Toxic substances list: long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids

Perfluorooctanoic Acid, its salts and its precursors (PFOA) and Long-Chain (C9-C20) Perfluorocarboxylic Acids, their salts and their precursors PFCAs are industrial chemicals. In the case of Long-Chain PFCAs, they may also be formed unintentionally from human activities.

PFOA and Long-Chain PFCAs are fluorocarbon-based chemicals (consisting of fluorine bound to carbon atoms). The PFOA molecule contains 8 carbon atoms and the Long-Chain PFCAs contain between 9 and 20 carbon atoms. Both substances may also be found in salt form (e.g. PFOA ammonium salt).

These substances may be formed from the degradation or transformation of their precursors, which include parent compounds and chemical products containing PFOA or PFCAs.

The Minister of the Environment has conducted a screening assessment of PFOA, as well as of long-chain (C9-C20) PFCAs. The Minister of Health has also conducted a screening assessment of PFOA. The final reports and conclusions of these assessments were published on August 25, 2012.

These final screening assessment reports conclude that PFOA and long-chain PFCAs are entering or may be entering the environment in a quantity or a concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity. In addition, they conclude that both PFOA and long-chain PFCAs are extremely persistent and meet the criteria for persistence, but do not meet the criteria for bioaccumulation as set out in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations. Nevertheless, the weight of evidence is sufficient to conclude that both PFOA and long-chain PFCAs accumulate and biomagnify in terrestrial and marine mammals. However, it is proposed that PFOA are not entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.

The Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 were amended in 2016 to include controls on PFOA and long-chain PFCAs. The Amendments prohibit PFOA and long-chain PFCAs and products containing them, unless present in manufactured items. Time-limited exemptions and ongoing permitted uses are available for certain uses where the development of alternatives is underway or where there are currently no known alternatives.

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. These amendments would seek to further restrict the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of certain toxic substances including PFOA and LC-PFCA. Comments received on the NOI will be considered in the development of proposed regulations to amend the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012.

For more information on four new fluorotelomer-based substances, which are considered sources of PFCAs, please visit the following link on the Management of Toxic Substances Website.

For more information on Long-Chain (C9-C20) Perfluorocarboxylic Acids (PFCAs), please visit the following link on the Chemical Substances website.

For more information on Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOAs), please visit the Chemical Substances website.

There is more than one CAS number that applies to this group of substances.

Source(s)

This substance is entering the environment predominantly from the following source(s):

Risk management supporting activities

Activities supporting the development or implementation of the risk management tool(s):

Contact

Chemicals Management Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351, St-Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3
E-mail: ec.interdiction-prohibition.ec@canada.ca

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