Priority Substances Assessment Program

The Second Priority Susbtances List under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1988 (CEPA 1988)

Extract of the Canada Gazette, Part I, published on December 16, 1995

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) authorizes the Ministers of National Health and Welfare and of the Environment to conduct research and collect information on substances that may contaminate the environment and cause adverse effects on human health or the environment. The term "substance" is defined in section 3 of CEPA and can include chemicals, complex mixtures, effluents and emissions. Subsection 12(1) of CEPA states:

"The Ministers shall compile and may amend from time to time a list to be known as the Priority Substances List, and the List shall specify substances in respect of which the Ministers are satisfied priority should be given in assessing whether they are toxic or capable of becoming toxic."

Substances that appeared on the Priority Substances List must be assessed to determine whether they are 'toxic' according to the definition specified in section 11 of the Act, which states, in part:

"... a substance is toxic if it is entering or may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions

a. having or that may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment;
b. constituting or that may constitute a danger to the environment on which human life depends; or
c. constituting or that may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health."

The assessment process includes examining relevant chemical, biological, human health and environmental information. The process can include testing and additional reasearch. Upon completion of the assessment for each substance, a report will be prepared and made available to the public and a summary of the results will be published in the Canada Gazette.

If a substance is found 'toxic', the Ministers may recommend that management strategies be developed to prevent or reduce the potential for harm to the environment or humans. Management strategies, which integrate socio-economic considerations, are developed in consultation with stakeholders and may include voluntary controls, process changes, substitutions, economic measures, regulations, guidelines, codes of practice, or a combination of these measures.

The first Priority Substances List (PSL) was published in the Canada Gazette in February 1989 and contained 44 substances. Assessments were completed by February 1994. Results appeared in the Canada Gazette and in individual assessment reports.

In December 1994, the Ministers of the Environment and Health established an Expert Advisory Panel to recommend a new set of priority substances for assessment under CEPA. The Panel represented a cross-section of scientific and professional expertise and was responsible for establishing a broad consultation network. Panel members were drawn from major stakeholder groups across Canada,including the academic community, health and environmental groups, industry, the federal and provincial/territorial governments and from the international community.

The Panel presented its report (Executive Summary) to the Ministers in November 1995. The Report identifies the 25 recommended substances for the second PSL and the rationale for their selection. The Ministers accepted the 25 substances recommended by the Panel for inclusion on the second Priority Substances List.

The second CEPA Priority Substances List appears below. The substances are listed in alphabetical order. Where applicable, the name of the substance is accompanied by the Chemical Abstract Service Registry Number that uniquely identifies the substance:

From time to time, the Ministers will review the List and publish any amendments in the Canada Gazette. In addition, subsection 12(4) of CEPA allows any person to contribute to this process by writing to the minister of the Environment requesting that a substance be added to the List and stating the reasons for adding the substance. The Minister will respond to such request within 90 days, indicating how the request will be dealt with and the reasons for doing so.

For further information or copies of the Panel's report (Executive Summary), please contact either of the following officials:

Existing Substances Division
Environment Canada
Gatineau, Ouebec
K1A  0H3

Bureau of Chemical Hazards
Environmental Health Centre
Health Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0L2

Note: Although care has been taken to ensure that this extract accurately reflects the Canada Gazette, Part I, published December 16, 1995, readers are advised that, should any inconsistencies be found, the Canada Gazette will prevail.

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