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Government of Canada announces action plan to protect firefighters from harmful chemicals


Ontario: Fighting fires is essential and dangerous work. In addition to the physical hazards faced by firefighters, some household products become more dangerous when they burn. In particular, firefighters can be exposed to toxic substances, such as certain harmful flame retardants in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and electronic devices, when responding to a fire. The Government of Canada has heard concerns from firefighters and stakeholders, and is taking action to protect these first responders in their lifesaving work.

Today, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced a comprehensive action plan to protect firefighters from harmful chemicals released during household fires.

The plan includes actions to:

Ban harmful chemical flame retardants;
Support the development and use of safe flame retardants, including less harmful alternatives to chemical flame retardants in household products;
Conduct research and monitoring to assess levels of exposure;
Identify practices for firefighters to reduce harm, such as improvements to personal protective equipment; and
Share information and raise awareness.
Federal action to address flame retardants is part of the Chemicals Management Plan, a Government of Canada initiative aimed at reducing the risks posed by chemicals to Canadians and their environment. The Government of Canada will work with stakeholders as it implements its plan and continue to inform the public on milestones moving forward.

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