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McGuinty Government Reducing Environmental Toxins

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McGuinty Government Reducing Environmental Toxins

Government Tackles Environmental Causes Of Sickness

Office of the Premier

The government is committed to protecting our families and children through tough new laws to reduce the environmental causes of sickness in Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty told parents at Queen's Park today.

"As Premier, but more importantly as a parent, I know how critically important it is to do whatever we can to protect Ontarians from potential health threats posed by environmental toxins," said Premier McGuinty.

"Every parent wants good health for their families above all else.  Raising children is a big enough job without having to worry about hidden toxins and carcinogens."

The McGuinty government's new toxins reduction strategy will include a range of measures to protect our health.  It will include introduction of new toxic reduction legislation to reduce pollution, inform and protect Ontarians from toxic chemicals in the air, water, land and consumer products.

A group of parents and children gathered at Queen's Park today to mark National Child Day and draw particular attention to chemicals found in plastic baby bottles and other similar products.

The McGuinty government will appoint an expert medical and scientific panel to advise which toxins should be the focus of immediate attention, action and reductions as the new toxic reduction legislation is developed.  An early priority for this group will be to provide recommendations on how best to address Bisphenol A, widely used in plastic baby bottles and similar consumer products.

"We are pleased that the government has made a commitment to move forward with a Toxic Reduction Act that will include measures to protect Ontarians from toxins in consumer products," said Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence.

"Premier McGuinty understands that reducing human exposure to dangerous toxic chemicals makes environmental sense, is good public health policy, and frankly, contributes to the development of the new, green economy that's good for both the planet and its peoples," said Dr. Ted Boadway, former executive director of health policy for the Ontario Medical Association.  "The government's commitment to introduce Canada's first toxic use reduction law will bring Ontario to the forefront of our country's efforts in tackling the environmental causes of human illness and suffering."

"Premier McGuinty's leadership, demonstrated by the commitment to introduce legislation early in 2008 to enable a province-wide ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides, is welcome news," said Janet Kasperski, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario College of Family Physicians.  "We need to choose the health of our children over the odd weed."

In addition to introducing new toxic reduction legislation, the McGuinty government is undertaking a number of initiatives that will be included under a toxins reduction strategy to help protect Ontarians from potentially harmful environmental toxins, including:

  • Legislation to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides to be introduced in the spring of 2008
  • Working with Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association to identify, target and reduce the number of cancer-causing agents released into our environment
  • Tough new standards to reduce the amount of harmful air emissions on 14 toxins
  • Replacing coal-fired electricity in Ontario and phasing it out completely by 2014
  • New provincewide standards and rules to protect children from exposure to elevated lead levels which may be present in the drinking water system of older neighbourhoods, schools and daycares.

"We are committed to public health, protecting our shared environment and protecting the public interest," McGuinty said.

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