Toxic chemicals found in four Canadian politicians

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Thursday, January 4, 2007

Toxic chemicals were found in four Canadian politicians after they volunteered to have their blood tested as part of Environmental Defense's report titled Toxic Nation on Parliament Hill.

The federal politicians that were tested are:

Godfrey at number 55 had the highest total number of pollutants followed by Health Minister Tony Clement and Jack Layton at 54 and Environment Minister Rona Ambrose at 49.

They were tested for a total of 103 chemicals, which are related to cancer, developmental problems, respiratory illnesses, and nervous system damage. The chemicals found in them were mainly from household items which can cause cancer. In total, 54 carcinogens, 37 hormone disruptors, 16 respiratory toxins, 54 reproductive or developmental toxins, and 33 neurotoxins were found within the four politicians.

According to Dr. Rick Smith, Environmental Defence's executive director, the politicians are more contaminated than the ordinary citizens tested last year.

"Our tests show that pollution affects everyone. From Parliament Hill to kids in Vancouver and Saint John, harmful pollutants are contaminating the bodies of Canadians no matter where they live, how old they are or where they work, play or go to school," said Dr. Rick Smith. "I don't know why that is. Maybe it has to do with their strange lifestyle — eating out a lot and a high-stress existence," he said.

"Maybe its attributable to the unique lifestyles these guys lead," Mr. Smith said. "Politicians have a very strange, very stressful lifestyle that results in them grabbing a bite to eat when they can and eating a lot of junk food."

All four politicians were more polluted than child and adult volunteers that participated in a survey released last June for pollutants in families.


Cropduster spraying pesticides.

The blood was tested in Quebec and British Columbia for pollutants that fall under seven broad groups which are the following:


Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, Health Minister Tony Clement, NDP Leader Jack Layton, and Liberal Environment Critic John Godfrey. "The need to measure what substances are accumulating inside Canadians is why the Chemical Management Plan announced December 8th includes a Biomonitoring component," said Tony Clement. "This first-ever national survey will help determine future trends and allow comparisons to other countries, and will give scientists valuable data in making those determinations and proposing prevention or remedial measures where needed."

"A growing awareness of the impacts toxic chemicals are having on families and children confirms for us that our government is moving in the right direction with groundbreaking action against harmful pollutants," said Rona Ambrose. "By delivering an aggressive, world-leading approach to chemicals management, we are ensuring the health of our environment and future generations."

"No one is immune from picking up dangerous chemicals, no matter how healthy a lifestyle you lead," said John Godfrey. "These results underline the need for a greater effort to get harmful substances out of the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the products we use and dispose of."

"Like many, I've been concerned about these toxics for decades and worried about them a lot," said NDP Leader Jack Layton. "I've worked for years to have pesticides and other toxics banned or reduced. In light of these recent results, our party will redouble its efforts because this toxic shocker reinforces our commitment to be tough on companies that pollute and governments that don't act. And clearly, this commitment should go beyond party lines."

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, Health Minister Tony Clement, NDP Leader Jack Layton, and Liberal Environment Critic John Godfrey.


Press Release: "Pollutants Contaminate Blood of Federal Politicians" — Canadian News Wire, January 3, 2006

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