Article by Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail
A top U.S. toxicologist is questioning Canada’s response to a tainted-cannabis problem in the medical-marijuana sector, saying patients aren’t being given accurate information on the risks associated with a banned pesticide thousands of people may have consumed.
Warren Porter, a specialist in molecular and environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says company phone calls and e-mails, approved by Health Canada, to patients after a series of recent product recalls are misleading, and appear to be based on faulty science.
Mettrum Ltd. and OrganiGram Inc. have sent messages to customers over the past two months informing them that products they had purchased were being recalled because of the presence of banned pesticides, including myclobutanil – a fungicide known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated.
In those messages, both companies have played down the risk to consumers, saying they were only exposed to small amounts of the banned chemical. “Rest assured, this material is not deemed to present a health risk,” a letter to Mettrum’s clients said.
OrganiGram sent a letter to clients informing them “the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote,” while Health Canada has referred to the amounts of banned pesticide detected as “trace amounts” that are “low risk.”