Toronto–Environmental Defence applauded the federal government today for adding bisphenol A (BPA) to Canada’s Toxic Substances List, effective today, despite vociferous industry opposition. BPA is a substance shown to mimic the hormone estrogen and cause reproductive damage that may lead to prostate and breast cancer in adulthood. It has also been linked to immune system dysfunction, early puberty in females, heart disease, diabetes, and higher rates of miscarriage.
“Three cheers for our country’s continuing leadership on this dangerous substance,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence, and co-author of the bestselling book “Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health.” “We look forward to now working with the federal government to take the next important step: banning BPA from all metal food and beverage cans since these can leach it into our food.”
 
In 2008, Canada was the first country in the world to propose taking action against. In April of that year, the government released a draft risk assessment concluding that the chemical was “toxic” because of its reproductive and developmental toxicity, and its environmental effects. The final risk assessment was released in October 2008 and concluded the same thing. At this time, it was also proposed that BPA be minimized in industrial effluent releases, limited in infant formula cans, and banned in baby bottles.
 
While the government went ahead with legally banning BPA in baby bottles in March of this year, no other regulations have been put into place and BPA was not added to the Toxic Substances List until now. The delay in its listing was due to a formal industry objection to BPA’s proposed addition to the Toxic Substances List, demanding that the nature and extent of danger posed by BPA be reviewed. The government rejected this request in July of this year.
 
Canada’s leadership on BPA has had a ripple effect around the world. In the United States, two bills addressing BPA have now been introduced in Congress and numerous state legislatures have passed similar statutes, some of which go so far as to ban it in all reusable food and beverage containers. France and Denmark have also taken action on its use in baby bottles, and bills have been introduced in Belgium and the United Kingdom. In November, the World Health Organization and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization are holding an expert meeting in Ottawa to review BPA’s health effects.
 
Environmental Defence is the Canadian expert on BPA and has been leading the effort for a ban on the chemical in food and beverage containers for the past five years. Today’s government order adding BPA to the Toxic Substances List can be found here: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2010/2010-10-13/html/index-eng.html  
 
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Erin Charter, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 258; (647) 280-9521 (cell)