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Health & Environment

Canadians increasingly recognize that a contaminated environment can hurt our health. In fact, according to a Health Canada poll, more than half of Canadians believe that environmental contamination has already hurt their health. Cancer rates are rising. Asthma is an epidemic and toxic waste sites, like the Sydney Tar Ponds, languish while neighbours fall ill.

Childhood cancers have increased by 26 percent overall, while the incidence of particular cancers has increased still more. Since 1971 acute lymphocytic leukemia has increased 62 percent, brain cancer by 50 percent, and the incidence of bone cancer by 40 percent. Testicular cancer, primarily in young men, has increased 300 percent. Breast cancer rates are an epidemic, with the lifetime risk for Canadian women rising to one in nine today.

After 30 years, one is entitled to ask why we are losing the war against cancer. The answer is likely that we have focused our resources on only part of the problem. In fact, the funding has been directed nearly entirely to the lab coat work of finding a cure. (Read more about this issue here.)

Virtually ignored has been the pursuit of and elimination of the potential causes of the disease. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” has been turned on its head. That pound of cure is viewed as more valuable than any amount of prevention.

The horrible secret of the war against cancer is that working towards prevention (exposing the causes of cancer) will cut into the profits of those who sell “the cure.”

Sierra Club of Canada works to deliver a healthier environment for a healthy population by encouraging bans on toxic pesticide use for frivolous purposes, the clean up of toxic sites, reduction at source of dangerous substances and promoting both safe and sustainable agriculture.



Safe Food and Sustainable Agriculture




Food Irradiation Ignores Serious Risks

Food irradiation exposes foods to gamma radiation in order to increase storage life, allowing importers and distributors to ship foods further and store them longer. However, contrary to the conclusions of Health Canada, many believe that there are serious risks and drawbacks to the use of this technology.

Sierra Club of Canada National Office