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Chemicals management plan.

In December 2006, the federal government announced a new plan for the management of chemicals in Canada. There are a number of facets to this plan that are summarized below.

Since 1994, the manufacturing or import of new chemicals into Canada has been subject to the New Substances Notification (NSN) regulations. These require that companies provide data to Environment Canada and Health Canada so that these co-administrators of the NSN can decide whether or not there are health or environmental concerns pertaining to the new chemical. However, there was a legacy list of 23,000 chemicals, known as the Domestic Substances List (DSL), that were in commerce prior to the introduction of the NSN regulations. These substances had not been subject to any formal screening criteria. In the fall of 2006, Environment Canada and Health Canada completed their review of the substances on the DSL. The review examined their persistence in the environment, tendency for bioaccumulation, inherent toxicity, and potential for exposure to the population. A number of follow-up actions resulted from that review.

There were 60 substances for which the government announced plans to initiate actions to prohibit their manufacture or import into Canada. These include a family of polybrominated diphenylether flame retardants (PBDE), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and its salts and its precursors used in non-stick coatings and repellants, pentrachlorobenzenes, tetrachlorobenzenes, and 2-methoxyethanol.

There were another 200 substances of high priority for assessment identified. The intent is to challenge industry to provide information on these substances to prove that they are being used in a manner that does not compromise human health or the environment. These challenges will be done in batches of 15 to 30 chemicals every 3 months. Industry will have 6 months to provide input. In cases where no input is received, or where Environment Canada and/or Health Canada deems the information non-convincing, these substances will be slated for listing on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environment Protection Act (CEPA 99). From there, they could progress to prohibition or risk management plans, as appropriate.

There were another 148 substances identified that would have been a high priority to assess, but according to government information, these are not currently in commerce in Canada. These substances will stay on the DSL, but with a significant new activity (SNAc) flag attached to them. The government would need to be advised, and provide permission, before these substances could be used again in Canada.

There were another 150 substances that posed concern to human health. The government will ensure exposures do not increase by applying limits on their future use.

There were 1,200 substances of lower concern that nonetheless met some of the categorization criteria. These will be subject to a rapid screening risk assessment to determine which of the 1,200 are truly in need of additional study. It is expected that the majority will be found to pose no risk.

One substance, hexachlorobutadiene, will become the first to be placed on the Virtual Elimination list, meaning that it will become the intent of the government to reduce releases to levels below the measurable limit, also taking into account social, economic, technical, and risk considerations.

One substance, 2-butoxyethanol, used in cleaning and paint products, will have restrictions placed on its use. Changes to the Pest Control Products Act include the re-evaluation of 200 older pesticides according to newer, more stringent health and environmental standards. More detailed information about the plan can be found at www.chemicalsubstances.gc.ca

While not part of the Chemical Management Plan, a closely allied initiative is an intent to remove 1,105 substances from the DSL because they did not meet the necessary conditions for placement on the list in the first place, in the view of government. If companies believe substances have been placed in this group in error, they have 6 months to provide information to demonstrate that these substances qualify to remain on the DSL. Details on the options that exist for companies accompanied the notice in Canada Gazette I on November 11, 2006 and can be accessed at www. canadagazette.gc.ca/partI/2006/20061111/ html/index-e.html.

Industry Canada
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Title Annotation:NEWS / NOUVELLES
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:691
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