the health and safety of our community; risks that had not been adequately assessed or addressed by the industry thus far;
  • Joe Castrilli, lead counsel from CELA, stated in his Closing Statements: “It’s “2017!! Knowledge and legislation has changed over the last 43 years since this license was granted. Should new evidence we have now not ensure the health and safety of our Paris community?
  • Strong testimonies and evidence presented by our Expert Witnesses reinforced the need for precautionary measures and for a more rigorous new science risk assessment done by an independent, objective group with community oversight.
  • It was disclosed near the end of the hearing that Atrazine had in fact been detected in the water of the test wells (as opposed to the claim that no Atrazine had been detected on site) as out legal team stated this is one of the pillars that the industry based their case. This is hugely important!
  • Testimony from Expert Witnesses from the industry were found to have biases given their affiliation and previous funding through agrochemical industry sources??
  •  Finally, our legal team, CELA, highlighted other legal decisions that were made and should be considered in our case.

It was clear to anyone sitting in the room at any time during the hearing that the industry and the Ministry did not test the soil or water with the detection limits needed given the risks and current technology available to test at lower levels. Prior to this hearing, these types of permits have been a slam dunk for the industry. We were granted this appeal due to the strength of our evidence that has grown over the 5 years since we started and supported by the expert witnesses testifying on our behalf.

History has shown it is not easy to change legislation when it concerns a highly profitable product, this has been the case for DDT, PCBs and cigarettes. This is now the case for Atrazine. This explains the differing opinions within the scientific community upon which most of the bias is due to funding from the industry. 

Your support has shown that as a community we can make a difference.  The Chair of the ERT, Ms. Heather Gibbs, thanked CCOB for having brought this complex case forward which was well referenced.

The lawyer for the MOECC also thanked CCOB and their legal team for their respectful presence and presentations during the Hearing.

The strength of our case was felt and heard. Without you, we would not have made it this far.

Our fundraising efforts have to now continue.

We ask all of you to continue to reach out to your friends, family and others in our community to help us raise the remaining $40,000. (funds to pay for our expert representation)

We look forward to your continued support and presence as we wait for the decisions. 



If you would like to contribute or have friends/neighbours who would like to support us, cheques can be made payable to CCOB & dropped off at Advance Printing, 2 Scott Ave. or dropped in the mailbox at 8 Columbine Cresent or mailed to CCOB, 738 Watts Pond Rd., Paris N3L 3E2. Contributions can also be made on Gofundme

Dominos Pizza Paris is holding a dough-raiser on Tuesday, January 17 at 11 AM – 11 PM to support the work of the Concerned Citizens of Brant to protect our water. $5 from every order will go to support our legal costs at the ongoing environmental tribunal hearings.

For $20 (plus tax $22.60), you get two medium pizzas with two toppings each, plus a cheesy bread. To order: 519-442-4400
Don’t forget to mention it is for the dough-raiser :) If online ordering, use coupon code “DOUGH”

100% of funds raised go towards the costs of our experts

CCOB In The News

Howdy folks!!

It’s been a busy time for CCOB these last few weeks. The hearing opened this week and will resume January 9th with public sessions in the evening Wed & Thurs Jan 11th & 12th.

You can read all about the hearings in the Expositor:

The fundraising is going awesome and we are currently at $80,675 on

A huge thanks to everyone who has contributed. You are awesome!!

CCOB 2017 calendars are now available. You can pick them up at Advance Printing or they will be delivered to Green Heron Books Thursday & we will be selling them at Wincey Mills. details to come.

Thanks for all your support!!