Public concern about the health effects of pollution is gradually becoming a major political issue in Canada.
Famous Canadian environmentalist / scientist / reporter David Suzuki (right) delivered a lecture on Tuesday this week at the Canadian Public Health Association conference in Ottawa entitled "Our environment is our health."
On the same day, the David Suzuki Foundation released a report, "," calling for broad reform of Canadian environmental-protection legislation in order to prevent disease. (Read the full report , as a PDF.) Here's an overview of the report:
Unlike nearly every other industrialized country, Canada has no coordinated environmental health strategy. As a result, Canada's current patchwork approach to the most serious environmental hazards threatens the health and well-being of every Canadian [...]And it's not just David Suzuki who's onto this. In New Brunswick, where the is , a to investigate the relationship between proximity to industrial/pesticide pollution and asthma, allergies, neuro-developmental disorders, cancer and endocrine-related disorders. Another community in the province, Grand Lake, is of an insufficient response to unhealthy pollution.
"The good news is that we can prevent the majority of the adverse environmental effects on our health, but we require an all-encompassing effort from federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to catch up and solve these problems," [report author and environmental lawyer David Boyd] says.
Currently, many Canadian health and environment laws and policies are weaker than corresponding laws in other nations. For example:
- Canada does not have legally binding national standards for air quality and drinking water quality;
- Canada permits the use of pesticides that other countries have banned for health and environmental reasons;
- Compared to other nations, Canada allows higher levels of pesticide residues on our food;
- Canada has completely failed to regulate some toxic substances such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); and,
- Canada has weaker regulations for toxic substances such as radon, lead, mercury, arsenic, and asbestos.
, released around the time of the group's August annual meeting, showed 27% of Canadians say they have an illness that is attributable to environmental degradation.
Photo: Al Harvey, /
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