Canada misses chance to ban toxic plastics chemicals: environment watchdog

Phthalates are chemicals used to make plastics flexible and harder to break, or as solvents

The federal government missed a crucial opportunity to protect Canadians from harmful chemicals that could interfere with fertility and behaviour, an environmental organization says.

After a review, Environment and Climate Change Canada announced Friday that none of more than a dozen phthalates studied posed a risk to human health, and only one needs further study for possible risk to the environment.

Phthalates are chemicals used to make plastics flexible and harder to break, or as solvents, and are used in hundreds of commercial products including food containers, children’s toys, detergents and personal hygiene products like makeup and shampoo.

Muhannad Malas, who runs the toxics program for Environmental Defence, said the European Union has concluded at least four phthalates pose a risk to human health and it is mind boggling that Canada did not come to the same conclusion.

He said one of the key differences is that in Europe, the onus has been placed on manufacturers to prove their products are safe but in Canada a product has to be proved unsafe before the government will ban or limit its use.

He said Canada’s law needs to be modernized.

Last June, the House of Commons environment committee made dozens of recommendations to improve the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which governs the use of chemicals.

One of them was to mimic Europe’s rule about proving something is safe before use rather than having to prove something is unsafe in order to ban it.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna had until Friday to respond to that report and she said the government is considering the recommendations and will come up with a specific plan by June 2018.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Pedestrain struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Our Place celebrates Christmas in July

Afternoon barbecue serves up turkey burgers and Santa hats under the hot sun

Police respond after dog left in vehicle at the movies

West Shore RCMP determined the animal was not in distress

Affordable housing idea dead for Central Park, idea shifts to Royal Athletic Park lot

Underground parking with housing units above to be considered for existing lot

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read