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Canadian Environmental Protection Act | Government Releases Draft Report on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

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The Department of the Environment and the Department of Health in Canada have published a draft report on the state of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The report aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of PFAS, a class of over 4,700 human-made substances, their sources, occurrence, and potential impacts on the environment and human health.

PFAS are widely used in various consumer products, industrial applications, and specialized applications due to their desirable properties, such as water and oil repellency and thermal resistance. However, their extreme persistence in the environment and propensity for accumulation have raised concerns about their potential adverse effects on both the environment and human health.

The draft report highlights that while data has been predominantly generated on a limited number of well-studied PFAS, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that exposure to other PFAS can also have adverse effects. Additionally, cumulative effects from exposure to multiple PFAS may occur. The report emphasizes the need for a qualitative assessment of PFAS to inform decision-making and develop risk management options.

To initiate discussions with stakeholders on risk management, the Ministers of the Environment and Health have released a risk management scope document for PFAS. The document aims to gather input and feedback from the public and interested parties on the potential risks and possible management strategies for PFAS.

The government recognizes the need for action to address PFAS concerns. Currently, a limited number of PFAS subgroups are subject to risk management controls in Canada. The proposed addition of PFAS to Schedule 1 of the Act would further enhance regulatory measures to protect the environment and human health.

The Government of Canada remains committed to studying the ecological and human health effects associated with PFAS exposure, as well as collaborating with international partners on initiatives addressing PFAS. Through these efforts, the government aims to better understand the risks posed by PFAS and develop effective strategies for their management.

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