The Constitutionality of Toxic Substances Regulation Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

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After World War II, there was a chemical explosion. New chemicals were introduced into the market place in unprecedented numbers and in large quantities. While many of the chemicals were beneficial, the risks they posed to human health and the environment were unknown. Long latency periods, subclinical effects, selective impacts and irreversible outcomes made it difficult to identify and rectify damage caused by the chemicals? In the absence of uniform national regulations, many chemicals were transported across provincial and national borders. Sometimes spills occurred. Finally, the chemicals had to be disposed of after their useful lives. Since chemical wastes were viewed as a by-product of economic growth, their disposal was left to industry with little governmental regulation. Industrial pollution was dealt with in a reactive manner. That is, the focus was on cleaning up the mess rather than on preventing the problem.

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