TORONTO, ON – Today’s federal decision to declare triclosan toxic, but not to match the U.S. ban, could make Canada a potential dumping ground and leave Canadians exposed to the endocrine-disrupting chemical.

Studies have shown that the antibacterial chemical triclosan may affect human thyroid function and is suspected of contributing to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (so-called “superbugs”). The chemical is toxic to the environment, especially to aquatic organisms, and was banned from hand and body soaps by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September.

The federal government plans to add triclosan to the list of toxic substances under Canadian law, but without matching U.S controls. In the draft decision, the government will require companies to make pollution prevention plans to reduce the amount of triclosan released into the water. Today’s short-sighted decision means products banned in the U.S. might soon line Canadian store shelves, and this ecotoxic chemical will continue to pollute waterways, including the international waters of the Great Lakes.

The Canadian Medical Association and Environmental Defence, along with numerous environment and health organizations have been calling for a ban on triclosan since 2009. Today’s decision will not protect Canadian consumers or the environment from this toxic pollutant. Canada must match the U.S. ban.

With this draft decision announcement, a 60 day public comment period begins. We will be sharing our concerns with the federal government.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.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, 416-323-9521, ext. 223, 647-468-3641 (cell); tehlich@environmentaldefence.ca