Huffpost Canada ca
Yoni Freedhoff M.D.  Headshot

Health Canada's Cadmium-Coated Hypocrisy

Posted: Updated:

Yesterday Health Canada proposed a guideline to limit cadmium in children's jewelry.

Why?

Because if kids accidentally ingest it, cadmium carries with it a number of medical risks.

In my opinion, it should be banned; after all that's what governments are supposed to do with toxins. Here's our Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq's take on a government's role:

"Consumer products that pose a danger to human health or safety may not be manufactured, distributed, imported or sold in Canada. This proposed guideline makes our expectations of industry clear."

So why then are trans fats not banned?

According to Sally Brown, chair of Health Canada's Trans Fat Task Force, trans fats are a "toxic" killer that should be removed from the food chain as soon as possible, and "the longer we wait, the more illness and in fact death will happen, so we know we have to get it out of our food supply."

"There is no safe amount of trans consumption," she added.

Tony Clement, the then Minister of Health said in June 2007 (in a speech that I can no longer find on Health Canada's websites) that if in two years a voluntary approach didn't remove the substance from our food supply, regulations would be put in place.

And here we are, over two years past that overly generous deadline, and Health Canada's guideline to limit cadmium, this despite the fact that I've found that the harmful substance Canadian children are most likely to ingest is trans fat (adults too).

In my opinion, if Health Canada actually cared about our health, trans fats would have been gone back in 2007, no voluntary free pass, and no lip service about potential regulations.

I believe that the only reason trans fat isn't gone is because politically, it's more challenging to do, and I think that at the end of the day it would seem as if Health Canada cares more about politics, than it does about the health of Canadian children.

Thank goodness there's no powerful pro-cadmium jewelry lobby here, because if there were, it would likely still be hanging around too.

Around the Web

Canada to crack down on cadmium in kids' jewelry

Feds crack down on toxic cadmium in kids jewelry

Orders of the Day - Good news, Northern Ontario: Tony Clement is coming to ...

Cadmium in children's jewelry faces crackdown - Canada - CBC News

CTV Edmonton - Ottawa moves to ban cadmium in children's jewelry ...