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Environment

Canada Seeks To Ban Five Toxic Chemicals

by Britt E. Erickson
April 13, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 15

Canada is proposing to restrict five toxic substances or categories of compounds, including some flame retardants and surfactants, because the chemicals pose risks to the environment. The five are hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFAs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Under the proposal, insulating foams that contain the flame retardant HBCD and are used for construction applications would be prohibited as of 2017. PFOA and long-chain PFAs, which are commonly used as surfactants, grease repellents, and wetting agents, would also be banned, with an exemption until 2017 for use in water-based inks and photo media coatings. PBDE flame retardants, including decaBDE, would be prohibited. In addition, current exemptions for the surfactant PFOS in aviation hydraulic fluids would be removed. The proposal, however, would allow all of the affected chemicals to be used in laboratories for scientific research.

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