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

‘Tis the Season … for holiday stories!

What’s your favourite holiday memory? Do you have any unique traditions? Tell us about them!

Call it Buzz Saws and Bagpipes, or the Art of the Birl and the Skirl

Proposal: Add a Highland games to Campbell River’s Logger Sports weekend

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Myra Falls re-opening gets a timeline

Mine suspended operations in 2015 but is set to start removing ore again early next year

Walter Morgan Shed to finally get its renovation

City sees heritage value in the property and will fund renewal project to the tune of $200,000

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Most Read