These costs of inaction are usually not taken into account when new environmental legislation is proposed. Usually opponents of such legislation focus on the costs of new environmental laws on industries, and consumers. Rarely do the benefits of a healthier population (and the costs savings that go along with such regulations) get properly included in any cost benefit analysis.
Canadians are awash in toxic chemicals — and it is costing our health care system up to $9.1 billion and 1.5 million hospital days annually, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia Trudeau Scholar David Boyd.
The research is the first to measure the magnitude of adverse health effects caused by exposure to environmental hazards such as air pollution, pesticides, dioxins, heavy metals, flame retardants and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) for Canada.
Published online this week in the journal Environmental Research, the study estimates that environmental pollutants cause as many as 25,000 deaths, 24,000 new cases of cancer and 2,500 low birth-weight babies in Canada every year.
The findings highlight Canada’s weak environmental health regulations, says Boyd, a PhD Candidate in UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES), who co-authored the paper with the University of Alberta’s Dr. Stephen Genuis.