Environmental attorney and author of a recently published environmental book, David R. Boyd advised his audience at the University of Manitoba in Sept. of 2015, that Canada was in need of vast improvements in its environmental laws and regulations protecting health and environment. The lecture, as reported by The Manitoban, was hosted by the university's faculty of law.
Speaking about his new book, "Cleaner, Greener, Healthier: A Prescription for Stronger Canadian Environmental Laws and Policies," Boyd addressed topics related to environmental hazards, including exposure to indoor air contaminated by radon. Boyd stated that between 2,000 and 3,000 Canadians die every year of lung cancer caused by breathing air with elevated levels of the toxic gas. Radon gas, a known carcinogen, is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
An adjunct professor in resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University and environmental activist, Boyd expressed concern for the lack of government attention to pollution in the environment. He further stated that he feels it is the basic constitutional right of every Canadian citizen to expect to live in a healthy environment.
Boyd's book explores four basic categories: environmental pollution and degradation on respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and birth defects. Basing research on methodology similar to that used by the World Health Organization, Boyd found that between 10,000 and 25,000 deaths each year, and between 80,000 and 200,000 hospital patients are attributed to people with pre-existing respiratory disorders.
Additionally, Boyd advised the audience that about the same number that filled the auditorium at the MTS Centre for his talk, around 16,000 people, would die prematurely in Canada this year as a result of exposure to environmental hazards.
Optimistic and hopeful, Boyd shared insight from his book "Optimistic Environmentalist" about opportunities that exist with solar energy, urging the University of Manitoba to install solar panels on campus buildings. He also suggested that the Canadian government create stronger guidelines to limit environmental damage.
Boyd concluded with the statement that, "The way forward is to recognize that all Canadians have the right to live in a healthy environment and to put forward a national environmental health action plan with swift action that will enable us to catch up with environmental leaders like the European Union."