In 2011, Canada will continue to see an increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with cancer. Every hour of every day, an average of 20 people will be diagnosed with some type of cancer and eight people will die from cancer. Men have a 45% lifetime probability (or one in 2.2 chance) of developing cancer. This means that nearly one in two men is expected to develop cancer during his lifetime. Similarly, women have a 40% probability (or one in 2.5 chance) of developing cancer in their lifetime.*

Currently over 430 chemicals are considered by the World Health Organization to be possible or known carcinogens. Many of these are used in manufacturing processes and products. Workers, communities and consumers have a right to know when they are exposed to known or suspected carcinogens. There are thousands of other chemicals associated with negative health impacts other than cancer, but which may contribute to a person developing this disease. The most vulnerable populations in our society, workers, children, developing fetus, people of low income, and people with chemical sensitivities may be at greater risk from the impacts of toxic chemicals such as carcinogens. We urgently need to reverse this situation. We need to take regulatory measures that will keep these chemicals out of our consumer products.

This petition is a small but vital part in increasing our right to know and promoting safe products in Canada. A product that contains a suspected or known carcinogen must be labelled with a clearly recognizable symbol. Our right to information should not be based on the government’s assessment of safe exposure levels. We have the right to know when such a chemical is in a product we buy. We know that change is possible because responsible product manufacturers are phasing out the use of hazardous chemicals and replacing them with safer substitutes. More information given to consumers and the public will speed this transition to clean products and greener chemical ingredients.

*Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011. Canadian Cancer Society.

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