Toxic substances list: HBCD

Hexabromocyclododecane, which has the molecular formula C12H18Br6 (HBCD), is a brominated flame retardant. Brominated flame retardants are organic compounds containing bromine that slow the ignition and spread of fire. HBCD was found primarily in polystyrene foam used as an insulation material in the building industry (approximately 99% of its use). There are also a number of other minor uses as a flame retardant, such as in textiles used for upholstered furniture and upholstered seating in transportation, and in wall coverings and draperies. It is also used in some glues, paints, adhesives and polymers contained in electronic equipment.

The final screening assessment report, published on November 12, 2011, concluded that HBCD is entering 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 (i.e., meets the criteria of section 64(a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA)). Furthermore, the available data regarding its persistence and bioaccumulation potential indicate that HBCD satisfies the criteria outlined in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations, under CEPA, and meets all other criteria to implement virtual elimination. The final screening assessment report concludes that HBCD is not a concern for human health at current levels of exposure.

In 2013, HBCD was added to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). For information on Canada's international engagement on this substance, please visit the web section on Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

The Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on October 5, 2016 prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of HBCD, as well as expanded and extruded foams and intermediary products containing HBCD used in building/construction applications.

On October 13, 2018, a Notice of intent to amend the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 was published in Canada Gazette, Part I for a 30-day public comment period that ended on November 12, 2018.

On December 20, 2018, a consultation document describing the proposed amendments to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 was published on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act Registry for a 60-day public comment period. The proposed amendments would seek to further restrict the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of certain toxic substances including HBCD.

Comments and information received in response to the notice of intent and the consultation document will be considered in the development of proposed regulations to amend the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 targeted for publication in spring 2021.

There is more than one Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number that applies to this group of substances.

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