Landmark Study Compares US, Canadian and EU Policies, Identifies "Best
Practices" to Mitigate Industrial Chemical Risks
TORONTO, April 4 /CNW/ - Environmental Defense (U.S.) and Pollution Probe
released today the first-ever study comparing the European Union's new REACH
regulation with industrial chemicals(1) policies in Canada and the U.S. The
report, titled Not That Innocent: A Comparative Analysis of Canadian, European
Union, and United States Policies on Industrial Chemicals, offers a blueprint
for addressing both long-standing deficiencies and newly emerging concerns
over how government manages the potential risks of industrial chemicals.
Written by Senior Health Program Scientist, Richard A. Denison, Ph.D., of
Environmental Defense, the 140-page report identifies "best practices" from
among the policies in the three jurisdictions that most effectively protect
human health and the environment.
For the last several decades, government policies have granted the tens
of thousands of industrial chemicals already in commerce a strong "presumption
of innocence," with companies largely free to produce and use such chemicals
as they've seen fit in the absence of compelling evidence of harm. "Mounting
evidence shows that many of these chemicals are actually not that innocent,"
said Denison. "Existing policies have allowed chemicals to accumulate in the
environment and in the bodies of virtually all people on earth-while failing
to deliver the information needed to determine what risks they pose."
One profound consequence of current policies is that government, the
public and often companies themselves know very little about the potential
risks of most such chemicals, and companies have little or no incentive to
develop better information. "The lack of good information not only means we
don't know which chemicals may pose risks," Denison noted. "We also fail to
learn which ones pose little or no risk, and hence might serve as viable
The study released today describes a paradigm shift beginning to take
place in all three jurisdictions toward policies that are knowledge-driven and
place more of the burden of providing and acting on that information on those
who stand to profit financially from the production and use of chemicals.
"Companies that make and use chemicals are arguably in the best position to
internalize information about risk and use it from the outset to design out
risk from their products," said Denison.
"Pollution Probe is pleased to have supported and contributed to this
excellent and timely report by Dr. Denison," said Ken Ogilvie, Executive
Director of Pollution Probe. "The House of Commons Standing Committee on
Environment and Sustainable Development has recently completed its review of
the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and we are anxiously awaiting
the release of their report."
"Not That Innocent: A Comparative Analysis of Canadian, European Union,
and United States Policies on Industrial Chemicals is a major contribution to
greater understanding of the complex world of industrial chemicals
management," Ogilvie added.
The report is available online at
(1) The report focuses on so-called industrial chemicals, which typically
exclude chemicals used only as pharmaceuticals, cosmetic ingredients,
pesticides or food additives, which are regulated under other
statutes. The term is not intended to mean that such chemicals are
used only in industry; many "industrial chemicals" are also present
in consumer products.
For further information:
For further information: Ken Ogilvie, Executive Director, Pollution
Probe, (416) 926-1907 x231, firstname.lastname@example.org; Margaret Little,
Communications Environmental Defense (U.S), (202) 572-3387,