Canada is way behind other countries when it comes to environmental laws
Date: Saturday, November 12 2005
"We're down at the bottom of the 28 (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries for environmental protection and yet we often present ourselves to the world as a very environmentally conscious nation."
B.C. environmental group wants ban on toxic school products to protect kids
VANCOUVER (CP) - An environmental group is calling on school districts across British Columbia to protect children from harmful chemicals in cleaning products and materials in auto shops, labs and art supplies.
Sean Griffin, a researcher with the Labour Environmental Alliance Society, said Thursday that kids' health may suffer if they're exposed to toxic products that should be replaced with safer alternatives.
A national doctors' group concerned about the environment agrees children should be protected from toxic products.
"If there is an alternative substance available by other manufacturers that's widely used, that's as effective and doesn't contain a hazard, why on earth would you use a hazardous substance?" Griffin said.
Institutional cleaning products are often more concentrated than those used in households and, unlike food, Health Canada has no provisions to assess their harmful ingredients.
Some cleansers contain the chemical trisodium nitrilotriacetate, a known carcinogen, which has been banned in several jurisdictions in the United States, Griffin said.
He added that in California and the European Union, manufacturers are required to label products containing carcinogens.
Griffin's group, an alliance of environmental groups and trade unions, has taken its concerns to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, whose members clean the majority of B.C. schools.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on November 14, 2005]