Health Canada

Health Canada

November 29, 2010 10:19 ET

Harper Government Takes Action to Protect Children from Lead Exposure

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2010) - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie, today announced new regulations and amendments to an existing regulation under the Hazardous Products Act that will restrict the amount of lead in a variety of consumer products, including children's toys.

"The health and safety of our children is a top priority for the Harper Government," said Minister Aglukkaq. "As a Mom, I'm proud that our new, tough regulations will make Canada a world leader in strict lead reduction in consumer products, especially toys."

"As a parent, I'm proud that our Government is taking action to protect our kids from the products they are most likely to be in contact with on a daily basis, including toys," said Minister Verner.

"Safe Kids Canada is very pleased by this move by the Government of Canada to reduce the amount of lead found in many consumer products, especially in children's toys and furniture," said Pamela Fuselli, Executive Director of Safe Kids Canada. "Younger children are curious by nature and explore their environment by touching and putting everything they find in their mouth. This makes products with lead especially dangerous to young children."

"Canadians are exposed to lead in their environment and even small amounts of this toxic metal can be harmful in the pediatric population," said Martin Laliberté, President, Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres. "Exposure to lead has several detrimental effects on the brain of young children. The Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres is proud to support the new regulations under the Hazardous Products Act. We believe these important actions will contribute to the reduction of lead exposure for Canadian children."

The Government of Canada will reduce lead levels significantly through regulatory limits for products intended for use in play or learning by children under three years of age, as well as some consumer products that are likely to come into contact with the mouth (i.e. baby bottle nipples, soothers, beverage straws, mouthpieces of musical instruments, and sports mouthpieces). 

As well, amendments to the Surface Coating Materials Regulations have reduced the amount of lead in consumer paints and other surface coating materials, including those applied on children's toys and furniture.

These changes are another step in the Government's implementation of the Lead Risk Reduction Strategy for Consumer Products, which continues to reduce or establish the limits of allowable lead in a variety of consumer products, particularly those used by young children. For more information, please visit Health Canada's website (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/legislation/consultation/summary-eng.php).

In June 2010, the Harper Government introduced Bill C-36, the proposed Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. If passed into law, the Act would modernize the government's approach to consumer product safety and include new measures, such as the ability for Health Canada to order mandatory recalls of consumer products that present an unreasonable danger to human health or safety and the mandatory reporting of incidents or deaths for all consumer products in Canada.

The full text of the regulations (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/legislation/acts-lois/index-eng.php) can be found on the Health Canada website.

Fact Sheet: Consumer Products Containing Lead (Contact with Mouth) and Surface Coating Materials Regulations (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2010/2010_203fs-eng.php)

Fact Sheet: Health Canada's Lead Risk Reduction Strategy for Consumer Products (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2010/2010_203fsb-eng.php)

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