Group Calls For Tighter Restrictions On Legacy Toxin

A toxic chemical used as a fire retardant in a wide range of products has raised concerns in both Canada and the United States.

PBDE’s (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers) have now been banned in both countries, but they’ve been used in products ranging from computers to furniture. Many of the products are still being imported into both countries and many of the produces made in North America before they were banned are still in use.

A group that is asking the International Joint Commission to impose tighter restrictions says the greatest concentrations of the chemical have been found in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario but they also say they’ve been detected all around the Great Lakes in the water and air as well as animal life.

Coastal Resources Manager with the Lake Huron Centre Geoff Peach says they’re not only toxic but they’re what is referred to as a legacy toxin; it’s been used in several products that are still with us and it lives on forever so disposal is a very difficult issue.

Peach suggests that the next step is to ban their importation into North America.

Peach adds that as the articles that contain PBDE’s are discarded they’ll collect in land fill sites and that’s not an ideal solution either so there has to be a lot more work done on a plan to get rid of them.