We represent the leading researchers in Canada, both in academia (McGill, RI-MUHC, Laval, Western Ontario and York Universities) and government (Health Canada), who are investigating the properties of “green” plasticizers and their environmental fate and then proceeding to the next step, the comparison of these putative replacement compounds with the current industry standard, the phthalates.
This outstanding team is truly interdisciplinary, made up of experts in the manufacturing, testing and biodegradation of plastics (Maric, Leask, Yargeau and Cooper), complemented with world-recognized male reproductive system researchers (Robaire, Papadopoulos, Tremblay, Culty, Chan, Nagano), toxicologist/teratologists (Hales, Wade, Yauk), an epidemiologist (Dodds) and experts in ethics and the law (Nisker, Scott, Mykitiuk). Together, this team will resolve central questions around the testing and fate of new “green” plasticizers, the impact on male reproductive health of exposure to our current plasticizers, the phthalates and their metabolites, and the ethics and regulatory issues associated with the universal presence of phthalates in our environment. To this team of academic scientists we have added colleagues from Health Canada (Wade, Yauk, and Feng) with unique expertise and perspective on toxicity testing guidelines, male germ cell genotoxicity, and the measurements of phthalates in biological fluids.
The goals of of our research are to: 1) develop “green” replacement plasticizers and determine the effects of these “green” plasticizers, as well as their metabolites, compared to DEHP and its metabolites, on the molecular targets of phthalates in cell-based testicular toxicity assays; 2) evaluate the impact of exposure to “green” replacement plasticizers on the developing and adult testis using animal models; 3) test the hypothesis that phthalates adversely affect human male reproductive health by examining the relationship between exposure and male infertility; and 4) explore the ethical, legal and regulatory obligations of stakeholders affected by phthalates, including industry, regulators, and the general public, with workshops, focus groups, and interviews.
The complementary knowledge and expertise each of us brings to this project, combined with the proven track of our working together in various permutations over many years, makes us confident that our team is made up of the right “people to get the job done”. We truly enjoy working together, as manifested by the extent to which we successfully “network”.