Monday, August 1, 2011

Canada to Ban Four Categories of Chemicals

Canada issued a proposed regulation in the Canada Gazette on July 23, 2011 designed to essentially ban four groups of chemicals.  According to the proposal, the four chemicals are Benzenamine, N-phenyl-, reaction products with styrene and 2,4,4-trimethylpentene (BNST), short-chain chlorinated alkanes, polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) and tributyltins (TBTs) for non-pesticidal uses.  All four were assessed in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999 (CEPA), which concluded that all four may be harmful to the environment.  Health Canada determined that short-chain chlorinated alkanes also constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health. 

Interestingly, three of the chemical classes are already no longer manufactured or used in Canada.  So the main impact will be on the ban of BNST, which is an antioxidant additive in vehicle engine oils and industrial lubricants.  Under the regulations, there would be a two-year transition period in which BNST could still be used for specific uses so that industry has time to conduct research to find alternatives.  The transition period would also allow manufacturers to gain product performance certification for any product modifications using BNST subsitutes.

For all four chemical classes Environment Canada and Health Canada believe risk management measures are necessary to prevent harm to the environment and human health.  Also, they determined that all four "meet the criteria for persistence and bioaccumulation potential as set out in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations."

The regulations as proposed would also modify existing restrictions on hexachlorobenezene (HCB), which is commonly found as an impurity in chlorinated solvents and other manufactured products.  HCB would be moved from Part 2 to Part 1 of the schedule of toxic substances, which would put it on a track for full banning.

The public may provide comment on the draft regulations until October 6, 2011.  More information is available in the Canada Gazette online.

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