Urgent Action Alert: Ontarians Need More Protection from Toxics, October 30, 2009
October 30, 2009
As RNs we know that exposure to toxics is associated with many different illnesses and our greatest concern is for children. These illnesses include: cancer; learning, developmental and behavioural disabilities; impaired endocrine function; birth defects; and respiratory problems, such as asthma.
Here’s a very quick and simple step to let the Ontario government know you want action on toxics in the environment, in the workplace and in consumer products. But you have to act TODAY or THIS WEEKEND AT THE LATEST.
Monday November 2nd is the deadline for consultation on a draft regulation released by the government under the Toxics Reduction Act. The Act sets up a framework for reporting on use, creation and release of toxic substances. It also obliges toxics users to create plans. It is modeled on Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act, which achieved major reductions in the use and release of toxics. Firms in Massachusetts also ended up on average saving money due to more efficient use of chemicals, so it was a win-win situation for the environment and for business.
The Toxics Reduction Act has the potential to dramatically increase public knowledge about toxics in the environment, in the workplace, and in consumer products. It could sharply reduce exposure to toxics, and this is important because Ontario is one of the worst releasers of toxics in North America.
We must get something as good or better than Massachusetts but we have to push for it because there is considerable pressure for weak legislation. Already, the Act is missing key features from its model in Massachusetts. However, there is still time to get what we need through the regulation process. That’s why we need your help, now.
We are asking for two things:
· Meaningful and comprehensive public right to know about toxics in the environment, in the workplace and in consumer products.. We do not have this now.
· Mechanisms to make the legislation effective, including provincial targets, support to communities and firms for transition, and regulatory measures to ensure toxics reduction (such as requirements to consider all toxics reduction options and mandatory substitution).
Let’s make the Act achieve its potential and dramatically change the way toxics are handled in Ontario, for the sake of our health and future generations. Ontarians overwhelmingly support strong action to reduce toxics, but the law, as now worded, falls short. RNs can make a difference. Now is the time for RNs to speak loudly with one voice for strong toxics reduction legislation.
Please send a message to Premier Dalton McGuinty and to Environment Minister John Gerretsen urging them to strengthen the draft regulation under the Toxics Reduction Act. Simply go to the link below, fill out the fields, personalize the letter as you like, and send. You do not need to insert your name into the letter itself. Copies will go to your own MPP and to the Environmental Registry, so that the Ministry of the Environment has a copy as well. THANK YOU!!! The final deadline is Monday, November 2, 2009. Please write TODAY!
- RNAO's letter to Premier McGuinty and Environment Minister Gerretsen on the draft toxics regulation
- The draft toxics regulation
- RNAO's submission to the Standing Committee on General Government and speaking notes
- RNAO's media release on the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009
- RNAO's initial media release on the Bill and for a joint release with partners
- Canadian Cancer Society's poll on Ontarians' attitudes towards toxics reduction