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As a society we have seen cancer rates in Canada increase by 1% each and every year. Increasing awareness of high-risk products to protect Canadians from unnecessary health risks is paramount to Sierra Club Canada’s Health and Environment program area.

The immediate needs of those living in toxic sites such as the Sydney Tar ponds, fall under the Toxics and Human Health program. Sierra Club Canada has demonstrated a continued commitment to the problem of toxic sites in Canada by encouraging the federal government to create a Clean Canada Fund to clean up toxic areas.

The Toxics and Human Health program is committed to supporting, assisting and protecting the citizens of contaminated communities like those in Sydney, NS. A study on household dust, funded by Sierra Club of Canada, in homes surrounding Canada's worst hazardous waste sight, the Sydney tar ponds, was published in Environmental Health Perspectives. It concluded that lead, arsenic, and PAH that come from a century of industrial activity, are moving into homes. It recommends that the scope of the cleanup be extended to include the surrounding community. The residents of Sydney know all too well about the seriousness of contamination as Sydney has the highest per capital cancer rate in the nation as well as the lowest life expectancy.

The safe disposal of industrial chemicals, the phasing-out of toxic chemicals used in manufacturing and encouraging Canada to be a leader in international toxics policies are also part of our program. Many toxic chemicals which add to our body burden can be directly connected to common household products and practices. As a result our Toxics and Human Health Program area promises to educate and encourage safe alternatives to household hazardous products as well as the prevention of endocrine disruption and cancer.


  • Letter to Environment Minister on Polluntant Releases Reporting

    Sierra Club of Canada joined with 13 other organizations to call upon Federal Environment Minister John Baird to require public reporting of pollutant releases to mine tailing impoundment areas and waste rock dumps under the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). We believe the public has the right to know about the threats to their health and the environment posed by disposal of these substances.

  • Cancer and the Environment

    "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 preventing the causes of cancer will cut into the profits of those who fund the cure."

  • Asbestos and Canada / L’amiante et le Canada (pdf, 2.2 MB)
  • Asbestos Factsheet
  • Asbestos in Canadian Universities

  • Montreal Protocol at Risk

    The Montreal Protocol is an international agreement which was designed to regulate and phase-out the use of chemicals that deplete stratospheric ozone, including CFCs amd Methyl Bromide. The presence of ozone in the stratosphere (the ozone layer) helps to block harmful levels of uv radiation from reaching the ground.

    The Bush Administration is threatening the future of what has been described as “the Most Successful Environmental Treaty”.


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