National Pollutant Release Inventory Alternate Threshold Proposal for Toluene Diisocyanates

Environment Canada (EC) proposed to lower the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) reporting threshold for toluene diisocyanates (TDIs) commencing with the 2014 reporting year, to capture additional significant sources of these pollutants. Consultations on this issue were conducted with the NPRI Multi-Stakeholder Work Group (WG) in February through April of 2013. After considering the comments received, Environment Canada has decided to proceed with the change, and it is reflected in the 2014-2015 NPRI Canada Gazette notice.

A) Proposal (Febuary 2013)

B) Summary of Stakeholder Comments and Environment Canada’s Response (July 2014)

A)  Proposal (February 2013)

Environment Canada proposed to lower the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) reporting threshold for toluene diisocyanates (TDIs); 2,6-toluene diisocyanate, 2,4-toluene diisocycanate and mixtures of 2,6-toluene diisocyanate and 2,4-toluene diisocycanate commencing with the 2014 reporting year. Under the current TDIs reporting requirements, facilities that manufacture, process or otherwise use (MPO) 10 tonnes or more of TDIs per year at a concentration equal to or greater than 1% by weight (except for by-products and tailings for which there is no concentration threshold) must report their TDIs releases, disposals and transfers to the NPRI. Facilities would also need to meet the employee threshold of 20,000 or greater employee hours (approximately 10 full-time employees) or undertake certain specified activities (such as incineration or wastewater treatment) to be required to report.

This proposal seeks to lower the current mass reporting threshold from 10 tonnes to 100 kg MPO and the concentration threshold from 1% to 0.1 % by weight without changing the employee threshold. This will ensure a more comprehensive coverage on these substances, which were declared toxic under Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999. For example, the TDIs Risk Assessment revealed gaps between the data reported in NPRI and the data gathered in 2006 under section 71 of CEPA 1999. Certain facilities that reported for TDIs under section 71 of CEPA1999 were not required to report to the NPRI because of the reporting threshold differences. The proposed NPRI reporting threshold for TDIs is also aligned with the reporting threshold stated in the P2 Planning Notice developed under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) for the risk management of industrial emissions of TDIs and will be effective from 2011 to 2015. After 2015, NPRI data will also be employed by risk managers to assess the success of implementation of P2plans (i.e. pollution prevention plans).

1. Background

Toluene diisocyanates (TDIs), consisting of three individual substances: 2,6-toluene diisocyanate (Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS RN) 91-08-7), 2,4-toluene diisocycanate (CAS RN 584-84-9) and mixtures of 2,6-toluene diisocyanate and 2,4-toluene diisocycanate (CAS RN 26471-62-5), were part of the original National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) substance list, which was established for the 1993 reporting year. The initial NPRIsubstance list was derived from the 1990 U.S. Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) with certain amendments, such as the removal of substances that are prohibited for use in Canada, used in quantities smaller than one tonne per year or are monitored under other legislation such as pesticides under the Pest Control Products Act.

The three TDIsubstances noted above are currently listed as Part 1A substances on the NPRI substance list. The reporting threshold for each of these substances is 10 tonnes manufactured, processed or otherwise used (MPO) at a concentration equal to or greater than 1% by weight (except for by-products and tailings for which there is no concentration threshold).In general, facilities would also need to meet the employee threshold of 20,000 or greater employee hours (approximately 10 full-time employees) or undertake certain specified activities (such as incineration or wastewater treatment) to be required to report for Part 1A substances.

TDIs are also included on the Domestic Substance List (DSL). The DSL is a list of substances that, between January 1, 1984 and December 31, 1986 were in Canadian commerce used for manufacturing purposes; or manufactured in or imported into Canada in a quantity of 100 kilograms or more in any calendar year. This list originally contained approximately 23,000 substances and has been amended regularly to include additional substances that have been deemed eligible following their assessment under the New Substances Notification Regulations. As a result, it currently contains more than 25,000 substances.

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999(CEPA1999) requires the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health to conduct screening assessments of substances on the DSL that have met the categorization criteria set out in CEPA 1999, to determine whether these substances present or may present a risk to the environment or human health.

Under CEPA 1999, screening assessments focus on information critical to determining whether a substance meets the criteria for defining a chemical as toxic as set out in section 64 of CEPA 1999, where:

“64. [...] a substance is toxic if it is entering or may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that

a) have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological
    diversity;
b) constitute or may constitute a danger to the environment on which life depends; or
c) constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.”

