Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)

Risk management action milestones

In December 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada published the Consultation Document on Proposed Amendments to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 for PFOS, PFOA, LC-PFCAs, HBCD, PBDEs, DP and DBDPE .

The objective of this consultation document is to inform stakeholders of the proposed amendments to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012, solicit comments and request information. Comments and information are requested by February 18, 2019.

Comments and information received in response to the consultation document will be considered in the development of the proposed Regulations to Amend the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012.

In October 2018, a notice of intent was issued in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 152, No. 41 – October 13, 2018  indicating that the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health were initiating the development of amendments to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012. These amendments would seek to further restrict the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of certain toxic substances, including PFOS. There was a 30-day consultation period associated with this publication. Comments received on this publication will be considered in the development of the proposed Regulations to Amend the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012.

In October 2016, the Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II: Vol. 150, No. 20 - October 5, 2016  and came into force in December 2016. These amendments maintained similar regulatory requirements for PFOS and revised exemptions. The Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations were repealed when these amendments came into force. For these amendments, compliance-related materials included the PFOS regulations fact sheet and the Aqueous film-forming foam and the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations fact sheet.

In April 2015, the proposed Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 149, No. 14 - April 4, 2015 , for a 75-day public comment period. Comments received during this period were considered in the final development of these regulations. Comments and the Government's response are provided in the summary of public comments received on the proposed Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012.

The Government of Canada's consultation document on the examination of on-going exemptions for PFOS was published in January 2013 for a 60-day public comment period. Comments and the Government's response are provided in the summary of public comments on the Consultation Document - Perfluorooctane Sulfonate, its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations - Examination of On-going Exemptions. Comments received were considered during the development of the proposed risk management action.

Environmental monitoring and surveillance in support of the Chemicals Management Plan

In 2013, an environmental monitoring and surveillance of Perfluorooctane sulfonate in support of the Chemicals Management Plan was published. This report found that through comparison to the draft Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQGs), the current PFOS concentrations that were measured presented a low potential for adverse effects on the organisms examined. However, PFOS in fish and bird eggs tended to exceed dietary guidelines for the protection of non-human mammalian and avian consumers, suggesting that this compound could represent a current risk to their wildlife predators.

Risk management strategy

In June 2006, the Risk Management Strategy for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) its Salts and its Precursors was released. The strategy describes the impact of PFOS on the environment and human health and describes details such as current uses, exposure sources, considerations, proposed objectives, risk management approach, proposed consultation approach and next steps.

The objective is to reduce concentrations of PFOS in the Canadian environment to the lowest level technically and economically feasible from all emission sources. The risk management approach includes regulations prohibiting the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and importation of PFOS, as well as continued engagement of international partners related to the long-term reduction and eventual elimination of the worldwide manufacturing and use of PFOS.

Ecological screening assessment

In June 2006, the Ecological Screening Assessment on Perfluorooctane Sulfonate, Its Salts and Its Precursors that Contain the C8F17O2 or C8F17SO3, or C8F17SO2N Moiety was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 140 No. 26 - July 1, 2006  for a 60-day public comment period.

This screening assessment found that the presence of PFOS in the environment results primarily from anthropogenic activity and that PFOS is extremely persistent in all media and can bioaccumulate and biomagnify in mammals and piscivorous birds. It was also concluded that PFOS is entering the environment in a quantity or concentration that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity.

State of the science report for a screening health assessment

In January 2006, the State of the Science Report for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate, Its Salts and Its Precursors that Contain the C8F17SO2 or C8F17SO3 Moiety was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 140 No. 26 - July 1, 2006.

The state of the science report summarizes human health information on PFOS with consideration given to information identified as of September 2003. The state of the science report found that PFOS and its precursors were not harmful to human health at the levels of exposure that were assessed.

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