In an article from April 26, 2021, news provider Chemical Watch reported on the announcement from Environmental and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada planning to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) as a class and asking for feedback on unforeseeable “challenges and opportunities.”

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists more than 9,000 PFAS compounds as widely used as surfactants, lubricants, and repellents in food contact materials (FCMs). PFAS are highly persistent, ubiquitous substances, and their presence has been linked to negative impacts on human health and the environment. Since regulating each PFAS individually has been seen by many stakeholders as very slow and impractical, the Canadian government plans to adopt a class-based assessment approach going forward for PFAS.

Further, the authorities announced they will: (1) continue to invest in PFAS-related research and monitoring, (2) collect and examine information on implementing a class-based approach, and (3) review developments in other jurisdictions. The goal is to publish a “State of PFAS” report summarizing all available information on the class of PFAS within the next two years. Stakeholders interested in providing feedback on the proposed plan, especially regarding “challenges or opportunities” are welcome to contact the agencies to send their comments.

The scientific basis for managing and regulating PFAS as a single class has already been proposed by a group of scientists in July 2020 (FPF reported). In February 2021, a group of 67 US scientists also publicly recommended to the new US EPA administrator to implement a class-based ban on all PFAS except essential uses (FPF reported). In the same month, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control under the Safer Consumer Products Framework shared measures and rationales for class-based regulation, pointing out there is “no legal precedent in any jurisdiction” (FPF reported). Several US states (FPF reported), the EU, as well as some big retailers such as Amazon (FPF reported) and McDonald’s (FPF reported) have already started the process of phasing out all PFAS, including uses in FCMs.

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Government of Canada (April 27, 2021). “Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 155, Number 17: Government Notices.”

Terry Hyland (April 26, 2021). “Canada announces plans to address PFASs as a class.” Chemical Watch