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Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids and their Precursors in Perfluorochemical Products Sold in Canada

Full text of Proposed Agreement (HTML) (PDF; 100 KB)

Environment Canada and Health Canada are pleased to provide the proposed “Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids (PFCAs) and their Precursors in Perfluorochemical Products Sold in Canada” for comment.

PFCAs and their precursors are used as fluoropolymer processing aids; as water and grease repellents for material such as paper, fabric, leather and carpets; sizing agents for packaging and paper products; and levelling agents in coatings.

PFCAs including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are present in the Canadian environment. Although the current environmental concentrations of PFCAs are low, concern arises from the evidence indicating a rapid upward trend in the levels observed in the environment. Available evidence also indicates that PFCAs are environmentally persistent and the long chain PFCAs bioaccumulate.

In June 2006, Environment Canada and Health Canada published an Action Plan for the Assessment and Management of Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids and their Precursors in the Canada Gazette. The Action Plan states that the Government would seek action from industry to significantly reduce residual PFCA precursors that are present in certain substances already in Canadian commerce and that the Government would work with stakeholders to establish details for this action, including timelines and reduction targets. The proposed agreement has been developed to meet this commitment.

As a result of the proposed agreement, participating companies would voluntarily commit to:

  • Reducing by 95% the product content levels of residual PFOA, long chain PFCAs and their precursors in their perfluorochemical products sold in Canada by December 31, 2010;
  • Working towards eliminating the remaining 5% of these substances in the products by 2015; and
  • Report annually to Environment Canada information on the residual and non-residual (i.e., active ingredient) content of their perfluorochemical products sold in Canada.

Through the proposed agreement, industry is taking early action on long chain PFCAs, PFOA and their precursors before regulatory assessments for these substances are completed. Once completed, the assessments will guide any additional risk management actions that may be needed.

Environment Canada invites your comments on this proposed agreement. Please forward your comments to by March 31, 2009.

For more information, please contact Ms. Susan Fraser at:

Susan Fraser
Chemicals Management Division
Environment Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd., 17th Floor
Gatineau, QC   K1A 0H3
Tel: 819-994-7752

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