For many years, our daily personal care products like shampoos and skin creams, the pots and pans we use to cook our meals, and the mattresses we sleep on have exposed us to unacceptable levels of toxic chemicals. These toxics are linked to cancer, endocrine (hormone) disruption, or can even impair brain development in children. It is time for this to change.

Our ask is simple: that our toxics law should be amended to deal with today’s toxics exposures through household products, not just the industrial pollution that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) was written to deal with 18 years ago.

(Tell the federal government to improve toxics regulations!)

Coalition for Action on Toxics at CEPA event on Parliament HillAt a reception that Environmental Defence hosted on Parliament Hill last week in partnership with Ecojustice, Équiterre, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and Tides Canada, we shared our vision for a toxic-free future. Our message was clear and simple: we need stronger protections for people and the environment from toxics that have invaded every corner of our planet and that reside in our bodies.

As the federal  Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development completes its review of Canada’s main toxics law, CEPA, civil society groups from various sectors are coming together to signal to government that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix our chemicals regulations. Our laws need to be equipped to deal with today’s risks of toxic exposures and environmental pollution.

The health costs have been tremendous:  hormone-related cancers are on the rise among young people, allergy rates are rising, IQ levels in children are dropping on a yearly basis, more diabetes, ADHD, and the list goes on. The exact economic costs in Canada are unknown, but can be estimated at tens of billions every year. This is unacceptable and experts agree that this can only be fixed through meaningful reform of CEPA.

To help illustrate the urgency of the issue of toxic exposures and the golden opportunity we have to strengthen human health and environmental protections, we launched our new comic book Uncanny Toxics: Vanquishing an Invisible Enemy, featuring familiar villains and superheroes. (Check out the comic book here).

Meet the Toxic Trio: BPA, phthalates and triclosan

Falsely marketed as indispensible chemicals needed to make plastics shatterproof, as preservatives in fragrance, and to enable claims of “antibacterial” properties, the Toxic Trio are used in thousands of products and can be found in the bodies of the majority of Canadians, in the Great Lakes, in our waterways, and even in the arctic.

Banned or highly restricted in other countries like the U.S. and France, and already phased out by a number of companies from certain products in Canada, we now know that these toxics can be replaced with safer alternatives, or may even be completely unnecessary (e.g. triclosan in antibacterial soap).

Our children should not be needlessly exposed to chemicals that put their health at risk, and our waterways should not be polluted with chemicals that can wreak havoc in fish, birds, and other wildlife. This can be changed, and while our superheroes may not be wearing capes, they have the power to protect people and the environment.

Read the comic book here to uncover how our superheroes can defeat the Toxic Trio.

You have the power to stop them too! Sign our petition now to urge the Ministers of Health and Environment to banish the Toxic Trio and strengthen our toxic chemicals regulations.