Canada’s Department of Health and Department of Environment is proposing amendments to its regulations governing products containing mercury. If accepted, they will lower limits for certain fluorescent lamps and end exemptions for most other mercury-containing lamps and catalysts used to make polyurethane.
Exposure to mercury is of major concern in Canada. This heavy metal is present in many different forms in the environment and can be carried over long distances in the atmosphere before being deposited. When it is transformed into the naturally occurring compound methylmercury, it is toxic and can bioaccumulate in the aquatic food chain.
Canada’s Products Containing Mercury Regulations (SOR/2014-254) (the Regulations) manages these risks. Published on November 19, 2014, before coming into force on November 8, 2015, it prohibits the manufacture and import of products containing mercury or any of its compounds. However, these regulations do not fully align with all the requirements of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which Canada ratified in 2017. On December 24, 2022, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health published amendments – Amending the Products Containing Mercury Regulations – to enable Canada to meet requirements for mercury-containing products under the Minamata Convention.
The highlights of the proposed amendments are summarized in Table 1:
|New Amendments||Potential Effective Date||Additional Requirement|
Additionally, other exemptions for products no longer in use in Canada, and references to products with expired exemption periods, would be remove.
There is a 75-day consultation period for these proposed amendments, until March 9, 2023, during which the public can submit relevant opinions.
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