Polymers

As a part of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), the Government of Canada is assessing and managing, where appropriate, the potential health and ecological risks associated with certain polymers under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). These polymers were identified as priorities for further action following the categorization exercise in 2006.

Second Phase of Polymer Rapid Screening

The approach applied in the second phase of polymer rapid screening was refined beyond that used in the first phase based on experience gained from the first phase, as well as further information specific to the characterization of polymers that was collected through voluntary data collection and a mandatory survey on polymer substances conducted under CEPA 1999.

Of the 603 polymers originally identified as candidates for the polymer rapid screening approach, 275 were completed in the First Phase of Polymer Rapid Screening, leaving 328 polymers to be addressed. The Second Phase of Polymer Rapid Screening considers these 328 polymers, as well as eight polymers that were previously assessed under the Rapid Screening of Substances of Low Concern but that were flagged for re-assessment following a 2015 review of the Identification of Risk Assessment Priorities. Therefore, the Second Phase of Polymer Rapid Screening considers 336 polymers.

In March 2017, the Draft Screening Assessment for the Second Phase of Polymer Rapid Screening was released and the related Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 151, No. 11 – March 18, 2017 for a 60-day public comment period.

The draft screening assessment proposes to conclude that 283 polymers out of the 336 polymers considered do not meet any of the criteria set out under section 64 of CEPA 1999.  Additionally, two of the 336 polymers were found to meet the broad classification of nonylphenol ethoxylates, and are considered to have been addressed through the Priority Substances List Assessment of Nonylphenol and its Ethoxylates in 2001. As such, these two polymers will not be subject to further risk assessment work at this time. The remaining 51 polymers were identified as needing further assessment.

First Phase of Polymer Rapid Screening

Data collected through a mandatory survey of substances in Phase 2 of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update (DSL IU2) in December 2012 indicated that 336 of the 603 polymers surveyed were not in commerce in Canada at levels greater than 1000 kg during the 2011 calendar year. These 336 polymers were therefore identified for the application of a rapid screening approach.

In June 2016, the Final Rapid Screening Assessment of Polymers Identified from Phase Two of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update was released and the related Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 150, No. 25 - June 18, 2016. The final screening assessment concluded that 275 polymers out of the 336 assessed do not meet any of the criteria set out under section 64 of CEPA 1999.  The remaining 61 polymers were identified as needing further assessment.

In February 2015, the draft screening assessment was released and the related Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 149, No. 9 - February 28, 2015 for a 60-day public comment period.

Polymer Approach Document

Polymers are a unique class of substances, where the same Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS RN) can be used to describe substances that have different molecular weights, toxicity, and physical and chemical properties. Therefore, the Government of Canada developed a tailored approach to address the complexity of information gathering and assessment activities for polymers, entitled Approach under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 to address polymers on the Domestic Substances List that were identified as priorities during categorization.

Information Gathering Activities

Mandatory Survey – Polymer Substances

In July 2015, a Notice was issued in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 149, No. 30 – July 25, 2015 under section 71 of CEPA 1999. The Notice applied to 302 polymers on the Domestic Substances List.

The Notice was issued in order to obtain information on the manufacture, import and formulation activities of these 302 polymers for the 2014 calendar year.  Every person to whom the Notice applied was required to comply no later than 5 p.m. EDT, December 3, 2015.

Voluntary Data Collection

In February 2015, voluntary data on polymers was collected from importers and manufacturers. Information collected was used to inform risk assessments of the polymers reported to be in commerce above 1000 kg during DSL IU2, and certain polymers that were identified as requiring further assessment based on the rapid screening approach.

Based on remaining essential data needs, it was determined that further information gathering through a mandatory survey was needed to inform future risk assessment for these substances.

Mandatory Survey – Phase 2 of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update

In December 2012, a Notice was issued in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 146, No. 48 - December 1, 2012 under section 71 of CEPA 1999. This Notice applied to approximately 2,700 substances in DSL IU2, including 603 polymer substances.

Information submitted in response to the DSL IU2 informed the Government of Canada as to whether a candidate substance was in commerce in Canada in a quantity above the reporting threshold of 1000 kg in the 2011 calendar year. For those polymers identified under DSL IU2 as not in commerce at greater than 1000 kg in the 2011 calendar year, a rapid screening approach was applied. For those polymers identified under DSL IU2 as in commerce at greater than 1000 kg, it was determined that further information gathering was needed.

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