TORONTO – The federal government has released the Third Report on Human Biomonitoringof Environmental Chemicals in Canada, part of the the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). The results, based on samples taken from 5,800 Canadians aged 3-79, show an increase in the level of the harmful chemical triclosan in Canadians’ bodies. At the same time, levels of lead and BPA, after federal regulatory action, are decreasing.
“It is troubling to see an increase in the presence of triclosan, an antibacterial chemical linked to hormone disruption and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Maggie MacDonald, Toxics Program Manager, Environmental Defence. “The federal government declared triclosan toxic to the environment in 2012 but has failed to take any action to limit Canadians’ exposure – we need a ban now.”
MacDonald added: “The trend is moving in the wrong direction. In light of the toxicity of triclosan, the results indicate that more needs to be done to protect Canadians from further exposure to this contaminant – levels should be going down, not up.”
The survey also showed a slight downward trend for BPA and lead presence in the Canadian population. BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical that can impact the body’s hormones and has been linked to breast cancer and risk factors for diabetes. Lead can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure and severe mental and physical development issues in children.
“There’s good news: levels of BPA in urine are decreasing slightly, so eliminating this chemical from products is making a difference,” MacDonald pointed out. “The same is the case for lead, demonstrating that bans and restrictions are an effective way to reduce exposure. But no amount of lead exposure is known to be safe, and studies have shown that even low levels of BPA might be having an impact, so we must continue to reduce the presence of these toxic chemicals in consumer goods.”
The Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) is a national survey that is led by Statistics Canada, in partnership with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, which collects information from Canadians about their general health. Wednesday’s release is the Third Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada, part of the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). The results, based on samples taken from 5,800 Canadians aged 3-79 collected January 2012 – December 2013 at 16 sites across Canada, represent Canadians’ toxic body burden for 104 chemicals of concern, 50 of which are detailed in yesterday’s release, including Bisphenol A (BPA), lead and triclosan.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Tim Ehlich, Environmental Defence, 647-468-3641; tehlich@environmentaldefence.ca