The Chemical Elimination, Substitution and Reduction Initiative

Amy Elefson.
Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour (JSTL), Government of Alberta.

The line between occupational and environmental contaminants is difficult to distinguish. Hazardous chemicals present in our workplaces are emitted into our air, water and soil which collectively contribute to the chemical exposure burden of Albertans. Exposure to hazardous chemicals has been linked in the scientific literature to a wide range of health disorders including cancer, respiratory diseases, dermatitis and heart disease among many others.

The Chemical Elimination, Substitution and Reduction (CESR) initiative aims to reduce the risk of chemical exposure to Albertans in the workplace, and thereby the environment and public health, while promoting the competitive advantage of Alberta industries.

One aspect of CESR is to understand existing governmental policies related to commercial chemicals that have been identified in order to recognize potential gaps and opportunities in current Government of Alberta policies. A scan and summary of Government of Alberta policies related to commercial chemicals has commenced and will be discussed.

In addition, the way in which chemical lists like the “Red List” are determined and used has been explored. Moreover, formaldehyde, a chemical included on the “Red List”, has been identified as a priority chemical for research regarding possible bio-based replacements. Currently formaldehyde alternatives for formaldehyde-free adhesive resins used in the construction industry are being explored, along with potential opportunities for Alberta businesses to produce the alternatives from renewable resources available in the province.