Canadian Chemical Crackdown Coming

The political question of the day is "who is the greenest of them all?" as the ruling Conservative party introduces sweeping new controls on harmful chemicals, outgreening new Liberal Leader Stephane Dion and leaving the NDP, traditional home of treehuggers, wondering what green bandwagon ran over them, with a resurgent Green Party also in the mix. The new strategy "will make Canada a world leader in the testing and regulation of chemicals that are used in thousands of industrial and consumer products,"[Prime Minister] Mr. Harper said at a news conference yesterday. TreeHugger has written about some of these chemicals before:(From Martin Mittelstaedt of the Globe and Mail)

Bisphenol A This is one of the most widely used compounds in Canada, found in a large number of plastics products. It is the primary chemical in polycarbonate, used to make office-cooler water jugs, dental sealants, baby bottles and the resin lining inside most tin cans. Research has linked it to cancers and declining sperm counts. (read Warren here)

Perfluorinated carboxylic acids: These are chemicals used to make non-stick and water- and stain-repellant products ranging from kitchen pans to clothing. The government wants exposures reduced because experiments have shown the chemicals undermine immune systems and skew development.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate: This is a non-stick chemical the government worries could be reaching harmful levels in wildlife. Although North American manufacturing stopped in 2000, there are still worries it may be imported in consumer goods. (Read Justin here)

Phthalates: These are widely used to make plastics softer and more pliable, often with polyvinyl chloride. Although they were once used in baby products, such as rubber duckies, the government says it has worked with companies to end these type of uses. However, it is still used in vinyl flooring, some blood bags, lubricating oils and perfumes. Research on laboratory animals has linked phthalates to changes to the liver and kidneys, and birth defects. They are also suspected hormone disrupters. (if you are over 18, read Kyeann here otherwise, read here)

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers: A family of related chemical compounds used as flame retardants in mattresses, computers and other consumer products. Research indicates they are a thyroid disruptor in animal tests. The government is proposing new regulations for the types of PBDEs of greatest concern. (Justin again, here)
::Globe and Mail

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