ARCHIVED - Memo - Publication of the Final Ecological Assessment Report and Risk Management Approach for Organotins, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

11 August 2009

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of this memo is to communicate to registrants that on 8 August 2009, the final ecological assessment report for non-pesticidal uses of organotins under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA 1999), was published in Canada Gazette, Part I.

2.0 Background

The final ecological assessment report under CEPA 1999 covers ten categories of organotins, which are mainly used as stabilizers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Six categories of organotins (monomethyltins, monobutyltins, monooctyltins, dimethyltins, dibutyltins, dioctyltins) are not harmful to the environment because exposure to these substances is likely to be negligible. An Environmental Performance Agreement exists between Environmental Canada, the Vinyl Council of Canada, and the Tin Stabilizers Association to ensure that effective handling practices continue to be used for these substances.

Two of the ten sub-categories, comprised of the individual substances fluorotriphenyltin and tetraphenyltin, have some hazardous properties but are no longer in commerce in Canada. A Significant New Activity provision is being proposed under CEPA 1999 to prevent any new activity in relation to these substances that may result in them being toxic.

The final ecological assessment concludes that the last two subcategories, tributyltins and tetrabutyltins, meet the definition of "toxic", set out in CEPA 1999. In addition, tributyltins meet the criteria for virtual elimination as set out in the Government of Canada's Toxic Substances Management Policy. These substances will be added to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 so that the risks associated with the non-pesticidal uses of these substances can be managed.

3.0 Implications for Pesticide Products

The pesticidal uses of tributyltins are regulated by Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA). Action has already been taken on tributyltin pesticides with the greatest exposure to the environment. The use of tributyltins in antifouling paints on ship hulls has been prohibited in Canada since 2002, following the PMRA's special review. The six tributyltin end-use products currently registered under the PCPA for use in wood and material preservatives have more limited environmental exposure.

The PMRA will complete the re-evaluation of the remaining pesticidal uses of tributyltin by 2009-2010, to determine if their use continues to be acceptable under today's standards for health and environmental protection. The CEPA assessment will be considered in the PMRA's re-evaluation of tributyltin pesticides.

4.0 Questions

Questions concerning this memo should be directed to the PMRA's Pest Management Information Service.

Questions concerning the CEPA assessment should be directed to the Program Engagement and Development Division, Environment Canada.

More information can be found at chemicalsubstances.gc.ca.

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