House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

(Motion No. 25 agreed to)

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

I will now propose Motion No. 26 to the House.

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

moved:

Motion No. 26

That Bill C-2, in Clause 225, be amended by replacing line 36 on page 173 to line 7 on page 174 with the following:

“that was obtained or created by him or her or on his or her behalf in the course of an investigation into a disclosure made under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act or an investigation commenced under section 33 of that Act.”

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

(Motion No. 26 agreed to)

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

Phthalate Control Act
Private Members' Business

June 20th, 2006 / 5:30 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

moved that Bill C-307, An Act to prohibit the use of benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) in certain products and to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, for all interested members and Canadians watching, the pronunciation of the bill is not a requirement to support it. It is sound government policy and I know there is support from various sides of the House for such sound legislation.

I would first like to thank my colleague from Winnipeg Centre for seconding this.

We have seen some small steps from the government to conduct itself in such a way, when it comes to the health and protection of Canadians, to operate under some fundamental principles. One of those principles is called the precautionary principle. It is a principle that has been outlined for a number of years and is used in jurisdictions across the world to prevent undue harm and unnecessary harm falling upon their citizens.

I will take the tobacco companies, for example, and then I will get to the specifics of the bill.

For many years, there were claims that there was no ill health effects due to tobacco. Companies would rely upon some sort of naive and false version of true and pure science needing to connect completely the smoking of tobacco to the many forms of cancer that were supposedly caused by that. For decades, these companies hid behind pseudo-science and the need to prove it beyond any reasonable doubt, meanwhile making record profits and costing taxpayers not only the physical cost of cancers and the pain to those people and their families, but hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs.

It was only when public support grew to a level sufficient to push governments, both at the federal and provincial levels, to do something about this, that the companies finally had to come forward and admit there was enough health science to prove that smoking was harmful for our health.

No politician in our country will get up and suggest that we should reverse the direction that has been made when it comes to smoking, the prohibition of where people can smoke and the ability to sell to minors. Therefore, we have moved beyond that debate.

However, when it comes to chemicals and the toxic soup that Canadians are asked to swim through each and every day of their lives, the question for government and the responsible leaders of our country is, what are we doing to protect the health of Canadians? Are we doing all that we can?

Clearly, when we look at the group of chemicals to be banned under my bill, we have not done enough. This would ban three specific chemicals, and I am not as courageous as the Speaker in terms of attempting the pronunciation of all these. I will leave that to the organic chemists, but I do definitely take my hat off for the Speaker's efforts. There are three: BBP, DBP and DEHP.

These are specifically placed in products used by some of the most vulnerable people in our society and placed in such a way that allows toxins to then leach out of the products and into the humans who use them. In particular, many of these chemicals are placed in products which children frequently use. Knowing that these chemicals have been associated with a whole list of extremely serious health risks and knowing that they can be brought into a young person's body is the same as knowing the way those products are designed.

I will give an example. Many soothers are put on the market that contain two of these chemicals. Chewing the product will allow the chemical to be released from the product. There is this sad and twisted irony in the way these products have entered into our distribution chain and marketplace, completely unintentionally. They are causing extremely worrisome effects felt by the most vulnerable in our population, who are children.

The bill promotes the banning of these chemicals within 12 months, once the House has passed this bill. Many jurisdictions have already taken these first courageous steps, and I will speak to that.

Also a commercial element is involved for Canadian manufacturers looking to make some of these products. We are talking about children's toys, cosmetics and some medical devices as well. The European market and a number of American markets and others have banned these products over a series of time. If Canadian manufacturers hope to sell any of the listed products, they will be unable to export to any of those markets. Therefore, on the health of Canadian economy and on the health of individuals, this makes clear sense.

These chemicals allow plastics, in particular, to become softer. The original forms of plastic in commercial use were extremely hard and durable, but were not malleable at all.

