Toxic by Design: Eliminating harmful flame retardant chemicals from our bodies, homes, & communities

Released October 25, 2016

EDAction’s research report, Toxic By Design, details the failure of Canadian Toxic by Design reportregulations to keep harmful flame retardant chemicals out of Canadian homes and consumer products, and makes recommendations to prohibit new exposures to these chemicals.

Toxic By Design investigates how failures in Canada’s regulatory approach to industrial chemicals—including a new regulation on a class of toxic flame retardants called PBDEs that will come into effect on December 23, 2016 – have far-reaching effects on the health of Canadians.

Current regulations allow harmful flame retardant chemicals to circulate in the everyday consumer products and building materials in our homes, workplaces, and public spaces. Common products like furniture and electronics have been allowed to become sources of long-lasting exposure to toxic chemicals. As a result, 92% of all Canadian women tested had toxic flame retardant chemicals in their breast milk, and all Canadians tested, including children, had some form of flame retardant chemical in their bodies.

While fire safety is a serious concern, scientific research has shown that these chemicals do not significantly improve fire protection. Flame retardant chemicals do present serious risks, however, particularly for children and during fetal development. Among other concerns, the health effects of exposure to these chemicals include enlarged livers, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cognitive debilities, reduced fertility in both men and women, and certain cancers.

Toxic By Design calls on the Canadian government to address failures in governance that are impacting the health of Canadians, both those living today and future generations.

Toxic By Design is the first in a series of reports on the impacts of endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals in Canada.