Prevention and Action against Cancer and Toxicants
The PACT project is an education and action initiative for community groups with the goal of sensitizing them to the dangers of toxicants in consumer products.
For this project, we will be targeting five hazardous toxicants to eliminate. We are also looking to stimulate the emergence of creative and innovative actions for a toxic-free environment. For information about the workshops, click here
Click here to see photo album of participating groups of the PACT project
Toxics chemicals in consumer products
Although further studies are needed to investigate the causal link between these chemicals and various diseases, the evidence is more than sufficient to recommend a precautionary approach concerning toxic substances in the everyday personal care products.
One of the most worrisome aspects is the cumulative effect of exposure to toxic chemicals. Indeed, Canadians use per day an average of 15 personal care products (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, makeup, hair gel, etc.) which contain more than 100 toxic ingredients, even before having their breakfast.
You and your family’s best protection is the precautionary principle. Activists use this term to express the idea that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. In other words, when there are reasonable scientific grounds for believing a process or product may not be safe, even when cause-and-effect relationships are not fully understood, preventive action must be taken.
The regulatory process in the European Union is based on the precautionary principle. The EU tests all chemical ingredients before allowing them on the market and, in addition, does not allow any that may be harmful. Compare this to Canada, where chemicals are only banned once there is enough evidence that it is harmful. The EU is an example of the precautionary principle in action.
Types of toxicants
Here are three different types of toxicants and their effects on human.
- Carcinogen: a substance or agent that is directly involved in causing cancer (e.g. asbestos)
- Reproductive toxicant: a substance that can affect reproduction for example by affecting fertility (e.g. lead)
- Endocrine disruptor: Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s hormonal system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. (e.g Phthalates)
The 5 toxics chemicals to eliminate
For this project, we will be targeting to eliminate five hazardous toxicants. To learn more about these toxicants just click on the icone.
Practical tips and safer alternatives
The Healthy House Guide aims to be a comprehensive guide of information on the sources of chemical exposures in the home, practical tips and safer alternatives for reducing those exposures, and resources for more information.
Become a knowledgeable consumer
We can’t overestimate the importance of being a knowledgeable consumer! There are responsible product manufacturers out there and there are also tools to help you make better choices in your future purchases.
Please note that “Toxic Twenty” list is not all-inclusive. There are hundreds of chemicals used in the manufacturing of cosmetics that can negatively impact particular aspects of health and should also be avoided. However, BCA-Qc decided to target twenty chemicals we find important to eliminate.
You can also visit U.S. databases such as EWG's Skin Deep and GoodGuide.
Skin Deep and GoodGuide give you the ability to search various ingredients in many brand name products. They ranks products and ingredients based on safety and inform you about the health risks associated with the use of these products.
In addition, you can decide to make your own homemade cosmetics and non-toxic household products. Here is a document that gives you some recipes you can make at home.
|Download the document||Download the document|
The purpose of the “Take Action” activist toolkit is to equip our members and all citizens with everything they need to bring about societal change through collective action. The toolkit is divided into three sections: Communicating with Government, Working with Industry and Connecting with the Media. Each section contains advice and useful tips.
Here are some ideas for actions at the individual level to contribute to the reduction of toxic substances in our lives. Remember that you have power as consumers and citizens !
- Ask lots of questions! At times it may be necessary to consult a company’s website in order to really know what goes into their products. The companies that truly care about your health will disclose this information. If the information is not on the website, then feel free to contact the company directly.
- With the knowledge you’ve acquired, take the opportunity to educate clerks, managers, and owners!
- Be sure to support companies and stores that are selling and making safe and ecological products. If you can’t find the products you want, keep asking for them – your local store will get the hint!
- Write to your MP or send letters to Health Canada. Make your concerns known to the government.