A PESTICIDE banned in North America is being sprayed over Hong Kong's newest golf course. The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club's two 18-hole courses on Kau Sai Chau in Sai Kung, have been sprayed with Diazinon, a pesticide which has been banned in Canada and the United States since the beginning of the decade after it killed hundreds of geese, duck and other birds. An environmental impact assessment study presented to the Government says: 'Chlorpyrifos, an insecticide, was applied to treat an outbreak of army worms from May 24, 1995, to the end of July. Diazinon was used to treat a smaller infestation of cut worm.' The assessment report listed Diazinon as one of the pesticides of choice to be used against certain insects. The pest infestation was traced to contaminated turf imported to the club. A golf course spokesman denied the chemical had been used, until the Post read the study to him. David Green, director of Axis Environmental Consultants - the firm which conducts the environmental monitoring and auditing - said: 'Had they had the foresight this problem could have been dealt with at source and the whole problem avoided. 'The chemical was approved by Agriculture and Fisheries. It is the pesticide of choice for this problem.' Dr Green said he believed the chemical was safe and presented no danger to the public. 'There are probably other chemicals which have become available and are more environmentally friendly and we may explore those options,' Dr Green said. Diazinon is on the Agriculture and Fisheries Department's approved pesticide list, but officials are considering a ban. 'Diazinon will be under our regular review and then we will decide a course of action,' department officer Chan Siu-lun said. Discovery Bay Golf Course manager Lee Sellars refuses to use Diazinon, believing it is too dangerous to use on his greens. 'We don't use it because we don't have to,' Mr Sellars said. 'There are other chemicals which are far less lethal and don't pollute the environment or run the risk of endangering people. 'I am from Florida which is a similar climate and I am familiar with sub-tropical conditions. Florida has one of the most stringent environmental standards in the United States. 'It is not hard at all to run a golf course and be environmentally friendly. If you think hard enough, have an aggressive plan and use correct practices it is no problem at all.' Billy Hau Chi-hang, who did his master's thesis on golf course management, believed the use of the chemical could not be justified. 'If this is sprayed in the morning and the course is opened in the afternoon, the golfers stand a chance of being exposed,' Mr Hau said. 'There is a proven record of this being toxic to wildlife.' A study at the University of Iowa found golf course supervisors appear to have higher than average death rates from cancer. Another study links soft tissue cancers in children to the use of pesticides, including Diazinon.