The Government of Canada announced a $3.9 million investment in Canada’s largest study of environmental chemicals in pregnant women and their babies. To mark National Child Day and the one-year anniversary of the Chemicals Management Plan on December 8, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, Canada announced this important step.
The study is being funded by Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, which is contributing an additional $200,000.
The study, known as the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC), is recruiting about 2,000 women during the first trimester of pregnancy and following them through the birth of their child and up to eight weeks after birth. MIREC is a collaborative effort among Health Canada scientists, the Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, and clinical researchers from Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, Toronto and Halifax. The Sainte-Justine Hospital is the coordinating centre for the study.
“Combined with the Chemicals Management Plan, MIREC will be a valuable next step in determining the kinds and amounts of chemicals present in our environment and our bodies,” said Ken Ogilvie of Pollution Probe. “This will help protect the health of children in the years ahead.”
“This initiative will provide us with valuable baseline information so that we can measure progress over time,” said Minister Clement. “That means real accountability for Canadians when it comes to protecting their health and environment.”
“Research plays a pivotal role in informing public policy,” said Dr. William Fraser, co-principal investigator of the MIREC study at the Sainte-Justine Hospital. “The knowledge we gain from this study will help us understand the impacts of the environment on the health of Canada’s most vulnerable populations.”
This study complements the Canadian Health Measures Survey, launched nationally earlier this year, which is collecting biological samples and information on health, lifestyle and environmental chemicals from 5,000 Canadians between the ages of six and 79.
Source: Health Canada, Canada