It is an important consideration, whenever we look at banning a chemical through the manufacturing process, that reliable alternatives can be used and are safe. In this case there are a number of them. What is most attractive about phthalates, this family of chemicals, is that they have an extremely wide use. Manufacturers in other jurisdictions have been called upon to get a little more specific about the replacement chemical to be applied.

A number of these chemicals are also used in cosmetics. When we put these chemicals into things like children's toys, which children then chew on, or in cosmetics that are applied to the face, they leach out or off-gas. A number of studies have been done on carpets and paints. There is that new car smell with which people are familiar. Those are primarily the same group of chemicals and they are not necessary.

In not being necessary and not being implicit to the manufacture of any of those products, it causes one to wonder why government has not taken this step before. Given that we have a new government, we are willing to push this and see what kind of support we can get from around this House to doing something progressive.

The problem with the ability of these chemicals to enter into our into our bodies, is they do not have a chemical bond. That allows them to off-gas quite easily. The other secondary problem is that they accumulate in the fatty tissues of organisms. This is a process of bioaccumulation. Any trace amount that passes through one's system stays there because it gets trapped in the fatty tissues.

A recent study was done by Pollution Probe, I believe. It is one of the environmental groups that was studying the actual chemical makeup of Canadians and the levels of toxicity. It was by no means a conclusive study because the sample was too small. However, one of the things that was most interesting was that children in some cases had higher levels of these toxins than their parents did, even though they had obviously been on the Earth for a much shorter time. Part of the reason is the child might be consuming toxins at a much greater rate as a ratio to their body mass and also that the bioaccumulation, the ability of certain chemicals to stick in our bodies, then gets passed on to children.

A great list of unbelievable diseases and effects is associated with these chemicals. It strikes one as incredible that they even exist at all in commercial use, but let us blame the times and ignorance when they were first brought in. However, knowledge being power, clearly it is incumbent upon us to do something about it.

In particular, a number of studies have shown the abnormal reproductive development in small male children. I have an incredible list of the effects of these chemicals and I will table these documents. I hesitate doing that however because what these chemicals can cause is absolutely unbelievable. They primarily target the reproductive systems of small children and in particular small young males.

Again, when one steps back to the precautionary principle, if there is evidence linking this, in the absence of absolute 100% confirmed science, it is incumbent upon us to remove any chance at all of inflicting this upon any younger members of our society, who through no fault of their own, through their simple existence in their day to day lives, start to incur some of these health effects.

The list of general disorders and malformations is long and disturbing. Some of the less graphic in nature are strong links to allergies in children, premature deaths, testicular cancer. In animals that were tested with these chemicals, there was reduced fertility, spontaneous abortions, birth defects, damage to liver, kidneys and lungs. These things are absolutely incredible in terms of the number of disorders to which they are linked. There is no need or cause to be alarmist. It is simply to point out where the studies have led us

Just last month the United States national toxicology program published a draft brief on one of these chemicals, DEHP, examining its risks. The study found that they were probably affecting humans in their development and/or reproduction and that current exposures were high enough to cause concern.

When reading the list of possible ailments that would fall on those in our society, that in itself is enough to cause members to take a serious and hard look at what has been proposed in the bill, to determine that the measures are reasonable and responsible and that the bill should be supported. I will take a small quote from the study, which is extensive. I can table that document as well. It says:

Although there is no direct evidence that exposure of people to DEHP adversely affects reproduction or development, studies with laboratory rodents clearly show that exposure...can cause adverse effects...Based on recent data on the extent to which humans absorb, metabolize and excrete DEHP, the NTP believes it is reasonable and prudent to conclude that the results reported in laboratory animals indicate a potential for similar or other adverse effects in human populations.

This is not an alarmist group at a federal level in the United States.

When we look at other jurisdictions in the world and see what they have done with this family of chemicals, we find a long list of legislators are raising the alarms and seeking to pull these chemicals from our system.

