Consultation on the update to the national implementation plan on persistant organic pollutants: chapter 4


Chapter 4 - Chemicals Subject to Restricted Use: Specific Exemptions and Articles in Use

Specific Exemptions

In order to enable Parties to the Stockholm Convention to take measures to reduce or eliminate releases of POPs from intentional production and use in conformity with Article 3, for which alternatives do not exist yet or are not readily available, the Convention allows Parties to obtain specific exemptions, e.g., exemptions that are specific to a chemical, a country and a use. These exemptions are included in the Convention to allow a phase-out period, during which time Parties can eliminate production and use, and introduce substitute substances and processes. The time period for an exemption is five years after the date of entry into force of the amendment for a Party for the particular chemical. Upon request and in special circumstances, the COP may choose to extend the expiry date of a specific exemption for a period of up to five years.

A public register[19] of specific exemptions is maintained by the Secretariat. In conformity with the requirements of Article 4.2, the register includes:

(a) a list of the types of specific exemptions reproduced from Annex A and Annex B;
(b) a list of the Parties that have a specific exemption listed under Annex A or Annex B; and
(c) a list of the expiry dates for each registered specific exemption.

Parties may, at any time, withdraw an entry from the Register if and when the POP is no longer used or produced in that country.

Canada's Registered Exemptions

Canada has registered a number of specific exemptions for use and/or production:

Annex A chemicals

Lindane: Although there is minimal use of lindane in Canada, Canada claimed a specific exemption permitting its use as a human health pharmaceutical for the control of head lice and scabies as a second line treatment. Second line treatment refers to when recommendations of public health authorities do not mention lindane in the first three recommended treatment options for lice. Canada's specific exemption expires on April 4th, 2016, although the use of lindane will be phased out before the end of this 5 year exemption period based on cooperation with the two companies in Canada that produced lindane-based pharmaceuticals.

Tetra-BDE, Penta-BDE, Hexa-BDE and Hepta-BDE: While production and use have been phased out (please refer to Chapter 3 for domestic actions), materials or articles containing the C-OctaBDE and C-PentaBDE commercial mixtures may still be found in Canada and therefore, PBDEs may be present in articles that are recycled.  As such, Canada has claimed the exemption for the recycling of articles and the use and disposal of articles manufactured from recycled materials. The Conference of the Parties will review the need for this exemption based on the progress made by Parties in removing these substances from their recycling activities.  The exemption expires in 2030, unless the Conference of the Parties decides to amend the Convention to remove the exemption earlier.

Annex B chemicals

PFOS: Canada has notified the Secretariat[20] of the intention to produce and/or use PFOS for the following acceptable purposes, in accordance with Part III of Annex B:

  • photo imaging
  • photo resist and anti-reflective coatings for semi-conductors
  • etching agent for compound semi-conductors and ceramic filters
  • aviation hydraulic fluids
  • metal plating (hard metal plating) only in closed-loop systems
  • fire fighting foam.

Canada also claimed specific exemptions permitting its use or as an intermediate in the production of chemicals with the following specific uses:

  • as photo masks in the semiconductor and liquid crystal display (LCD) industries,
  • metal plating (hard metal plating) and
  • metal plating (decorative plating).

In claiming the specific exemptions for the use of PFOS in metal plating, Canada noted that the exemption is only needed until 2013[21].

Articles in Use Prior to Date of Entry into Force

The Stockholm Convention also allows registration for Articles in Use exemptions[22]. Pursuant to note (ii) of Annexes A and B, Parties to the Stockholm Convention can notify the Secretariat that they wish to have specific Articles in Use (i.e. chemicals occurring as constituents of articles manufactured or already in use before or on the date of entry into force of the particular amendment for them; April 4th, 2011 for Canada) considered as not being listed in Annex A or B. Consequently, this would relieve that Party of the relevant Stockholm obligations.

(ii) This note shall not be considered as a production and use specific exemption for purposes of paragraph 2 of Article 3. Quantities of a chemical occurring as constituents of articles manufactured or already in use before or on the date of entry into force of the relevant obligation with respect to that chemical, shall not be considered as listed in this Annex, provided that a Party has notified the Secretariat that a particular type of article remains in use within that Party. The Secretariat shall make such notifications publicly available;

Canada has notified the Secretariat for Articles in Use for the following new POPs:

Annex A chemicals

Lindane: Canada notified and registered for human health pharmaceutical for the control of head lice and scabies as a second line treatment as Articles in Use.

Hexa-BDE, Hepta-BDE: Canada notified and registered for products containing acrylonitrile butadiene (ABS) plastics such as electronic equipment as Articles in Use. While manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of Hexa-BDE is prohibited and the manufacture of Hepta-BDE is prohibited, articles containing these chemicals could still be in use in Canada.

Tetra-BDE, Penta-BDE: Canada has notified and registered for textile and foam-based products such as mattresses, furniture and carpet backing as Articles in Use. While manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of Tetra-BDE and Penta-BDE is prohibited, articles containing these chemicals could still be in use in Canada.

Annex B chemicals

PFOS: Canada has notified and registered for aqueous film forming foams (AFFFs) as Articles in Use. As mentioned earlier (see Chapter 3), although the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations, restricts the import, production and purchase of PFOS and products containing PFOS, the intent in notifying for this Article in Use is to allow stakeholders to use up remaining stockpiles of PFOS-based AFFFs. Under these regulations, remaining stockpiles of PFOS-based AFFFs will be phased out by 2013.

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