Why I became an Eco-LeaderBy Dr. Ian Simpson
I was aware of environmental health issues early in my life, as my father’s family was a coal mining family. I knew about mine disasters, broken limbs, coal miners’ lung disease and TB. Throughout my years as a physician working in London (UK) and Newfoundland, I have encountered many more health issues related to the way we treat our environment.
My life story tells me that we must be on our alert; and recent studies and research tell me that some – perhaps many – of the 50- 60,000 chemicals introduced into our environment since WW2 are causing some of our most intractable illnesses.
Since the Ontario College of Family Physicians research paper reviewing the literature on the relationship between pesticides and human health, I have become active with a Coalition group in trying to get a ban on cosmetic pesticides in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I became an Eco-Leader after seeing how much help CAPE was for our coalition. Finally after several years of writing to newspapers, and to Ministers of Health, and Ministers of the Environment, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has banned the sale and use of five harmful cosmetic pesticides in municipal and residential areas.
CAPE brings the voice of the health community to the decision-making table and we’ve learned that when doctors speak-up, politicians listen. Physicians should be involved in educating firstly ourselves, then our patients and communities, and we should be prepared to be advocates for public health. This is why I support CAPE’s work and am proud to be an Eco-Leader.