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PFCAs and their precursors in perfluorinated products: Environmental agreement overview

Note: This agreement is no longer in effect.

This was a 5-year Environmental Performance Agreement (the Agreement) that commenced on March 30, 2010, and expired on December 31, 2015. As a result of the Agreement, participating companies successfully met their commitment to eliminate residual perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), long chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) and their precursors. These substances are now regulated under the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012.

Objective

This Agreement was a key component of the comprehensive risk management of PFCAs. The purpose of the Agreement was to have participating companies:

  • work towards the elimination of residual PFOA, residual long-chain PFCAs and residual precursors in their perfluorochemical products sold in Canada
  • collect and report information on their perfluorochemical products sold in Canada that contained PFOA, long-chain PFCAs and precursors (residual and non-residual)

Signatories

The Agreement was negotiated between Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada and the following four companies from the perfluorinated products industry:

  • Arkema Canada Inc.
  • Asahi Glass Company Ltd.
  • Clariant Canada Inc.
  • E.I. du Pont Canada Company

Key requirements

As a result of the Agreement, participating companies voluntarily committed 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, 2010Footnote 1
  • working towards eliminating the remaining 5% of these substances in the products by December 31, 2015
  • reporting annually to Environment and Climate Change Canada information on the residual and non-residual (i.e., active ingredient) content of their perfluorochemical products sold in Canada

Performance results

All four of the participating companies were successful in meeting the Agreement's key requirements.

The baseline and annual reporting data presented in this section was submitted by the participating companies in the Agreement. These companies were responsible for the accuracy and validity of the data provided.

The data received from the 2010 reporting year indicated that significant progress had been made in reaching the interim targets set out in the Agreement. Between 2011 and 2015, the data submitted indicates that all companies had met their commitment to eliminate residual PFOA, residual long-chain PFCAs and residual precursors in their perfluorochemical products sold in Canada, by the end of 2015.

The following tables demonstrate the progress made throughout the Agreement by the individual participating companies.

Note that although the Agreement asked that participating companies report on the reduction in concentration of targeted substances in products, the data submitted by participating companies reported on the annual reduction in total quantity of the targeted substances. Since the data submitted demonstrates measurable progress towards the objective of the Agreement, the results tables below reflect the information as it was submitted by the participating companies and not as specified in the Agreement.

Arkema Canada Inc.
Table 1: Arkema Canada Inc.
Reporting year

% Reduction of other Fluoropolymers2

(Baseline Year 2000)

2008Not applicable
2009Not applicable
2010Not applicable
2011100
2012100
2013100
2014100
2015100

Table notes

2 Reduction in total quantity of residual PFOA, long-chain PFCAs, and precursors measured against baseline year (weight %)

Note: "Not applicable" means the company was not subject to the requirements listed under paragraph 6.1.1 of the Agreement for those reporting years.

Asahi Glass Company Ltd.
Table 2: Asahi Glass Company Ltd.
Reporting year

% Reduction of Fluorotelomer-based products3

(baseline year 2004)

% Reduction of Fluoropolymer dispersions3

(baseline year 2000)

200871.199.9
200996.999.9
201098.4100
2011100100
2012100100
2013100100
2014100100
2015100100

Table notes

3 Reduction in total quantity of residual PFOA, long-chain PFCAs, and precursors measured against baseline year (weight %)

Note: "100" indicates that no targeted products were sold in Canada during those reporting years.

Clariant Canada Inc.
Table 3: Clariant Canada Inc.
Reporting year

% Reduction of Fluorotelomer-based textile products4

(baseline year 2006)

% Reduction of Fluorotelomer-based paper products4

(baseline year 2007)

20084037
20096124
20106766
2011Not reportedNot reported
2012Not reportedNot reported
2013Not reportedNot reported
2014Not reportedNot reported
2015Not reportedNot reported

Table notes

4 Reduction in total quantity of residual PFOA, long-chain PFCAs, and precursors measured against baseline year (weight %)

Note: "Not reported" means that the company indicated that targeted products sold during those reporting years contained less than a combined total of the 25kg threshold, and therefore did not report information.

E.I. du Pont Canada Company
Table 4: E.I. du Pont Canada Company
Reporting year

% Reduction of other Fluoropolymers5

(baseline year 2000, 2003)6

% Reduction of Fluoropolymer Dispersions5

(baseline year 2003)

% Reduction of Fluoropolymer-based Products5

(baseline year 2004)

200897.199.364
200997.297.771
201096.499.277.5 (95.6)7
201196.899.495
20129799.899
201399.599.599
201410010099
2015Transition completedTransition completedTransition completed

Table notes

5 Reduction in total quantity of residual PFOA, long-chain PFCAs, and precursors measured against baseline year (weight %)

6 Mixed baseline years were used for this product type due to limitations in the available historical sales data for some product groups into Canada.

7 Results for Year End Run Rate are show for comparison

Note: "Transition completed" means the company completed the transition to alternatives at the end of 2014

Next steps

On October 5, 2016, the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 was amended to prohibit the use, sale, offer for sale and import of PFOA and long-chain PFCAs. This prohibition also applies to products containing them, unless contained in manufactured items. Time-limited exemptions and ongoing permitted uses are allowed for certain uses where the development of alternatives is underway or where there are currently no known alternatives. This measure aims at ensuring that these substances are not re-introduced into the Canadian market.

Background information

PFCAs and their precursors are used as:

  • fluoropolymer processing aids
  • water and grease repellents for material such as paper, fabric, leather and carpets
  • sizing agents for packaging and paper products
  • agents in coatings

In June 2006, Environment and Climate Change 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 stated that the government would seek action from industry to significantly reduce residual PFCA precursors that were 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 Agreement was developed to meet this commitment. Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada and four companies from the perfluorinated products industry negotiated this agreement, in recognition of industry's commitment to significantly reduce residual PFCAs and their precursors. Through the Agreement, industry initiated early action on long-chain PFCAs, PFOA and their precursors before regulatory assessments for these substances were completed.

On August 25, 2012, the Government of Canada published the final screening assessment reports on PFOA (C8) its salts and precursors, and long-chain (C9 –C20) PFCAs, their salts and precursors. These final screening assessment reports concluded that:

  • PFOA, its salts and its precursors, and long-chain PFCAs, their salts and their precursors, are entering or may be entering the environment in a quantity or a concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity
  • PFOA and its salts, and long-chain PFCAs, and their salts are extremely persistent and meet the criteria for persistence, but do not meet the criteria for bioaccumulation as set out in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations
    • despite this conclusion, the weight of evidence is sufficient to conclude that both PFOA, and its salts, and long-chain PFCAs and their salts accumulate and biomagnify in terrestrial and marine mammals
  • PFOA and its salts are not entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health

Long-chain PFCAs, their salts and their precursors have not yet been assessed for risk to human health. It was considered important to publish the ecological Screening Assessment Report in order to initiate the implementation of risk management measures. It also fulfilled the government's commitment to assess PFCAs under the Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids (PFCAs) and Precursors: An Action Plan for Assessment and Management.

Responses to comments

Public consultations on the draft Agreement took place between January 30, 2009, and March 31, 2009. No comments were received on the draft document during this consultation period. 

Resources and links

Contact Environment and Climate Change Canada

For inquiries regarding this Agreement, please contact:

Regulatory Innovation and Management Systems
Telephone: 819-420-7796
Toll Free: 1-844-580-3637
Fax: 819-420-7386
Email:ec.epa-epe.ec@canada.ca

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