Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of substances used as flame retardants in a wide variety of products. PBDEs are not manufactured in Canada but are imported into Canada as commercial mixtures and added to various intermediate and finished products, such as computer housings, household appliances, furniture, automotive/aircraft seating and interiors, and a variety of electrical and electronic components. Releases of PBDEs to the environment can occur during manufacturing and processing operations, throughout the service life of articles containing PBDEs, and when articles that contain PBDEs are disposed of. Studies indicate that PBDE levels in Canadian biota are rising, with increases in tissue concentrations evident over the last two decades. The highest levels in biota are associated with industrialized regions; however, the increasing incidence of PBDEs in Arctic biota provides evidence for long-range atmospheric transport of these compounds.
PBDEs were identified as a high priority for action in the Chemicals Management Plan, as announced by the Government in December 2006. Following the screening assessments of the Ministers of the Environment and Health, published on July 1, 2006, PBDEs have been identified as entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity (i.e., “toxic” as defined under paragraph 64(a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999). The seven PBDE homologues included in these screening assessments are tetra-(CAS No. 40088-47-9), penta-(CAS No. 32534-81-9), hexa-(CAS No. 36483-60-0), hepta-(CAS No. 68928-80-3), octa-(CAS No. 32536-52-0), nona-(CAS No. 63936-56-1) and decaBDE-(CAS No. 1163-19-5).
In December 2006, Environment Canada and Health Canada published a Risk Management Strategy for PBDEs with the objective of reducing the concentration of PBDEs in the Canadian environment to the lowest level possible. The strategy uses a multi-instrument approach that combines regulatory and voluntary measures, the development of environmental quality guidelines, international co-operation and ongoing monitoring.
Since the completion and publication of the Ecological Screening Assessment Report in 2006, a large amount of new information has been published respecting the accumulation of one form of PBDE, decaBDE, in biota and its potential transformation to persistent and bioaccumulative products. This information has been summarized and evaluated in the Ecological State of Science Report on decaBDE (draft published in March 2009, final in August 2010). The outcome of this review and comments received from the public provided justification for the development of additional regulatory controls for this form of PBDE. In August 2010, the Government published a Final Revised Risk Management Strategy for PBDEs. In comparison with the Revised Risk Management Strategy, published in March 2009, the final Strategy broadens controls on all forms of PBDEs, including DecaBDE, for both substances and products containing them. A consultation document respecting these control measures will be published in the near future.
The Government's Consultation Document on the Proposed Risk Management Measure for PBDEs is now available. There is a 60-day public comment period on the Consultation Documents from February 5, 2013 to April 6, 2013. Comments received will be considered during the development of the proposed risk management action.
For more information on this substance, please visit the Chemical Substances website.
- Ecological Screening Assessment Report on Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) (July 2006)
- Health Canada State of the Science Report for a Screening Health Assessment of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) (December 2006)
- CEPA 1999 Schedule 1 - List of Toxic Substances - This substance has been added to the List of Toxic Substances. 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.
- Virtual elimination of the substance (Track 1)under the Toxic Substances Management Policy
- State of the Science Report on the Bioaccumulation and Transformation of Decabromodiphenyl Ether (final version) (August 2010)
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in the Canadian Environment
Risk Management Strategy
Click on the following link to view strategies and actions recommended to manage risks associated with the substance:
Risk Management Tool(s)
Tool(s) developed to manage risks associated with the substance:
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers Regulations (July 2008)
- Risk Management of DecaBDE: Commitment to Voluntary Phase-Out Exports to Canada
Consultation (past and present) on the substance:
- Consultation Document on the Proposed Risk Management Measure for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (February 2013)
- Draft of the Update to the National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) for public comment.
- Risk Management Strategy for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) (December 2006)
- Risk Management Strategy for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), Revised March 2009 (consultation period closed)
- Summary of the Revised Risk Management Strategy for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
- Proposed Performance Agreement to Control, Monitor and Minimize the Release of Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE) Commercial Mixture from Canadian Facilities where DecaBDE is Used or Handled (March 2009) (consultation period closed)
- State of the Science Report on the Bioaccumulation and Transformation of Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DRAFT) (March 2009) (consultation period closed)
- Reply to Comments Received in Submissions on the Proposed Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers Regulations Published on December 16, 2006, in Part I of the Canada Gazette (July 2008)
- Reply to Comments Received on the Government of Canada's Revised Risk Management Strategy for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) and Draft Ecological State of the Science Report on Decabromodiphenyl Ether (decaBDE) (Bioaccumulation and Transformation) published March 2009 (August 2010)
- Proposed Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers Regulations (December 2006) (Consultation Period Closed)
- Proposed Risk Management Strategy for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) (September 2006) (Consultation Period Closed)
- Proposed Order Adding Toxic Substances to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. (July 2006) (Consultation Period Closed).
- Draft Environmental Screening Assessment Report on Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)- (February 2004) (Consultation Period Closed)
- Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
- Technical Information on the Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers Regulations
- Health Canada Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) Fact Sheet
Email address: GR-RM@ec.gc.ca
Fax number: (819) 994-0007
Chemicals Management Division
200 Sacré Coeur Blvd.
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