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In 2003, the United Nations Environment Program published a Global Mercury Assessment Report, confirming (if there was any doubt) that mercury is highly toxic, causing significant health and environmental impacts around the world.

So why haven’t we done more? I am always sad when I see children with those “cute” shoes that flash on and off as they run- what a reason to put poisons in their clothes!

The federal government used to fend off activists, saying they could do no more about mercury. Three years ago, Pollution Probe answered this excuse, by retaining our firm to prepare a legal opinion showing federal and provincial governments that they could ban mercury, e.g. in consumer products. In late 2010, Environment Canada finally released its Risk Management Strategy for Mercury. And a ban on unnecessary mercury in consumer products is in sight at last. But 95% of the mercury that threatens Canadians now comes from outside the country, nearly half of it from China.

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The more you understand, the easier it is to manage well.

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