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Amendments to the Products Containing Mercury Regulations of Canada have been proposed to adjust the mercury content limits for fluorescent lamps to align with limits proposed in the UN’s Minamata Convention on Mercury.

SAFEGUARDS | Electrical & Electronics NO. 050/18

SafeGuardS fluorescent lamps

In March 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) provided proposed amendments to the Products Containing Mercury Regulations [1] for consultation. This proposal would adjust the mercury limits for certain fluorescent lamps to better align the regulations to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which Canada ratified in April 2017. In doing so, Canada became the 41st country to accept the convention.

 

The Minamata Convention includes measures to phase-out, certain mercury-containing products, such as fluorescent lamps, by 2020. The proposed amendments to the regulations are required to bring Canadian requirements in line with this treaty. The convention addresses the worldwide mercury pollution problems with the goal to protect the environment and human health with regards to controlling, reducing and, in some cases, eliminating the use of mercury by 2020.

 

The Products Containing Mercury Regulations was originally published, in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on November 19, 2014 and enacted on November 8, 2015. The aim of the regulations was to prohibit the import and manufacture of products containing mercury or any of its compounds. There were some product exemptions, for applicable medical and research products, and there are mercury content limits provided for certain lamps and lighting products. The exemptions and limits are in place where there is no cost effective or viable alternatives.

 

The proposed amendments for some fluorescent lamps are summarized in Table 1:

Product Category
Products Containing Mercury Regulations [2]
Current Limits
Minamata Convention on Mercury [3]
Current Limits
Products Containing Mercury Regulations Proposed Limits per Amendment (March 2018)
General Purpose Linear Fluorescent Lamps (LFLs)

T12, ≤ 4-foot
10 mg per lamp

T12, 8-foot
15 mg per lamp

T12, ≤ 4-foot
10 mg per lamp

T12, 8-foot
10 mg per lamp
T12, ≤ 4-foot
10 mg currently meets convention limit, but looking for comment/consultation on lowering limit

T12, 8-foot
10 mg per lamp
Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps
≤ 1.5 m in length
10 mg per lamp

> 1.5 m in length
13 mg per lamp
≤ 0.5 m in length
3.5 mg per lamp

> 0.5 and ≤ 1.5 in length
5 mg per lamp

> 1.5 m in length
13 mg per lamp
≤ 1.5 m in length
3.5 mg per lamp


External Electrode Fluorescent Lamps
≤ 1.5 m in length
5 mg per lamp

> 1.5 m in length
13 mg per lamp

≤ 0.5 m in length
3.5 mg per lamp

> 0.5 and ≤ 1.5 in length
5 mg per lamp

> 1.5 m in length
13 mg per lamp
≤ 1.5 m in length
3.5 mg per lamp


Table 1

In addition to fluorescent lamps, the amendment proposes to remove the exemption for automobile headlights, as there are currently many more alternatives which do not contain mercury. This proposal is to remove the exemption for headlights in 2023.

Next step:

Stakeholder comment on these proposed changes was due on April 2, 2018 and this proposed amendment is expected to be published for public comment in late 2018.

SGS is committed to providing information about development in regulations for consumer products as complimentary services. Through a global network of laboratories, SGS provides a wide range of services including physical/mechanical testing, analytical testing and consultancy work for technical and non-technical parameters applicable to a comprehensive range of consumer products. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

For enquiries, please contact:

David Linder
RSTS Technical Manager Electrical & Electronic Products
t: +1 973-461-7901

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