The European Union has a more comprehensive ban than the one suggested in Bill C-307. I am always encouraged by that. If we can get the European nations to agree on anything at any given point in time, we have truly pulled off a miracle. In respect to something such as this, with the strong chemical manufacturing element of the European economy and this having gone through all of the hoops and levels required in that quasi-federal governance, it shows that its ban in specifically targeting those products aimed at children, especially, shows the strength and intention of the will of European parliamentarians. We would be well to heed their call.

Argentina, Fiji, Finland, Japan and Mexico have all banned this group of chemicals in children's toys. It is a wide and diverse group of countries. There are many more under consideration. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended considering alternatives containing products when performing high risk procedures on male newborns, pregnant women with male fetuses and male preteens eight to twelve years old.

Even without the full “proven link” that has been sought by companies from tobacco on down, the U.S. FDA has said that on those vulnerable groups, particularly pregnant women who are due to bear male children and young male boys, we must find alternatives because other options are available.

For the life of me I cannot understand why members in the House would not support such an initiative, with options being available and given the list of dastardly diseases and effects related to these chemicals.

Health Canada has an even stronger policy when it comes to phthalates. Though it is still in draft, it recommends that DEHP not be used for certain procedures and that DEHP containing products be labelled.

I want to quickly go to alternatives. It is important for people to realize that if companies have sought alternative and responsible products, they be allowed to use them so they remain profitable. A number of European based companies and some American ones have been able to find alternative and responsible products to replace these. Some cosmetic companies have already started a phase in.

My last point, for members in this place and for those watching, is the principle of precaution, the principle of using sound judgment, even in the absence of full and complete knowledge on an issue in cases such as this, is paramount to the type of decisions we make. The onus we use must be reversed. It must not be left to consumers to somehow prove that the products they buy their children are safe. They simply do not have the time, wherewithal or capacity.

The onus must be put on those making the products and those attempting to introduce those products into the marketplace. It is simply responsible government to do this. It is responsible for all of us to strongly consider the bill. I look forward to the debate that ensues.

Phthalate Control Act
Private Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague from Skeena to expand on the comment on which he began his speech and ended his speech. It had to do with the precautionary principle that must guide us especially when we are dealing with the well-being of children. It has always driven me crazy that the onus is on us to prove that a chemical is dangerous. The onus is not on the chemical company to prove that it is safe. I cannot for the life of me understand how chemicals are innocent until proven guilty, especially when we are faced with the near impossible task of making the direct link to a specific cause when we are exposed to such a chemical soup. That task is nearly impossible.

Phthalate Control Act
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the precautionary principle is already in Canadian law. Our central piece of environmental legislation is currently under review at committee. We spent an entire day and more in conversation around the precautionary principle. When first introduced to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act it was much heralded. It was a central way of thinking, particularly about pollutants that have the potential to cause harmful effects on Canadians and Canadian society.

That principle clearly states that we must not wait for absolute truth to make a decision. If we waited for such absolute truth, for example, it has never been proven that there is 100% causation between the smoking of cigarettes and cancer. It is virtually impossible to prove 100% because there are so many elements and variables.

Scientists, health officials and environment officials have said to us that when they examine groups of chemicals such as phthalates, the risks are so high and so great that even if they are 10% right on some of their reports, even at that small margin with most of it being wrong, the responsibility is ours to do something. Even with 10% of it being right, it is incredible that we would even consider allowing their use. If we had known what we know now about the toxicity of these chemicals, would we have allowed their production? It is unlikely. As we go forward with hundreds being introduced every year and combining in certain ways, we must consistently ask ourselves if we are doing justice by Canadians who place their trust in us that we are looking out for their ultimate well-being.

Phthalate Control Act
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the member says in his bill that phthalates will be banned from certain products, what products are we talking about here? Could he give us a brief outline of the three phthalates?

Phthalate Control Act
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I can keep this brief. The great importance of the debate we are having now is the need for a committee review to actually open up the discussion.

