Canadian Public Health Association applauds ban on single-use plastics
The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) welcomes the announcement that the Government of Canada will ban single-use plastics in Canada as early as 2021.
“CPHA applauds the federal government for taking a bold approach to address the threat to human health posed by the proliferation of single-use plastics in our environment,” said Ian Culbert, CPHA’s executive director. “There is a negative impact on human health at every stage of the plastic lifecycle and our love affair with plastic needs to come to an end.”
In addition to creating safety problems during production, many chemical additives that give plastic products desirable performance properties also have negative environmental and human health effects. These effects include
- Direct toxicity, as in the cases of lead, cadmium, and mercury
- Carcinogens, as in the case of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
- Endocrine disruption, which can lead to cancers, birth defects, immune system suppression and developmental problems in children.
“From the extraction of fossil fuels used in the manufacture of plastics through the ongoing environmental exposures as plastics contaminate and accumulate in the food chain, plastics pose distinct risks to human health at every stage,” said Culbert. “Plastics pose a health risk of significant proportions and today’s announcement is a crucial step in addressing this public health crisis. National leadership is essential if significant progress is to be achieved in short order.”
Alternatives to plastics already exist and support for their further development will provide the opportunity for economic transition and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.