Statement from Cassie Barker, Toxics Senior Program Manager, Environmental Defence
Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat – PFAS manufacturers must be held accountable for the widespread harm and contamination they have inflicted on people and the environment. They knew about the dangers, and now they need to know there’s a price to pay.
We strongly condemn the chemical industry for being aware of the toxicity of PFAS since the 1970s, but keeping this information from the public for decades. Chemical companies get away with this because they are allowed to operate behind a wall of confidentiality. We aren’t allowed to know what hazards live behind that wall and are unleashed into our products, bodies, and ecosystems. This needs to end.
The damage caused can never be properly compensated, but these companies can start by providing drinking water systems with the necessary technology and support to clean up their toxic mess.
Canada has been complicit in this harm with decades of weak toxics laws. We urge the government to protect everyone living in Canada from PFAS and other toxic and hazardous substances. The government must develop tough new laws that protect us from companies profiting from “forever chemicals.” It must demonstrate urgent and comprehensive regulatory action on PFAS to address these corporate harms.
- Researchers have stated that the “lack of transparency in industry-driven research on industrial chemicals has significant legal, political and public health consequences.” This research can be found here.
- PFAS impacts health by damaging our organs, such as the kidneys and liver, as well as our immune, reproductive, metabolism and hormonal systems.
- Long-range movement of PFAS contaminants are disproportionately impacting the health of Northern Indigenous communities.
- Canada has recently recognized that PFAS are toxic, and is currently outlining its plan for regulatory action on this class of chemicals – but this plan is limited to restricting PFAS in firefighting foam.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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