Chemicals found in household products, toys, electronics and food packaging can have serious health effects.
Canadians are exposed to chemicals from many sources, and the cumulative impact of these exposures is especially hazardous to vulnerable populations.
Exposures to hazardous chemicals, even in small amounts, are linked to reproductive, behavioural, metabolic impacts and chronic diseases such as cancer, asthma, and diabetes. Toxic exposures are also linked to learning disabilities such as low IQ, autism spectrum, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA, 1999) is the legislation that oversees chemical regulations, but it fails to adequately protect our health and the environment from hazardous chemical exposures. Science has evolved over the two decades since CEPA was last updated, and we now know more about the cumulative effects of even small doses of toxic chemicals.
The Government of Canada uses a definition of “toxic” under CEPA, which requires a substance to be a significant hazard to human health or the environment and have high enough levels of exposure among the general population to justify its risk management such as restriction or prohibition.
This leads to gaps where many chemicals are not deemed “toxic” under the narrow CEPA definition, despite posing long-term detrimental effects on our health, reproduction, and well-being.