Here's a great story of persistent advocacy and creative strategy.  Canada announced last week it has formally added BPA ( Bisphenol A) to the list of toxic substances.  BPA is found in clear hard plastic containers and toys, the lining of soft drink, fruit and vegetable cans, newsprint and cash register receipts. 

No other government in the world has taken such a strong stand and Canada's leadership will ripple around the world.  Full credit to Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice. Even more to the advocates who lobbied for BPA to be purged form the manufacturing system.  Their campaign started with baby bottles then our water bottles.  That was two years ago.  Now that BPA is on the toxic list it can and likely will become the subject to legal action. Voluntary compliance without regulatory controls are just as likely.  Food and beverage manufacturers can read the writing on the wall.

Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence who led the campaign expects BPA will be removed from every food and vegetable container in a few years.

Here's the essence of the federal announcement:

"Health Canada considers that sufficient evidence relating to human health has been presented to justify the conclusion that bisphenol A is harmful to human life and should be added to Schedule 1 of [the Canadian Environmental Protection Act]," the federal government reported in the Canada Gazette.

"It's a great victory for every mom and dad who sent a letter to their MP demanding that the federal government do a better job protecting the health of Canadians," Smith said. Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/10/13/bpa-toxic.html?ref=rss#ixzz12qldYwMu

One of the many creative strategies Rick used was co-writing with Bruce Lourie, Slow Death by Rubber Duck -How the Toxic Chemistry of Every Day Life affects Our Health.  an expos√© on the various toxins present in their and our bodies.  Here's a U-tube introduction.  Rick is a natural story teller and his tale of how, and what, he drank from a baby bottle for a few days dramatically raised his BPA levels, is amusing and chilling.  Especially when you consider who normally drinks from them.   And yes Rubber Ducky – you may make bath time fun but you are composed of toxic substances our children or adults shouldn't be chewing on.  So you are no longer the one.

Rick is worth watching he is consistently successful with his environmental efforts. His secret: good sense of humour; careful arduous research; excellent framing and communication skills which make data and information accessible to us and the media; creative campaigns that grab everyone's attention; straight forward actions we can all take; unrelenting passion and a couple of sons who would like their rubber duckies back – once they have been purged of toxic chemicals.

Finally, the only dissenters were lobbyists for the American chemical industry who condemned Canada's move.  Maybe they visited Environmental Defence's  Toxic Nation website and are worried they are building too much momentum?

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