NEWS: Government’s Regulations on Toxic Chemicals Fail Canadians

Government’s Final PBDE Regulations Miss the Mark

OTTAWA – The Federal Government’s recent final regulations on dangerous PBDE chemicals fall short of what’s needed to protect the health of Canadians, said NDP Environment Critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) and NDP Trade Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) and they are calling on the Government to revisit its finalised regulations and extend the ban to all PBDE compounds.

On July 9, the Government published its long-awaited regulations on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), toxic chemicals that are used as flame retardants in many consumer goods including electronics, upholstery and mattresses. The regulations ban the production of all PBDEs in Canada, but the new import ban still allows the most prevalent form, DecaPBDEs, free entrance to the Canadian consumer market.

“It’s not enough to ban the types of PBDEs that are already phased out and completely ignore the most dangerous and widely used forms,” said Cullen. “Canadians want regulations on toxic chemicals that are comprehensive – this raises serious doubt about this government’s chemical management plan”.

Peter Julian, the NDP’s Trade Critic has put forward a Private Members’ Motion calling on the government to ban toxic PBDEs in all their forms. So far 117 municipalities have signed on in support of the motion and it has the support of the International Association of Fire Fighters and the David Suzuki Foundation.

According to Julian, “These regulations make it seem that the Conservatives are taking action on toxic chemicals, when in reality their hole-filled regulations allow the flow of these chemicals to continue unhindered.”

PBDEs build up in the bodies of humans and animals over time, affecting brain, immune and reproductive systems. Exposure can come from both the manufacturing process and from contact with the hundreds of products that contain them. The David Suzuki Foundation has noted that housedust is the largest source of exposure.