Of the three, BBP is the first. It is specifically banned from children's toys and anything meant to be used in children's mouths. DBP would be banned from children's toys and similarly anything meant to be used in children's mouths. It is also used in cosmetics. DEHP would be banned from children's toys, anything for children's mouths and any cosmetic. We also have to look at medical devices and blood bags because it is also used to keep blood bags soft. There has been great concern coming from the health practitioners. Someone who is using a blood bag most likely is ill. The potential leaching of these chemicals into a person who is not well seems contrary to the whole idea of entering a hospital in the first place.

Those are the specific bans that we are seeking. To be perfectly frank, there is a debate about where, when and how much needs to be banned, but the principle of the ban is strong and is supported by legislatures around the world.

Phthalate Control Act
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-307 by the member for Skeena--Bulkley Valley, which is an act to prohibit the use of three types of phthalates, BBP, DBP and DEHP. I thank him for his work on this.

The Government of Canada is very concerned about the potential risks to human health, especially to children, from chemical substances used in manufacturing and which may be found in products that we use every day. For that reason we committed in the Speech from the Throne to achieve tangible improvements in our environment, including reductions in pollution. In the speech the Governor General of Canada stated:

Recognizing the important role of parliamentarians, members of Parliament will be asked to conduct comprehensive reviews of key federal legislation, including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, I am on the committee that is reviewing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, known as CEPA 1999. We are committed to working within that process. We are also committed to ensuring that CEPA 1999 is improved in order to increase its effectiveness in reducing the use and release of harmful substances.

This government has concerns about Bill C-307 because the departments of environment and health have already been actively engaged in scientifically assessing the environmental and human health risks of specific substances named in Bill C-307. The government has also taken action to address the risks that were identified through the scientific assessments.

Phthalates used in plastics also have important economic and operational benefits in Canada. I would first like to briefly explain the uses of phthalates in everyday life.

BBP is a plasticizer used in a variety of plastic products, including vinyl products such as floor tiles. It is also used to manufacture traffic cones, food conveyor belts, artificial leathers and plastic foams. The plasticizer makes the products flexible and easy to fabricate.

DBP is used in cosmetics and is a particularly common nail polish ingredient which makes polish resistant to chipping.

DEHP is a plasticizer used in medical devices such as intravenous tubing and medical bags which renders medical tubing resistant and resilient to kinks. Kinks can dangerously restrict the flow of medicine and life-saving fluids to patients, putting the safety of Canadians at risk. DEHP is also used in fragrances, hydraulic fluid and as a solvent in light sticks.

Health Canada and Environment Canada carried out assessments of these three substances between 1994 and 2000.

The assessments carried out under the authority of CEPA were peer reviewed to ensure accuracy and adequacy of coverage and were published for public comment prior to being finalized. The assessments concluded that all three substances are not harmful to the environment.

The human health assessment concluded that two of the three substances, namely BBP and DBP, did not pose any undue health risks. Therefore, Bill C-307 prohibitions on BBP and DBP are inconsistent with the peer reviewed scientific assessment conclusions.

However, the human health assessment of the third substance, DEHP, concluded that there are health risks associated with the exposure of this substance. In response to the assessment conclusion of DEHP, Health Canada requested the Canadian industry to discontinue the use of all phthalates in the manufacture of soft vinyl teethers and baby products that could be put in the mouth.

Today DEHP is already no longer used in the Canadian manufacture of soft vinyl teethers or baby products that could be put in the mouth and DEHP is not found in any cosmetics notified with Health Canada.

DEHP continues to be used in scientific medical devices. Based on extensive reviews conducted by Health Canada, it has been concluded that the use of DEHP has important benefits that are lacking in alternative substances.

One particular use of DEHP that potentially causes exposure to humans is its use in scientific medical devices. Based on extensive reviews conducted by Health Canada, it has been concluded that the use of DEHP has important benefits that are lacking with the alternatives. The use of DEHP in medical devices was reviewed by the Medical Devices Bureau of Health Canada. In addition, clinical practice guidelines have been developed with input from stakeholders and posted for comments on the Health Canada website.

