Demand the Minister of Environment take a Safety First approach

Wednesday October 13, 2010

A HUGE, HUGE thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s social media campaign on twitter and Facebook!

We had great success in reaching out to our online communities and shedding light on the #pinkwashing that Avon is guilty of! The conversations on #pinkwashing were heated and feisty as many people are starting to call on corporations for greater ethical responsibility! Great work! For those who sent emails to Avon Canada’s president Christ Stevens, we thank and applaud you as well. We couldn’t do it without you!
 
This week, in a continuing effort to provide ‘Alternatives to Pink’, join with Breast Cancer Action Montreal to demand our government take a safety first approach by applying the Precautionary Principal to the management of environmental toxins linked to Breast cancer.
 
Tell our officials that you are concerned about your family's health in the face of hazardous chemicals present in our home and body care products. Ask them to consider vulnerable populations like children, blue-collar workers, pregnant women and indigenous populations. DEMAND, that known, suspected or potential carcinogens be designated “toxic” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, CEPA 1999. Steps must also be taken to ban the use and importation of toxic substances, in all forms, including products containing carcinogens. The same policy holds for substances that are known or suspected genotoxins, mutagens, reproductive and developmental toxins.
 
JOIN US in this important action aimed at improving the quality of life for our families and communities. Write to the Minster of the Environment between October 13th and October 15th. We have provided a letter below but feel free to create your own or adjust it to incorporate your own concerns. You can also reach Environment Canada on twitter - @environmentca -or the minister of Enviornment @JimPrentice - and tell him what you think! (Don't forget: petition @Jim Prentice and @environmentca to protect Canadians from chemicals linked to #breastcancer - we need #safetyfirst!. http://act.ly/2hv ) Your voice is valuable – NO, it is invaluable! Demand to be heard!

 

We're currently experiencing formatting issues with our email campaigns, so if you would wish to send a 'prettier" email, copy and paste this email text and send it from your own email to Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca . To let us know that you have sent it, feel free to cc info@bcam.qc.ca

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Subject : We need a safety first approach to protect Canadians from toxic chemicals!
Message : Dear the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, I am writing to you today because I am concerned about the screening assessments that are currently being used for chemicals. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year I am joining with Breast Cancer Action Montreal to take a stand regarding a lack of awareness about primary prevention and the environmental and chemical connections to breast cancer. Over the past few years, I have heard a lot about product recalls. I have also heard a lot about the different hazardous chemicals present in the products I use in my home and for my family. The problem is that, until recently, the Government had not assessed the 4,300 “existing chemicals” which were on the market before 1994. I think that screening assessments of those chemicals is a step in the right direction. However, I have a number of concerns. The current screening assessments do not adequately consider vulnerable populations like children, blue-collar workers, pregnant women and indigenous populations. Relevant hazard information from epidemiological studies for vulnerable populations should be taken into account. Children, workers and First Nations people continue to be exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals and, in this way, they are being used as guinea pigs. Chemical substances that are known, suspected or potential carcinogens should be designated “toxic” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, CEPA 1999. Steps also must be taken to ban the use and importation of toxic substances, in all forms, including products containing carcinogens. The same policy holds for substances that are known or suspected genotoxins, mutagens, reproductive and developmental toxins. I am extremely concerned that the Government is not designating chemicals as “toxic” under CEPA 1999. The fact that some high-hazard chemicals are not being designated as toxic results in no government management and no research for, or testing of, substitutes. This is not right, particularly for high-hazard substances. I believe that we should not risk our health with products that have not been shown to be safe. Instead, we need to err on the side of caution. Unfortunately the current screening assessments have not resulted in precautionary action. The Government has a number of pollution-prevention tools, which could and should be used, but the Government simply has not taken action. Pollution-prevention plans for source elimination, identification of safe substitutes, and the removal of inefficiencies in industrial processes are all prevention tools which are effective. However, in the Industry Challenge, very few pollution prevention proposals have been put forward with the exception of those for bisphenol A and TDI. Instead, the government has taken actions that maintain the status quo regarding the use of substances, or at best, lead to slight reductions in environmental releases. It is particularly upsetting that very little regulatory action was proposed for the high-priority substances that were found to be toxic, with the exception again of bisphenol A. This is unacceptable. The Government can do a much better job at evaluating chemicals and protecting Canadians’ health. The Government must ensure that substances are evaluated with consideration for real world exposures. When products are found to be carcinogenic, mutagenic or endocrine disrupting, the Precautionary Principle must be implemented and they must be taken off the market. If any cancer-causing substances are present in products, they must be identified with a hazard symbol so that consumers have appropriate information about the precautions that need to be taken when the product is used. I look forward to hearing your views on improving the evaluation of chemical substances and making precaution and pollution prevention a priority. We wish to protect the health of our families. Sincerely yours,
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