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Experts Urge Ottawa to Shield Canadians From Persistent Chemicals and Toxins

Nearly a year after Health Canada issued a draft recommendation to designate an entire class of chemicals as toxic, environmental experts say action is needed.

There are now over 10,000 variations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used in numerous products like waterproof cosmetics, stain repellents, non-stick cookware, and carpeting.

These “forever chemicals” do not break down and accumulate in the environment and our bodies, resulting in health issues like cancers, immune system problems, and hormone disruptions.

Cassie Barker, from Environmental Defence, explained that the strong bonds of PFAS make them nearly impossible to break down, leading to long-lasting effects.

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In May 2023 Health Canada recommended labeling PFAS as toxic, allowing for regulation and potential bans on the substances.

Moving forward with the final designation and subsequent regulations is crucial, according to Ms. Barker, who emphasized the importance of addressing the entire class of chemicals to prevent harmful replacements.

Other jurisdictions have already taken steps to limit PFAS use, with Europe phasing them out and California imposing restrictions and bans on specific products.

It is essential for Canada to follow suit in protecting public health and the environment from these harmful substances, which have been linked to severe health issues.

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