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The Environment and Our Health

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Written by Garnet McPherson Thursday, 23 July 2009 00:00


As more and more evidence emerges about the health risks of man made toxins, it is clear that we need to encourage public policies that will bring Canadian environmental health standards up to par with the best international practices.

The David Suzuki Foundation published a report recently called Northern Exposure, which counts the thousands of Canadians that have suffered from acute poisoning from pesticides. The report is a wake-up call to federal and provincial governments to take action to protect Canadians from the dangers of pesticides.

"More than 5,500 Canadians are acutely poisoned by pesticides each year, resulting in calls to poison control centres, visits to emergency wards, and hospitalizations. These severe poisonings occur after exposure to a single dose of pesticide - through inhalation, eating, drinking, or direct contact with eyes or skin."

alt "Acute pesticide poisoning occurs when an individual develops adverse health effects immediately after being exposed toa pesticide or pesticides. Exposure canbe via breathing, eating, drinking, or direct contact with the eyes or skin. Acute pesticide poisoning can harm the levitra tablets australia eyes, skin, gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, liver, kidneys, and blood. In extreme cases death may occur (a very rare occurrence in Canada, although not in developing countries).

Pesticide exposures account for only a small per-centage of total poisonings in Canada. The two leading causes of poisoning for the population as a whole are cleaning products and cosmetics, common household items that often contain toxic substances. The leading cause of poisoning for young children is medication."

All of these substances have become common place in our society and to a great extent we have taken their existence for granted. The study documented only incidents that were serious enough to require medical attention. Yet what was a little surprising was how many Canadians were seriously impacted by these toxic substances.

"We found that more than 6,000 Canadians are acutely poisoned by pesticides every year, resulting in calls to poison control centres, visits to emergency wards, and hospitalizations. Disturbingly, more than 2,800 children under the age of six suffer acute pesticide poisoning in Canada annually. That is the equivalent of more than 100 kindergarten classes or 50 school buses filled with toddlers and young children who are poisoned by pesticides in Canada every year."

If these are the just acute responses it is not much wonder that patricides have been associated with so many slower developing conditions as well.

Northern Exposure offered a series of recommendations aimed at reducing the risks of pesticide poisoning in Canada.They offered seven key recommendations, that were explained in more detail in the report but in essence of their recommendations were the following:

alt "1. Require all pesticide products to be sold in child resistantcontainers to minimize risk of accidental exposure.
2. Increase funding to poison control centres withrevenue to be raised, in part, through a specialsurcharge on all pesticides.
3. Implement a national poisoning preventionprogram with the following central elements:
  • Designation of all poisonings, including pesticide poisonings, as reportable events
  • Implementation of the Prod Tox program that was shelved in 2002
  • Creation of a national poisonings database.
4. Ban the use and sale of lawn and cialis without prescription brand name update gardenpesticides.
5. Terminate the registration of all pesticideproducts where the active ingredient has beenbanned in another OECD country because ofhealth or environmental concerns.
6. Establish a national environmental healthtracking system that includes pesticidepoisonings.
7. Recognize Canadians’ right to live in a healthy environment."

It is pretty clear we need our governments to take the big picture to heart and develops the public policies needed to protect our citizens and our environment from the unwanted damage that pesticides cause to both. If you feel strongly about this take action by writing your representatives an letting them know how you feel.
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