CTV.ca News Staff
Updated: Fri. Sep. 7 2007 3:12 PM ET
Of the three main Ontario political leaders, Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory holds a slight edge in the number of toxic chemicals in his blood, says a study.
Here’s how they ranked out of the 70 chemicals for which their blood was tested:
Provincial NDP Leader Howard Hampton: 42
Ontario Premier and Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty: 41
“We chose these high-profile individuals to show that pollution isn’t just something coming out of a tailpipe or a smokestack — it’s in all of us,” Aaron Freeman, policy director for Environmental Defence, told CTV.ca on Friday.
“We are exposed to harmful chemicals on a daily basis, and not surprisingly, they’re in our bodies.”
There were 39 compounds common to all three leaders, said the study.
The three men all had higher pollution levels than an average family the group tested as part of the same study.
Here are the general types of chemicals found, some of which have multiple potential health effects:
Hormone disruptors: 24
Respiratory toxins: 9
Reproductive/developmental toxins: 39
Chemicals with no health effects data: 2
“All three politicians tested were more polluted than the volunteers who participated in Environmental Defence’s earlier study, Polluted Children, Toxic Nation: A Report on Pollution in Canadian Families, released in June 2006,” the report said.
The concentration levels varied when compared to a similar study on four federal politicians that was released in January.
Environmental Defence said taken together, the reports show that people can be polluted with such chemicals no matter where they live or work.
With Ontario’s provincial election set to kick off on Sept. 10, the organization urged action on an Ontario Pollution and Cancer Prevention Act to help protect human health.
Such legislation could help increase awareness of toxins and make funding available to allow companies, workers and citizens to reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of toxins, it said.
There are some things consumers can do to protect themselves against toxic chemicals, Freeman said.
“You can eat organic foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides. You can choose to use a metal water bottle instead of a hard, clear plastic one, which contains Bisphenol A,” he said, referring to a chemical that the European Commission has classified as a reproductive toxin.
Governments must play a role in things like labelling, Freeman said.
“One in three infant formula cans contains Bisphenol A, and it leaches into the food; we know it gets absorbed by the baby,” he said.
“We don’t know which one in three contains Bisphenol A. We need government intervention to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, not just coming out of smokestacks or tailpipes, but in consumer products.”
With files from The Canadian Press