Risk management strategy for perfluorooctane sulfonate and its salts and precursors: chapter 1

1. Issue

Ecological and human health screening assessments were undertaken on perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), its salts and its precursors under the categorization and screening assessment provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). The screening assessments were undertaken on the basis that some of these compounds were included in the Domestic Substances List (DSL) pilot list for screening based on their meeting the CEPA 1999 criteria for persistence and/or bioaccumulation and inherent toxicity, and in response to a request from a citizen to the Minister of the Environment to add these compounds to the Priority Substances List (PSL).

On July 1, 2006, the final ecological screening assessment report was published in Part I of the Canada Gazette. Based on the available data, the ecological screening assessment report concludes that PFOS, its salts and its precursors are entering into the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity. It is also concluded that PFOS and its salts meet the criteria for persistence according to the CEPA 1999 Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations. The weight of scientific evidence is sufficient to conclude that PFOS and its salts are bioaccumulative but the relevant data for these substances do not meet the numeric criteria for bioaccumulation as defined in the CEPA 1999 Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations. Therefore, PFOS and its salts do not meet the conditions set out under subsection 77(3) for mandatory addition to the Virtual Elimination list.

The final ecological screening assessment report concludes that PFOS, its salts and its precursors are considered to meet the criteria set out in section 64(a) of CEPA 1999. The draft 2004 human health screening assessment report concludes that PFOS, its salts and its precursors do not meet the criteria set out in section 64(c) of CEPA 1999.

The Ministers of the Environment and Health must now propose a CEPA 1999 control instrument respecting preventative or control action to manage these substances no later than July 1, 2008. Furthermore, the proposed instrument must be implemented within 18 months thereafter.

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