Canada to Repeal Exemptions for Flame Retardants and PFOx

Canada’s PCTSR

Under Canada’s Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (PCTSR 2012), several perfluorinated compounds and halogenated flame retardants are prohibited from manufacture or import to Canada in any amount, whether as a pure substance or as a component of a mixture or article. The perfluorinated compounds (A/K/A ‘PFOx’) in question are used as water, oil and grease repellants, and may be found anywhere from textiles to paper and cardboard packaging. The halogenated flame retardants of interest include those from the notorious polybrominated diphenylether (PBDE) family, polychlorinated compounds such as Dechlorane Plus. Flame retardants such as these may be found in products ranging from electronics, to molded plastic parts, rubber gaskets, and adhesives—and notably, many of these product types and uses are currently exempted from the restriction.

Environment Canada

Environment Canada is concluding its risk assessment of the above substances and has announced that they plan to amend the PCTSR 2012 to remove the current exemptions offered to certain halogenated flame retardants and PFOx compounds; the final rules will be published in the Canada Gazette, Winter 2020 edition.

Implications for Manufacturers, Importers & Distributors in Canada

If the existing exemptions are revoked, then all of the named flame retardants and perfluorinated substances will become prohibited from being placed on the market in Canada in any amount. Manufacturers and importers of products, mixtures or articles containing these substances should be advised that restriction of these chemicals will necessarily drive reformulation; and with reformulation comes a reassessment of the new formulation’s hazards, as well as the development of associated hazard communication documentation, such as Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and labels.

Organizations looking to make their hazard communication changes as seamless as possible are wise to consider software-driven solutions for the development of their SDS and labels. Whether you’re looking for guidance on how to prepare SDS for your shipments to Canada, or you simply need assistance with other chemical compliance matters, Global Safety Management and its team of experts is here to help. Questions? Contact us today!