In Consumer Products.
Harmful chemicals can be found in many products on store shelves. Buying the product in a Canadian store can offer some protection, even if the item is not made in Canada. However, Canadian chemicals management does not always keep pace with scientific evidence of health hazards. Buying on-line directly from countries that do not have regulations to our standards can put yourself and your family at increased risk.
Some common chemicals found in Consumer Products include:
chemicals added to products to prevent or suppress fires. Flame retardants are commonly found in electronics, in textiles like as curtains and blankets, and in foams used in furniture, insulation, and children’s toys. These chemicals can affect many body systems and have been associated with endocrine, immune system, brain, and reproductive disorders, including some types of cancer. Flame retardants are a common component of household dust.
Phthalates and Bisphenols:
chemicals used in plastics can get into your food, especially when hot or oily food is in contact with plastic. Phthalates and bisphenols can disrupt the endocrine system, and have been associated with diabetes, obesity, behaviour changes, reproductive difficulties, birth defects, and cancers. Although Bisphenol A has been phased out of many products, they are still often used to line food cans and are on thermal sales receipts. Also, other Bisphenols are being used in their place with similar negative health effects. Even very low exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals represent a health risk.
Phthalates may be a listed ingredient in cosmetics, but may also be a component of “fragrance” or “parfum”. It is important to remember that your skin is your largest organ, and what you put on it can enter your body. Children mouthing plastic toys (or other items) can also be exposed to phthalates.
What You Can Do
- Consider all purchases carefully to determine if is something you truly need, and if it will last
- Buy products from trusted retailers, and stay up to date with recalls and safety alerts issued by Health Canada (online, email, or smartphone app)
- Dust using a damp cloth and vacuum regularly using HEPA filter
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating
- When buying new furniture, do your research to determine if it contains flame retardants
- Avoid vinyl or PVC shower curtains and toys. Look for “PVC free” and “phthalate free” labels
- Avoid plastics with recycling symbols 3, 6, and 7
- Use ceramic or glass containers to store hot food or for heating food
- Reduce your use of cosmetics and/or choose products labeled “phthalate free”
- Avoid “fragrance” or “parfum” (check the ingredients, even on unscented products)
- Choose fresh or frozen food instead of canned
- Refuse thermal sales receipts, or wash your hands immediately after handling
We provide science-based information gathered from trustworthy sources. For further reading, you can check out our sources, which include:
Canadian Partnership for Children’s Environmental Health: Plastics
Canadian Partnership for Children’s Environmental Health: Bisphenol A
Government of Canada: Bisphenol A
Government of Canada: Flame Retardants
Government of Canada: Phthalates
Government of Canada: Recalls and Safety Alerts
National Institute of Environmental Health: Bisphenol A
National Institute of Environmental Health: Flame Retardants
Statistics Canada: Canadian Health Measures Survey
United States Environmental Protection Agency: Consumer Fact Sheet on Flame Retardants