Canada applies double standard on BPA – critics

21 October 2008 20:28  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS new)--Canada, the world’s first country to list bisphenol-A (BPA) as a toxic substance and ban its use in baby bottles, keeps resisting international efforts to contain the threat of chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, critics and commentators said on Tuesday and accused the government of applying a double standard.


The Canadian Medical Association said in an editorial in its journal that Canada kept blocking international efforts to add chrysotile asbestos to a list of dangerous chemicals under a United Nations convention on asbestos exports.


Canada’s stance was motivated by protecting its asbestos industry in Quebec, even if that meant contributing to asbestos-related illnesses and deaths in the developing world, which received the bulk of Canadian asbestos exports, it said.


“That is a harsh indictment, but Canada is the only western democracy to have consistently opposed international efforts to regulate the global trade in asbestos,” it said.


Canada had limited the use of asbestos domestically to prevent the exposure of Canadians to the danger but continued to be the world’s second largest exporter of asbestos, it added.


Canada’s Globe and Mail national newspaper echoed those comments.


In an editorial it contrasted the country’s stance on asbestos with its recent action on BPA, even though other national governments had yet to acknowledge that BPA posed a public health risk.


“This inconsistency creates the impression that Canada is applying a double standard,” the paper said.


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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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