In December 2006, 2,6-TDI, 2,4-TDI and TDI mixtures were among a total of 193 chemical substances that were found to be high priority for action as part of the Chemicals Management Plan initiative called the Challenge. The Challenge required industry and other stakeholders to provide information regarding the manufacture and imports quantities of these substances as well as their uses under section 71 of CEPA1999.This in turn informed the risk assessment and risk management of the substances.

TDIs were part of Batch 1 of the Challenge. They are industrial chemicals currently imported into Canada and used in the manufacture of flexible polyurethane foam, paints and coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers. Environment Canada and Health Canada assessed TDIs and on July 5, 2008 they published the Final Screening Assessment Report where they concluded that TDIs are entering or may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health. TDIs were added to the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999) on May 12, 2010.

Industrial releases of TDIs in Canada are mainly to air, in the form of stack and fugitive emissions. They may affect the general population through inhalation.

To ensure sound environmental management of TDI releases, Environment Canada published a Pollution Prevention (P2) Planning Notice in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on November 26, 2011. Persons subject to the P2 Planning Notice are required to prepare and implement a P2 Plan, based upon consideration of factors such as determining and, if required as stated in the Notice, reducing industrial releases of TDIs to air. Facilities will then be required to provide reports on their annual emissions for the next four years in order to monitor the progress achieved during the implementation of the pollution prevention measures (i.e., provide reports from 2011 to 2015).

Please refer to the following links for more information on Canada’s actions on the management of chemicals as well as the risk assessment and risk management instrument for TDIs:

2. Proposed Alternate Threshold for TDIs

TDIs met the criteria outlined in paragraph 64(c) of CEPA 1999, and are listed on Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 (i.e. Toxic Substance List). It is proposed that the NPRI reporting threshold for TDIs be lowered in order to capture the relevant data regarding these toxic substances.

The proposed change would lower both the mass and concentration thresholds for the three substances, without changing the employee threshold: any person who owns or operates a contiguous facility or offshore installation would have to submit an NPRI report for 2,6-TDI, 2,4-TDI and/or mixtures of TDI isomers if both of the following criteria are met:

  1. employees work a total of ≥ 20 000 hours, or activities to which the employee threshold does not apply (e.g., incineration or wastewater treatment) take place at the facility, and
  2. the total amount of the substance
    • manufactured, processed or otherwise used at a concentration (by weight) of 0.1% (lowered from 1%) or more, plus
    • incidentally manufactured, processed or otherwise used as a by-product at any concentration, plus
    • contained in tailings disposed of during the calendar year at any concentration, plus
    • contained in waste rock disposed of during the calendar year that is not clean or inert at any concentration is ≥ 100 kilograms (lowered from ≥ 10 tonnes)

3. Justification for Proposal

This proposed NPRI reporting threshold is aligned with the reporting threshold stated in the P2 Planning Notice developed under the Chemicals Management Plan for the risk management of industrial emissions of TDIs. This P2 Planning Notice was published in the Canada Gazette and came into force on November 26, 2011 and, as previously mentioned, will require facilities to provide reports on their annual emissions for the next four years in order to monitor the progress achieved during the implementation of the pollution prevention measures (i.e., provide reports from 2011 to 2015). After 2015, NPRI data will also be employed by risk managers to assess the success of implementation of P2plans (i.e. pollution prevention plans).

Also, the TDI Risk Assessment revealed gaps between the data reported in NPRI and the data gathered in 2006 under section 71 survey CEPA 1999. For example, certain facilities that reported for TDIs under section 71 of CEPA1999 were not required to report to the NPRI because of the reporting threshold differences. It is recommended that the alternate threshold for TDIs be introduced starting with the 2014 NPRIreporting year. This will ensure that data on these substances, which are toxic under CEPA 1999, are captured and made available to the public.

While improving the data available to the public by filling potential gaps in the inventory for a substance listed on Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999, lowering the TDIs reporting threshold will also support Chemicals Management Plan risk management activities. The NPRI data reporting strives to better align with other departmental programs, filling the data needs of other programs where possible to avoid the creation of new ongoing reporting obligations outside NPRI. This is to minimize the reporting burden on industry, while enhancing the data made available to the public.

4. Impact

For the 2010 NPRI reporting year, 20 facilities reported for 2,6-TDI, 2,4-TDI and/or mixtures of the two isomers. The total amounts for the on-site releases and off-site disposals of the substances are shown in the table below.

