Government of Canada

Government of Canada

July 11, 2008 08:46 ET

Government of Canada Bans More Harmful Chemicals: More Action Taken Under Chemicals Management Plan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 11, 2008) - Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable John Baird, and the Minister of Health, the Honourable Tony Clement, announced today that the Government of Canada will publish final regulations to reduce the levels of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) that could be entering the environment. Today's announcement is just one more example of how our the Government's Chemicals Management Plan 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 Minister 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" said Minister Baird.

"The Government of Canada is committed to taking action on chemical substances," said Minister Clement. "These regulations will achieve real results by minimizing the amount of these substances in our environment."

PBDEs are used to slow the spread of fire in a wide variety of plastics, fabrics, glues, sealants and foams. While they were not found to be harmful to human health, they are toxic to the environment because they build up and last a long time in the environment.

PBDEs are not manufactured in Canada but are imported for use in commercial and consumer products. There are three commercial mixtures that contain PBDEs:

- PentaBDE is used mostly in flexible polyurethane foam, which is used as cushioning in upholstered furniture, automotive seating and carpet backing.

- OctaBDE is used in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastics as a flame retardant for computer housings, pipes, appliances and automotive parts.

- DecaBDE is primarily used in the high impact polystyrene component of electronic equipment housings, and is also the main commercial PBDE product used as a flame retardant in upholstery and drapery textiles.

The new regulations will prohibit the manufacture of all PBDEs and restrict the import, use and sale of PentaBDE and OctaBDE which meet the criteria for virtual elimination under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

The regulations are a first step in mitigating the risk posed by PBDEs in Canada. Additional actions are being developed to complement these Regulations, including: a regulation to control PBDEs already contained in manufactured products; a voluntary approach to minimize releases to the environment from the use of the DecaBDE commercial mixture in manufacturing operations in Canada; a detailed review of newly published science on DecaBDE, to determine if there is a need for further controls on the DecaBDE commercial mixture; and monitoring of Canadians' exposure to PBDEs and concentrations in the environment.

These actions, collectively, will minimize Canadians' exposure to PBDEs and help to ensure that Canada's environment is protected.

Today's announcement is one of many actions that the Government of Canada is taking to protect the environment and Canadians. The Government of Canada continues to take action on harmful chemicals under the Chemicals Management Plan, and has introduced tougher food and product safety legislation.

For more information on the PBDEs Regulations and further actions to manage PBDEs, please visit our website at

Egalement offert en francais

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Eric Richer
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Health
    Larissa Waler
    Press Secretary
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    Health Canada
    Media Relations