Subject: Amend toxins law for healthy, smart choices with modern science

Modernizing Canada's Main Pollution Law
Dozens of Canadian Civil Society Organizations Support Amendments To:
Protect the Young and Vulnerable
Cut Out Endocrine Disruptors
Fight Climate Change
Enforce Clean Air and Empower Citizens
Using systematic, pragmatic science and substitution

October 17th, 2018

Ottawa - Prevent Cancer Now joined more than 30 civil society organizations from across Canada to support amendments to Canada's law regulating most toxic substances. Legislative text drafted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association was presented to the federal Ministers of Environment and Health on October 15th.

The proposed amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA) will better protect human health and the environment from toxic substances. CEPA has not been updated in two decades, and it is urgent to introduce the amendments during the Fall 2018 session of Parliament.

“Hormone-related cancers and chronic diseases are increasing, especially in younger Canadians. These CEPA amendments would enable modern systematic science, to address endocrine disrupting and other toxic substances, and to shift toward healthiest options across the board”, said Dr. Meg Sears, Chair of Prevent Cancer Now.

The amendments address five areas of concern: (1) control over endocrine disrupting substances; (2) protection of vulnerable populations from toxic substances; (3) substitution of safer alternatives to toxic substances; (4) establishment of enforceable national ambient air quality standards; and (5) civil enforcement of CEPA by the public in the courts.

Particularly timely is the requirement for substantially improved substitutes. Carbon dioxide is listed as "toxic" under CEPA, and the International Panel on Climate Change has signalled that rapid, dramatic reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are necessary to blunt catastrophic climate change. Addressing climate change urgently requires a great number of wise decisions on how to do things differently. The proposed CEPA amendments include legislative tools for broad scientific considerations, to make the healthiest possible choices.

Without diminishing the enormous risks to global survival posed by climate change, causes of cancer include wildfire smoke, mould in flooded buildings, toxicants mobilized during extreme weather, malnutrition, sun exposure and other stressors.

For further information, please contact:
Meg Sears PhD
613 297-6042
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2016 - 2017 Parliamentary standing committee held hearings and recommended strengthening CEPA
June 2018 - Government response indicating that Canadians can't expect CEPA amendments before 2020
October 2018 - Report by the Auditor General's office on inadequate enforcement under CEPA
October 2018 - Petition tabled in Parliament signed by over 11,000 Canadians urging modernization of CEPA
October 2018 - Canadian civil society organizations and experts advance legal text for CEPA amendments
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