On-site releases and off-site disposals for the 2010 NPRI reporting year
 2,6-TDI2,4-TDIMixtures of 2,6-TDI and 2,4-TDI
On-Site Releases (tonnes)0.00200.770
Off-Site Disposals (tonnes)0.6350.1739.000

The main industrial sectors that report for TDIs are those in the foam manufacturing industry. Please refer to the table below which shows a breakdown of NPRI reporting for TDIs by industrial sector.

Breakdown of NPRI reporting for TDIs by industrial sector
NAICSFootnote 16 CodeNAICS 6 Sector Name (English)Number of Facilities that Reported
2,6-TDI2,4-TDIMixtures of 2,6-TDI
and 2,4-TDI
325210Resin & Synthetic Rubber Mfg.003
325510Paint & Coating Mfg.110
325999All Other Misc. Chemical Product Mfg.101
326130Laminated Plastic Plate, Sheet & Shape Mfg.001
326150Urethane & Miscellaneous Foam Product Mfg.338
336360Motor Vehicle Seating and Interior Trim Mfg.001
484221Bulk Liquids Trucking, Local110
562210Waste Treatment & Disposal001
TotalFootnote 26515

Lowering the reporting threshold for TDIs will potentially result in an increase of approximately 5 to 30 facilities that will be required to report to the NPRI. Approximately half of these facilities already report to the NPRI for other substances, but not for TDIs. It is also anticipated that the number of facilities reporting TDIs will decrease over time through the implementation of P2 plans (i.e. pollution prevention measures) by facilities as part of EC’s TDI risk management strategy. Lowering the NPRI threshold for TDIs will assist in monitoring this change in industrial chemicals in the foam manufacturing sector.

B) Summary of Stakeholder Comments and Environment Canada's Response (July 2014)

The NPRI Multi-Stakeholder WG provided input on Environment Canada’s proposal to lower the reporting threshold for three NPRI substances: mixtures of 2,6-toluene diisocyanate and 2,4-toluene diisocycanate; 2,6-toluene diisocyanate and 2,4-toluene diisocycanate. After considering stakeholder input, Environment Canada has changed the reporting threshold for these substances commencing with the 2014 NPRI reporting year.

The mass threshold for each of the three substances has been lowered from 10 tonnes to 100 kg manufactured, processed or otherwise used (MPO). The concentration threshold has been lowered from 1% to 0.1%. As a result of this reduced reporting threshold, mixtures of 2,6-toluene diisocyanate and 2,4-toluene diisocycanate; 2,6-toluene diisocyanate and 2,4-toluene diisocycanate, are listed as Part 1B substances instead of a Part 1A substances.

The table below summarizes comments received from the NPRI Multi-Stakeholder WG and provides EC’s responses.

Comments were received from the following stakeholders:

  • Assembly of First Nations
  • Chemistry Industry Association of Canada and Canadian Fuels Association (joint comment)
  • Great Lakes United
  • Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association
  • Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
  • International Institute of Concern for Public Heath
  • Community Health Opposition to Known Emissions Dangers
Summary of Stakeholder Comments and Environment Canada's Response
No./Topic:Stakeholder CommentEnvironment Canada’s Response
1. SupportThis proposal is justified as TDIs are listed on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) (the List of Toxic Substances). A lowered NPRI reporting threshold, which is aligned with the Pollution Prevention (P2) Planning Notice for TDIs, will increase the amount of data gathered and support risk management initiatives.Support for the change proposed by EC is acknowledged. No response is required.
2. Change Impacts

Since the P2 Planning Notice only applies to the foam manufacturing sector, the estimated increase in the number of facilities cited in the proposal may be exceeded as the NPRI Notice applies to all sectors, including non-targeted sectors such as paints, sealers or adhesives manufacturers.

The proposal should contain projected impacts on the coverage of the sectors not targeted under P2 planning (e.g., paints, sealers or adhesives manufacturers) and the benefits of including these sectors in the reporting requirements. 

EC agrees that the estimated number of facilities cited in the proposal may be exceeded. However, data are not currently available to estimate coverage of non-targeted sectors.

Risk management instruments, like P2 Planning Notices, target key industrial sectors, such as those identified as posing risks in the Final Screening assessment of substances. One of the key objectives of the NPRI is to provide data users (including the public) with comprehensive data on pollutant emissions. Therefore, the NPRI applies more broadly than risk management instruments, as it includes all sectors.

