Web Note: This story takes place in Canada. Obviously pesticides affect Americans in exactly the same ways…

She told them about the woman who developed a rash so severe she was hospitalized. She told them about kids with such horrific case of diarrhea they lost control of their sphincter muscles.

She told them about leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and men suffering from erectile dysfunction.

She told them it was all linked to pesticide use, while they just sat there and listened.

She is June Irwin, a free-spirited dermatologist with a farm in Hudson, Que., a community of 5,000 people west of Montreal.

In the mid-1980s, Dr. Irwin grew concerned about the number of her patients with traces of lawn-care chemicals in their blood, so she showed up at town council meetings to bombard her elected representatives with medical reports.

“But we can’t ban pesticides,” the mayor would say when she was finally through.

Two decades later, environmentalists across the country hail Hudson as an example of local democracy prevailing over federal regulations and big industry.

Dr. Irwin’s cautionary tales eventually gained weight with the local citizenry, a new mayor came in and after a stormy council session Hudson passed a bylaw in 1991 forbidding residents from using pesticides on their lawns for cosmetic purposes.

Two lawn-care companies fought the bylaw all the way to the Supreme Court, which, in 2001, upheld Hudson’s right to enforce the ban, paving the way for other municipalities to follow suit.

For more: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070723.PESTICIDES23/TPStory/Environment