Ottawa – Environmental Defence congratulated  Members of Parliament from all parties for unanimously passing the Phthalate Control Act, a private member’s bill put forward by NDP MP Nathan Cullen that passed Third Reading last night. It is rare for private member’s bills to pass.
“We’re playing catch-up on these chemicals that Europe has already banned from teethers and rubber duckies.  This bill is a very significant step in the right direction.  Parents shouldn’t have to have degrees in chemistry in order to shop for their kids,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence.

The Phthalate Control Act bans three “phthalates”, which are used as plastic softeners, from being used in cosmetics, medical devices and children’s products.  The three chemicals — DEHP, DBP and BBP — have been named developmental toxins by the U.S. National Toxicology Program.  Both the European Union and the State of California have banned them from toys and child care articles. The chemicals are known to leach out of the plastic, particularly when children put plastic objects in their mouths. 

A Health Canada expert advisory panel was particularly concerned with DEHP’s toxic effects on infant boys, and recommended in 2002 that they be protected from DEHP exposure in hospitals.

“Health Canada’s own expert panel called for action on DEHP in medical devices five years ago.  It has taken this private member’s bill to get action,” said Dr. Kapil Khatter, Environmental Defence’s Pollution Policy Advisor.
 
The Phthalate Control Act will still need to pass the Senate before becoming law.
 
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and thriving ecosystems. Nationwide.
 
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)