Canada Issues Fourth Batch of High-Priority Chemicals

Hexane, butane, and sulfuric acid were listed Nov. 17 in Canada's fourth batch of high-priority substances for which manufacturers, importers, and industrial users must provide usage data to the government. With this latest milestone, the one-year anniversary of the Chemicals Management Plan on Dec. 8 will find it well under way, Health Minister Tony Clement and Environment Minister John Baird said.

Basic data on these latest chemicals must be sent to Environment Canada and Health Canada by March 18, 2008. Each of the four batches listed 15 to 30 substances; industry and other stakeholders are providing information about how they manage them. "We are holding industry accountable for the substances they use," Baird said. "Everyone, including industry, non-governmental organizations, and university scientists, have four months to provide this information. We will use this information to help protect the health of Canadians and the environment." New batches will continue to be published every three months for the next two years. For more information on the plan, visit www.chemicalsubstances.gc.ca.

The government also announced a $3.9 million investment recently in Canada's largest study of environmental chemicals in pregnant women and their babies. The study, known as Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC), is being funded by Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, which is contributing an additional $200,000. The study is recruiting about 2,000 women during the first trimester of pregnancy and following them through the birth of their child and up to eight weeks after birth. The Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal and clinical researchers from Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, Toronto, and Halifax are participating. "This initiative will provide us with valuable baseline information so that we can measure progress over time," said Clement. "That means real accountability for Canadians when it comes to protecting their health and environment."

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