MP Laurel Collins’s motion seeks to get PFAS out of firefighter gear and other consumer products

Ottawa | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People – Today, environmentalists, firefighters, and northern Indigenous health experts are supporting the House Private Member’s motion for fast-tracked and comprehensive federal action on toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, or “forever chemicals.” Cassie Barker, Senior Program Manager for Toxics at Environmental Defence, was on Parliament Hill yesterday when the motion was introduced and is available to discuss this new motion in depth.


Cassie Barker, Senior Program Manager, Toxics, Environmental Defence:

“This motion is an encouraging step towards long-delayed PFAS action in Canada. More than 98 per cent of us already have PFAS in our blood—substances with known ties to thyroid disease, asthma and an array of cancers. But PFAS lobbyists show callous disregard for our health by continuing to stand in the way of necessary regulations. The longer we wait to phase out PFAS, the larger this toxic legacy becomes.”

Neil McMillan, Firefighter and Director of Science & Research, International Association of Fire Fighters:

“This motion is a strong signal to our firefighters that their health and safety is a priority, and that Cancer Awareness Month is a great time to fast-track action on PFAS. Our gear and firefighting foams are full of PFAS, and we are highly exposed to these toxic “forever chemicals”. We need the entire class of PFAS listed, and we need to ban it in all but its most vital uses. Firefighters cannot continue to suffer from these highly toxic exposures, and Canada needs to prioritize us over the interests of chemical industry lobbyists.”

Sean O’Shea, Government Relations and Campaign Specialist, Ecojustice:

“This motion is an opportunity to create a safer, healthier environment for all. Canada must ensure all PFAS are included in the class and comprehensively regulated—without it, Canada will continue to be a dumping ground for unregulated chemicals, and our communities, workers and healthcare system will pay the price.”

Lucy Grey, Public Health Inuit Research Advisor:

“Accessing safe and uncontaminated country food is a matter of Inuit rights. We are disproportionately impacted by PFAS by consuming country food, which is central to our culture and nutrition. Wildlife health is directly connected to Inuit health and well-being. The government must take every precautionary measure to protect the exceptional quality of country food and protect us from the harms of PFAS.”

Quincy Emmons, Firefighter:

“More firefighters die from PFAS exposure than they do from fighting actual fires. Enough is enough. Firefighters choose to risk their lives every day to protect our communities. Regulating PFAS is the number one way Canada can return the favour.”


  • This news follows last week’s announcement from the United States Environmental Protection Agency which has set strict standards for some PFAS in drinking water

  • PFAS are used in various industries and have been found in over 200 product types such as cookware, textiles, cosmetics, firefighting gear and foam, and intimate personal care products, like menstrual products and diapers.

  • PFAS have been linked to a range of adverse health outcomes, including asthma, low/high infant birth weight, early menopause, immune suppression, thyroid disease, adult cancers (including testicular and kidney) and childhood leukemia, high cholesterol, prediabetes and fatty liver.

  • Polling shows that 4 out of 5 people living in Canada want action on PFAS and are concerned about the health and environmental impacts of this toxic class of chemicals.

  • Firefighters, scientists and environmentalists have been pushing the federal government to go beyond industry resistance and list the entire class of PFAS as toxic under Canada’s Environmental Protection Act, and strengthen proposed regulations to ban PFAS in products.

Read the House of Commons motion here.

Read our backgrounder and polling for more information.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( 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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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Lauren Thomas, Environmental Defence,