1. Introduction

The Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (the regulations) (Canada, 2016) prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of multiple toxic substances and products containing these substances with a limited number of exemptions.

On October 13, 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC) published a Notice of Intent to amend the Regulations to further restrict three oil and water repellents (perfluorooctane sulfonate, its salts and its precursors (PFOS), perflurooctanoic acid, its salts and its precursors (PFOA), long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids, their salts and their precursors (LC-PFCA)), and two flame retardants (hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)). The amendments would also prohibit two additional flame retardants (Dechlorane Plus (DP) and decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE)) should their final screening assessment reports confirm that they are toxic under section 64 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA).

Of these seven substances, the five that are already restricted by the regulations are toxic to the environment, persistent and/or bioaccumulative and are transported long distances; they are persistent organic pollutants. Some of the substances are also toxic to health. Further restricting these substances under the regulations would help achieve the environmental objective of reducing their concentrations in the Canadian environment to the lowest level possible.

The draft screening assessment reports for two flame retardants, DP and DBDPE, published in October 2016, proposed to conclude that DP and DBDPE are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic to the environment as well.

Chemical contaminants, such as flame retardants and oil and water repellents, are one of the key threats facing the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale and the Saint Lawrence Estuary Beluga. Further restricting the five groups of substances already managed by the regulations and prohibiting the two new substances would also help protect these whales.

The objective of this consultation is to inform and solicit comments from stakeholders on the proposed regulatory approach for amending the regulations. Comments received will be considered in the development of proposed regulatory amendments to the regulations.

In addition to comments on the proposed regulatory amendments, ECCC welcomes comments and suggestions regarding changes to the regulations to improve its readability.

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