Toxic substances list: PBDEs

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of substances used as flame retardants in a wide variety of products. PBDEs are not manufactured in Canada but are imported into Canada as commercial mixtures and added to various intermediate and finished products, such as computer housings, household appliances, furniture, automotive/aircraft seating and interiors, and a variety of electrical and electronic components. Releases of PBDEs to the environment can occur during manufacturing and processing operations, throughout the service life of articles containing PBDEs, and when articles that contain PBDEs are disposed of.

PBDEs were identified as a high priority for action in the Chemicals Management Plan, as announced by the Government in December 2006. Following the screening assessments of the Ministers of the Environment and Health, published on July 1, 2006, PBDEs have been identified as 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., “toxic” as defined under paragraph 64(a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999). The seven PBDE homologues included in these screening assessments are tetra-(Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) No. 40088-47-9), penta-(CAS No. 32534-81-9), hexa-(CAS No. 36483-60-0), hepta-(CAS No. 68928-80-3), octa-(CAS No. 32536-52-0), nona-(CAS No. 63936-56-1) and decaBDE-(CAS No. 1163-19-5).

Since the completion and publication of the Ecological Screening Assessment Report in 2006, a large amount of new information has been published respecting the accumulation of one form of PBDE, decaBDE, in biota and its potential transformation to persistent and bioaccumulative products. This information has been summarized and evaluated in the Ecological State of Science Report on decaBDE published in August 2010.

In 2009, hexaBDE and heptaBDE were added to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). For information on Canada's international engagement on these substances, please visit the web section on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

The Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 include controls on PBDEs and were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on October 5, 2016. The Regulations expand the scope of the existing prohibition for PBDEs to cover all PBDE substances (including decaBDE) and products containing them, except manufactured items.

On October 13, 2018, a Notice of intent to amend the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (NOI) was published in Canada Gazette, Part I for a 30-day public comment period that ended on November 12, 2108.

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 PBDEs.

Comments and information received in response to the NOI 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 fall 2021.

For more information on these substances, please visit the Chemical Substances website for PBDEs.

Risk management strategy

Click on the following link to view strategies and actions recommended to manage risks associated with the substance:

Risk management supporting activities

Activities supporting the development or implementation of the risk management tools:


Consultations (past and present) on the substance:


Chemicals Management Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St-Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau (QC)
K1A 0H3

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