Bill C-307 would have economic and practical repercussions in Canada since some alternatives to DEHP do not offer the same benefits that this substance possesses. Others are much more expensive, while others have inadequate safety data. Therefore, in these limited cases, the benefits of continued use outweigh the risks. The member's bill acknowledges these benefits by stating that the prohibition on use for medical devices should exclude blood bags, but these exclusions would have to be extended to other medical uses.

It is worth noting that on November 16, 1998, Health Canada issued as a precautionary measure a public health advisory informing parents and health care providers of very young children about the potential health risks posed by soft vinyl children's products containing another plasticizer, di-isononyl phthalate, DINP. This substance was not part of the assessment under CEPA but was found to be a replacement for DEHP.

At that time, parents and caregivers of children under the age of one were advised to dispose of soft vinyl teethers and rattles. In the interest of the health and safety of children, Health Canada also requested the industry to immediately stop production and sale of those products. As a result of this action, soft vinyl teethers and rattles containing DINP have been voluntarily withdrawn from the Canadian market.

Beyond these specific substances, the Government of Canada is very concerned about the risks to human health and especially to children from these chemicals. To prevent exposure to new harmful chemicals, Health Canada and Environment Canada assess potential risks of chemicals before they come into use in the Canadian marketplace and take steps to manage the risks or to prohibit the use of new chemicals where the risks cannot be adequately managed. This program has been in place for nearly 15 years and over 800 chemicals are assessed annually.

Through this program we collaborate with other countries to harmonize our assessments of new chemicals before they are introduced into commerce. This prevents the creation of new problems. This is an example of pollution prevention in action, which is a cornerstone of CEPA.

This government remains concerned about the human health impacts of existing sources of pollution and in particular, air pollution. This government is in the midst of comprehensive and integrated action to protect the health of Canadians and the environment. Canadians will see in the coming months, as we develop our made in Canada approach for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases, additional initiatives to protect our health and our environment.

We also recognize that instead of focusing our attention on one or a few substances at a time, this government needs to take a more comprehensive and integrated approach that will put Canada at the forefront of substance management.

The House of Commons assigned the review of CEPA 1999 to the Standing committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on April 26 of this year. The committee began hearings on May 10. The environment committee's review of CEPA will provide the Government of Canada with an opportunity to review the contribution of CEPA to the goals of pollution prevention, sustainable development and federal-provincial-territorial cooperation.

As I have said, this government is committed to ensuring that the health of our citizens and our environment is safeguarded. While we appreciate the intent of the member for Skeena--Bulkley Valley to eliminate phthalates, the government has already taken steps through the appropriate procedures and authorities in regard to BBP, DBP and DEHP.

Bill C-307 attempts to circumvent the comprehensive scientific assessment of phthalates and instead make an assessment based on politics. This legislation would unfortunately confuse and create redundancy within the process. I would encourage the member to respect the scientific assessment process. He indicated that he disagrees with the scientific assessment of phthalates. He called it pseudo-science.

I encourage him to instead use the appropriate process, which is the CEPA review. I would recommend that he bring his concerns and recommendations regarding phthalates to the department, which is carrying out the assessment. I look forward to discussing it in that context.

Phthalate Control Act
Private Members' Business

6 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be using the parliamentary secretary's speech as a structure for my remarks.

The first thing to be noted is that the addition of toxic substances such as the three phthalates proposed by the bill is not something that requires us to wait for the CEPA review. If the member would look at the Canadian Environmental Protection Act itself and at schedule 1, he would see that since CEPA 1999, on a fairly regular basis, we have added various substances, until these that would be added would be numbered 80, 81 and 82. Therefore, there is a process that does not require us to wait for that.

Second, the crucial part of his argument, and he appealed to scientific research to guide our efforts, according to him, is that the last scientific studies were concluded in the period from 1994 to the year 2000. What has happened since then is that we have learned a great deal more about phthalates.

