Everyday items like shampoo, televisions, and couches can contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to human health and other living things. Over the past year we have pushed government and industry to get rid of toxic chemicals, and encouraged Canadians to make safer choices at the till.
We joined with a dozen organizations from the health-care sector to collaborate on improving the environmental practices of our health-care system. As a result, the groups, including the influential Canadian Medical Association, made a formal commitment to go green at hospitals and clinics throughout the country.
Toxic chemicals found in bath and body products
Personal care products contain thousands of industrial chemicals, which spurs our work towards stronger federal regulations. In spring, we launched a national survey to collect data on how prevalent these ingredients are. We asked participants to read the ingredient lists on products they use, like soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics, and look for a "dirty dozen" harmful ingredients. More than 6,000 people participated, and the results will inform our ongoing efforts to strengthen Canada's laws to protect us and the environment.
Harmful flame retardant banned
This year we saw strong progress on our efforts to ban polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs), a toxic chemical that builds up in the food chain. This commonly used flame retardant is linked to cancer and affects the immune, reproductive, and hormonal systems. After we filed a formal complaint regarding the government's weak original regulations, the government revised its strategy to match stringent European rules. We welcomed the federal government's long-awaited decision to ban all forms of PBDE.
Doctors share the link between the environment and health
This year the Foundation launched Docs Talk in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. This monthly online series, available in French and English, is written by health professionals and researchers who share their point of view on current issues where environmental and human health concerns intersect. This year, Docs Talk explored topics such as climate change, air quality, chemical contaminants, and biodiversity.