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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Canadian toxic chemical policy Sturdy, John Robert


This thesis examines the existing constraints and opportunities that shape present and future chemical control. It argues that a lack of adequate and accessible information is the limiting factor and presents steps to expand those limits. Federal and provincial jurisdictions were examined., Governments were found to have adequate power to regulate all aspects of the problem including enabling legislation, regulations and guidelines, information access and compensation. The impediments to regulation are not therefore, constitutional but rather the large number of chemicals and the lack of a method to choose candidates for control. A pre-market strategy is necessary to establish priorities for control among the many chemicals posing a potential hazard. Hazard was described as a function of the exposure to a chemical and the consequences of that exposure. Thus, chemicals with large exposure and harmful consequences would be candidates for control while, conversely, chemicals with little exposure and negligible consequences would not. The necessity for information on those in between would be determined from the extent of exposure or of hazard known. Approaches to transform public opinion and scientific knowledge into standards for chosen candidates was examined. No method of arriving at an optimal standard was found. Therefore, judgment is necessary. To aid in arriving at acceptable standards a consultative approach with government, industry and the public as participants was suggested. Rational decisions would be aided by the availability of adequate information. To provide the necessary information an information system is advocated. Three model systems were reviewed. Deficiencies were analyzed and prescriptions for design improvements were made. Some of the key points discussed are compatibility, standardization of data, storage and retrieval problems, organization and confidentiality.

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