Canadian government limits use of plastic flame retardant
Environment Minister John Baird and Health Minister Tony Clement announced on Friday that the government intends to...
Environment Minister John Baird and Health Minister Tony Clement announced on Friday that the government intends to publish final regulations on reducing levels of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) that could be entering the environment. The move is part of the government’s Chemicals Management Plan, which is “taking action to protect our environment from harmful chemicals.”
“Once again, when it comes to taking action on toxic chemicals, our government is leading the way,” said Baird. “Right now, we’re taking action to address all PBDEs, and today we are banning those substances that have been identified as an immediate concern to the environment.”
PBDEs are a flame retardant, commonly used to spread fires in a wide variety of plastics, foams and sealants. The government noted that they are not found to be harmful to human health, but are considered toxic to the environment because t hey build up and last a long time in the environment.”
Although PBDEs are not manufactured in Canada, they are imported for commercial and consumer products. The Government of Canada noted that there are three commercial mixtures that contain PBDEs: PentaBDE, mostly used in polyurethane foam; OctaBDE, used in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastics as a flame retardant; and DecaBDE, primarily used in the high impact polystyrene component.
The new regulations will prohibit the manufacture of all PBDEs, and restrict the import, use and sale of PentaBDE and OctaBDE. PentaBDE and OctaBDE meet the criteria for virtual elimination under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
The government noted that it was also developing additional actions to complement the new regulations, such as regulation to control PBDEs already contained in manufactured products.
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