Issue Date: April 13, 2009
Ontario Seeks To Cut Use Of Toxic Chemicals
Canada's most populous province is trying to push manufacturers into reducing their use of toxic chemicals. Under legislation proposed last week by Ontario's Liberal government, companies would be required to track and report their use of toxic chemicals, as well as develop plans to cut their use of the substances. However, the measure does not force businesses to implement any of the measures. "They do not have to follow that plan immediately," Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen said at a news conference. "But as a result of the public pressures that will be applied from the reporting of those plans, we feel that in the long run, that is the better way to go than to come up with mandatory targets." Ontario plans to provide $24 million to help industries find green chemistry alternatives and reduce the use of toxic chemicals in their operations. Ontario's proposed Toxics Reduction Act of 2009 is modeled after a law enacted by Massachusetts in 1989 that led to a 50% cut in the use of hazardous substances by companies there over 10 years. Health, environment, and labor organizations support the legislation, but it is opposed by the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association, which says it duplicates risk reduction efforts already under way by the federal government.
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