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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 3, Nov./Dec. 2006

Help prevent cancer by preventing exposure to toxic chemicals

The Labour Environmental Alliance Society (LEAS) is calling for regulation and right-to-know labelling of toxic chemicals in order to reduce our exposure to chemicals linked to breast and other cancers.

LEAS research co-ordinator Sean Griffin says there is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating a link with chemical exposure and breast cancer. Numerous chemicals including methylene chloride in paint strippers, pesticide ingredients, and even an ingredient, bisphenol-A, that can leach out of hard plastic water bottles have been associated with breast cancer–and exposures at a young age may be especially critical.

Another group of chemicals linked to cancer are the toxic fire-retardant PBDEs that have now been listed as CEPA-toxic by the federal government but still have not been banned from use. Griffin says, "We need to take the next step with toxic PBDEs and introduce regulations that would eliminate them from use in Canada."

"Prevention gets lost when everything is focussed on the cure–and we owe it to our kids to do whatever we can for cancer prevention by reducing their exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals," says Mae Burrows, executive director of LEAS.

LEAS publishes the CancerSmart Consumer Guide, which targets toxic household and personal-care products and garden pesticides and recommends safer alternatives. Over 20,000 copies of the guide have been distributed in Canada.

For more information please visit the LEAS web site at www.leas.ca.

Mae Burrows, executive director, 604-526-1956 or Sean Griffin, research co-ordinator 604-254-9412.


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