For a good game of whack-a-mole, you need a mallet, some holes and, naturally, a mole. Then you whack, wait, repeat. It's sort of the way governments on both sides of the border have been dealing with toxic flame retardants over the past decade - ban one, then another, and wait till their replacements prove so persistently toxic they have to be banned, too. Unfortunately, new data published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology reveals that a new generation of flame retardants is already proving troublesome.
The study of 21 mothers and their toddlers found a metabolite of a flame retardant known as TDCIPP (common in polyurethane-foam-stuffed couches, cushions, even nursing pillows) in 100 per cent of them. The kids, on average, had nearly five times higher levels of the metabolite than their moms.
California lists TDCIPP as an official carcinogen. Though back in january, the state overhauled its laws so that flame-retardant chems are no longer mandatory to meet flammability standards.
Since even canadian manufacturers tend to follow cali's lead on this, consumers should finally be able to request flame-retardant-free foam furnishings. Be sure to probe before you buy.
Doctors call for national coal phase-out
Ontario's electrical grid may be officially coal-free after Thunder bay generating facility burned its last supply of coal in april, but the Canadian Medical Association says we can't stop there. It's calling for a nationwide phase-out of coal-fired power within 10 years.
Coal-fired power plants are still amongst the largest industrial air polluters and greenhouse gas emitters in Canada, coughing out climate-cooking CO2 as well as nitrogen oxides, smoggy sulphur dioxide, lead, mercury and other heavy metals. In Alberta alone, where two-thirds of electricity still comes from coal, the health costs of burning that particular fossil fuel have been pegged at $300 million a year.
The feds say they're already planning a coal phase-out - for 48 years from now in 2062. if you side with canada's doctors in wanting tougher action sooner, let your mp know.