In fact, there have been several reviews by the national toxicological program referred to by the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. The first one to examine phthalates was in October 2000. In other words, it was outside the period that Health Canada was reviewing. There we are talking about DBP. This is the one that finds itself in children's toys and that sort of thing.

What they concluded after that first panel was that DBP can cause reproductive toxicity in adult rats and developmental toxicity in rats and mice, and it does so by oral routes, through the mouth. It induces structural malformation. These data are assumed to be relevant to humans. That is from a study which was concluded outside the scientific period.

Since then, and the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley also referred to this, there was another panel on phthalates in October 2005. There was quite a controversy about phthalates in August 2005. That panel has even more scientific evidence to point out the dangers of phthalates in general and some of those mentioned in the bill very specifically.

The idea is not to circumvent the CEPA review or science, but to incorporate science at a faster rate than we have been doing. The hon. member will know from sitting on the CEPA review that one of the most painful parts of this process is how long it takes us to recognize dangers and to act on them.

The other thing he will know from this review is that if we do not put these substances on now as dangerous, they tend to get ignored by the officials, who turn to things that are mandated. If we mandate the Department of Health and the Department of the Environment to do something, they are more likely to do it. That is what the bill would have the effect of doing.

This is not in the least inconsistent with peer review. This is simply a way of incorporating what we have been learning all through this process and, like the proposer of the bill, I think this is exactly what we ought to be doing. We ought to be finding ways of expediting our inclusion on toxic lists of things for which new evidence is emerging.

I would also point out that in his remarks one of the things he seems to have ignored is the specific limitations that the bill would place on the use of these three phthalates. It does not say they cannot be used for vinyl flooring or linoleum, which is one of the things that phthalates are used for. It excludes the blood bags that he refers to. Presumably when it gets to committee we can refine further some of these exclusions.

It is very specific. It is not going to be a disruptor of the economy to say that this should be done in very specific instances where there is stronger evidence since the last time Health Canada looked at it and where the international response has been far more vigorous than it has been in Canada.

I think the reference to the ban in the European Union for all toys and child care articles tells us that we are too slow. Why should we wait on these prohibitions when the evidence from larger markets on the precautionary principle shows that we would not want to take a chance on this stuff? Why would we not want to act now?

Why is it that we must wait until the CEPA review is finished? The CEPA review may not be finished for another year, and yet the accumulating evidence, including last month's toxicological study from the National Institutes of Health in the United States, tells us that we know enough under the precautionary principle to say that these three substances ought not to be used in this very particular way, not the generalized way described by the hon. member.

In conclusion, I am going to urge my colleagues to support this bill. I do so because there is the scientific weight of evidence in terms of risk to human health. I do not think we need to know more than that. We can refine this if we send the bill to committee. I think this is exactly what parliamentarians should do. It is not something that is inconsistent with the spirit of CEPA, which allows itself to have these toxic substances added from time to time as the scientific evidence becomes stronger.

Phthalate Control Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in today's debate on Bill C-307, An Act to prohibit the use of benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) in certain products and to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

At the outset, I would like to inform the House that we intend to support the principle of the bill introduced by the NDP member. The precautionary principle must guide our deliberations throughout the study of this bill. We must ensure that if Canadians are to come into contact with a certain number of substances—even if we are not aware of all of the health risks they may pose—we are guided by the precautionary principle.

Phthalate is used along with other chemicals in many products. It is in BBP, DBP and DEHP, which are used to coat a number of products, making them more supple and flexible. The most commonly used compounds are the DEHPs, which are present in 40% of soft PVC plastics.

PVC is also used in the manufacture of various products, such as toys, flooring, tiles, blood bags, medical devices and food packaging. PVC is also found in the additives of cosmetics such as nail polish, hygiene products such as shampoo, and pharmaceutical products.

How can we be exposed to these substances, which can most certainly be considered toxic, depending on the dose and the percentage used in each product?

First through the mouth. I am thinking in particular of our children who use soothers or pacifiers which may be composed of these substances, substances which can have an impact on their health.

Second, in toys.