THE NEED FOR A ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
According to the Canada Health Act, “the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada” (1). Given that, it is the responsibility of the Government of Canada to look at the impact of environmental degradation and new technologies on the health of Canadians.
We want a Royal Commission to investigate and consolidate as much information on this topic as possible, creating a reliable and up-to-date body of evidence and making recommendations that will lead to informed and decisive action in the public interest.
The incidence of many forms of cancer, autism, allergies, asthma and other diseases are on the rise. Often links are made to contamination of the environment as one, if not the main, cause for these increases.
“It is critical to move beyond the piecemeal, one chemical at a time, one disease at a time, one dose approach currently used by scientists studying animal models, humans or wildlife. Understanding the effects of the mixtures of chemicals to which humans and wildlife are exposed is increasingly important.”
‘State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals – 2012’
Report by the United Nations Environment Programme and WHO
What are the links between the environment and health? What further peer-reviewed, independent research needs to be done? What regulations do we need? Is ongoing contamination of the air, food and water an immutable fact to which we must accommodate ourselves? We need to bring all the available information together and discuss these issues as a society.
Chemicals are tested for toxicity in isolation. In the real world, however, we are exposed to infinite combinations of hundreds or even thousands of natural and synthetic products whose combined effects have almost never been studied.
The cost of a Royal Commission would be very small compared to the cost of treating people who develop illnesses (cancer, autism, asthma, Alzheimer’s etc.) or the cost of trying to remove toxic pollutants from the environment once they have been released.
Canadians want their elected representatives to act responsibly and to act quickly in the public interest. We expect protection from unnecessary exposures to carcinogens, other toxic chemicals and dangerous technologies. It is time to take an objective, systematic look at the connection between human health and the environment.
(1) Canada Health Act, 1984, c. 6, s. 3.