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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report April 1998 to March 1999

Part III: Nutrients (CEPA Sections 49-51)

Part III regulates the nutrient content of cleaning agents and water conditioners.

In 1997, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development recommended that Environment Canada determine whether or not nutrients in general are causing negative environmental effects; whether certain nutrients, rather than nutrients as a class, are problematic; and whether those effects are limited to one component of the environment, such as water, or the entire ecosystem, including wildlife. The Standing Committee also recommended changing the current definition of nutrients. Currently, the definition of nutrients refers to substances that, when applied to waters in excess, provide nourishment for aquatic vegetation.

To address this, an interdepartmental working group was formed with representatives from the departments under the 5NR MOU. Under the leadership of the National Water Research Institute and the Guidelines and Standards Division, a major assessment of nutrients entering the Canadian environment through human activities is being undertaken to determine the impact on aquatic and terrestrial environments. The Institute continued its research program to determine the relationships between the quantity of added nutrients and the response of bottom-dwelling biota, the cumulative effects of long-term nutrient loading and the ecological consequences of interactions between nutrients and toxic substances.

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