Health Canada

Health Canada

November 20, 2007 18:51 ET

One Year After Launch, Canada's Chemicals Management Plan is on Track and Delivering Results

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2007) - To mark National Child Day and as we approach the one-year anniversary of the Chemicals Management Plan on December 8, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, and the Honourable John Baird, Minister of the Environment, today announced two important steps which highlight how the Plan is protecting the health of Canadians and the environment.

As committed to nearly one year ago, manufacturers, importers and industrial users of high-priority substances have been providing and will continue to provide Environment Canada and Health Canada with information on batches of 15 to 30 substances every three months. The fourth and most recent batch was made public on November 17. This initiative, known as the "Challenge", requires industry and other stakeholders to provide the Government with information about how these high-priority substances, identified following Canada's world-leading categorization of its legacy chemical substances last fall, are managed.

"We are holding industry accountable for the substances they use," said Minister Baird. "Everyone, including industry, non-governmental organizations and university scientists, have four months to provide this information. We will use this information to help protect the health of Canadians and the environment."

Failure to provide new science or a demonstration of effective control and use will not prevent the government from taking action to safeguard human health and the environment. Batches will continue to be published every three months over the next two years.

In addition, the Government of Canada announced today a $3.9 million investment in Canada's largest study of environmental chemicals in pregnant women and their babies. The study is being funded by Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, which is contributing an additional $200,000.

The study, known as the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC), is recruiting about 2,000 women during the first trimester of pregnancy and following them through the birth of their child and up to eight weeks after birth. MIREC is a collaborative effort among Health Canada scientists, the Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, and clinical researchers from Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, Toronto and Halifax. The Sainte-Justine Hospital is the coordinating centre for the study.

"Combined with the Chemicals Management Plan, MIREC will be a valuable next step in determining the kinds and amounts of chemicals present in our environment and our bodies," said Ken Ogilvie of Pollution Probe. "This will help protect the health of children in the years ahead."

"This initiative will provide us with valuable baseline information so that we can measure progress over time," said Minister Clement. "That means real accountability for Canadians when it comes to protecting their health and environment."

"Research plays a pivotal role in informing public policy," said Dr. William Fraser, co-principal investigator of the MIREC study at the Sainte-Justine Hospital. "The knowledge we gain from this study will help us understand the impacts of the environment on the health of Canada's most vulnerable populations."

This study complements the Canadian Health Measures Survey, launched nationally earlier this year, which is collecting biological samples and information on health, lifestyle and environmental chemicals from 5,000 Canadians between the ages of six and 79. For more information on the Chemicals Management Plan, please visit www.chemicalsubstances.gc.ca.

Egalement offert en francais

INFORMATION

Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC)

As a part of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan, the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) study will generate important new knowledge on the levels of exposure of pregnant women and their infants to common chemicals.

MIREC is a national five-year study that is recruiting about 2,000 women from 10 cities across Canada during the first trimester of pregnancy and following them through the birth of their child and up to eight weeks after birth. The study is a collaborative effort among Health Canada scientists, Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, and clinical researchers from Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, Toronto and Halifax. Sainte-Justine Hospital is the coordinating centre for the study.

The study will collect body fluids and tissues from mothers and their infants to obtain national data on their exposure to environmental chemicals, as committed to under the Chemicals Management Plan. The study will also assess the potential risks, if any, associated with exposure to heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, during pregnancy.

Another goal of this research is to obtain data on the levels of nutrients, environmental chemicals, and immuno-protective elements in breast milk. This will assist in developing nutrition programs and policies for breastfeeding women.

The MIREC study will also examine the impacts of tobacco smoke exposure on mothers and infants. These data will be useful for governments and public health professionals to develop policies and programs that encourage pregnant women to quit smoking and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.

Biological samples taken from study participants will be analyzed by the Centre de Toxicologie du Quebec and Health Canada, with results expected at the end of the five-year study in 2012.

This study is co-funded by Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. This study complements the Canadian Health Measures Survey, launched nationally earlier this year, which is collecting biological samples and information on health, lifestyle and environmental chemicals from 5,000 Canadians between the ages of six and 79. Both studies will analyze samples for chemical substances such as: lead, mercury, cadmium, manganese, arsenic, phthalates, brominated flame retardants, cotinine, bisphenol A, and perfluorinated compounds, and include questions to identify potential sources of exposure to these substances.
To learn more, please visit www.chemicalsubstances.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Eric Richer
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Office of the Minister of Health
    Laryssa Waler
    Press Secretary
    613-957-0200
    or
    Health Canada - Media Relations
    613-957-2983
    or
    Environment Canada - Media Relations
    819-934-8008 or 1-888-908-8008
    or
    Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Media Relations
    613-941-4563