3. Change ImpactsThe proposal should contain more linkages between the NPRI and P2 Planning Notice, such as the impact of the P2 Planning Notice on reporting, how the alternate threshold will ensure comprehensive coverage and how the P2 Planning Notice will result in a substantial change in the portion of releases reported.

As stated in the proposal, the new reporting threshold is aligned with the P2 Planning Notice threshold. This will allow for comparability between NPRI and P2 Planning data to support data quality analyses and on-going monitoring after the P2 Planning Notice expires.

In the future, EC will include estimated impacts of P2 plans on NPRI reporting, where data are available.

EC agrees that NPRI alternate threshold proposals should include, where available, numerical evidence demonstrating how the proposed threshold will ensure comprehensive data coverage. However, there were no available data to perform such analyses for TDIs.  

4. ConcentrationThe rationale for decreasing the reporting threshold concentration from 1% to 0.1% is not clear as there is no concentration limit proposed in the P2 Planning Notice for TDIs.  A concentration threshold of 0.1% is aligned with the Material Safety Data Sheet ingredient disclosure requirementsfor TDIs. Therefore, facilities will have access to information for calculations on releases between 1% and 0.1%. A reduced concentration threshold will allow for collection of more comprehensive data.
5. Reporting InstrumentThe intent of this proposal appears to be to gather pollutant data for exploratory purposes as well as to regulate the reduction of releases. However, Governments have other processes than the NPRI to obtain such data.

TDIs are listed on Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 (i.e., the List of Toxic Substances). As such, it is important for Environment Canada to adequately monitor and manage risks from these substances of concern. The reduced threshold is aligned with the P2 Planning Notice and will allow for comparability between NPRI and P2 Planning data. It will also permit continued monitoring of TDIs once the P2 Planning Notice has expired after 2015.

Because TDIs are already reported to the NPRI, it will be more efficient and effective to lower the reporting threshold through this existing data collection instrument. With this approach, more comprehensive data will be available in the NPRI, for use by the public and to support risk management activities. 

6. NPRI Alternate ThresholdsThe NPRI should create a more defined overall process to guide future changes in reporting thresholds.As discussed with the WG during the November 2013 meeting, the NPRI plans to finalize a framework for listing substances with an alternate threshold in the NPRI. This document will include the criteria considered for identifying and proposing changes to NPRI reporting thresholds.
7. NPRI Alternate Thresholds

NPRI alternate threshold proposals should contain the following:

  • Numerical evidence demonstrating a reporting gap and that implementation of the proposed alternate quantity and concentration thresholds will have a substantial impact on that gap.
  • Confirmation that the proposed threshold is not so low as to impose an unintended burden on facilities reporting trace quantities.

This proposal should provide an estimate of the impact on the portion of industrial releases that would be reported as a result of the reporting threshold change.

EC agrees that alternate threshold proposals should include, where available, numerical evidence demonstrating a reporting gap, an analysis of the potential reporting burden on facilities and an estimate of the impact on the portion of industrial releases that would be reported as a result of the reporting threshold change. However, for this proposal, the best available data were collected under section 71 of CEPA 1999 (under which data on use, import and release of specific chemicals can be collected, to be used by EC mainly for the purposes of assessing the risks posed by those chemicals) for 2006, which could not fully address such questions. Using the NPRI, an existing reporting instrument, to acquire additional data on TDIs will permit for these types of analyses.

It is important for the NPRI to proceed with this change to make more comprehensive data available through the NPRI, and to meet data user needs. The P2 Planning requirements are in effect from 2011 to 2015. Implementation of this change starting with the 2014 reporting year will permit comparison of P2 Planning and NPRI data for two years.

8. TimingThe tentative publication of March 2014 for the 2014-2015 NPRI Canada Gazette Notice is too late. NPRI notices for a given year should be published by December preceding the reporting year to allow facilities sufficient time to gather data.EC recognizes that the publication of notices for the NPRI should occur as early as possible. However, under CEPA 1999, NPRI reporting is based on information in the possession of the facility or that can be reasonably accessed. If a facility genuinely has little or no information on this substance, they would be required to report only the information that they do have for 2014, and should take reasonable steps to gather the full required information for future years. In addition, the three TDIs were listed on the NPRI in previous years, meaning that some facilities will already have information on them.



Footnotes

Footnote 1

NAICS Code: North American Industry Classification System

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Footnote 2

The discrepancy between the total number of facilities which is 20 and the totals in the industrial sector table is that some facilities are counted twice as they reported for more than one of the TDIisomers.

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