Statements by the minister on decision by 3M to phase out perfluorooctanyl chemistry

OTTAWA -- May 16, 2000 -- David Anderson, Minister of Environment and Allan Rock, Minister of Health today announced initial actions in response to 3M's decision to phase out the perfluorooctanyl chemistry used in some specialty materials by the end of this year.

Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), the government began efforts last year to categorize 23,000 substances used in Canadian commerce for potential threats to the environment or human health. In this process, 7 substances from a class of commercial chemicals - perfluoroalkyl (PFA) substances, which includes perfluorooctanyl chemicals - were identified for further analysis. PFAs are a large class of chemicals used in a wide range of consumer and household products. In March, Canada learned that the US Environmental Protection Agency was also examining this class of chemicals.

In the coming weeks, Health Canada and Environment Canada officials will use the authorities in CEPA to identify all manufacturers and importers of the chemicals and gather information on Canadian usage and toxicological information.

Canada will protect its citizens and their environment from the threat of any toxic substance and will use regulatory authorities under CEPA should that prove necessary.

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