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Chlorinated Alkanes

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Final Update on the Human Health Assessment of Long-Chain Chlorinated Alkanes

On May 12, 2012 the Final Update on the Human Health Assessment of Long-Chain Chlorinated Alkanes was released and the related Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 146, No. 19 – May 12, 2012 ( PDF Version - 2.282 K).

New information received after the publication of the 2008 Final follow-up assessment report on chlorinated paraffins has led to a change in the conclusion previously published regarding chlorinated alkanes containing 18 carbon atoms or more.

The final update on the human health report concludes that chlorinated alkanes containing 18 or more carbon atoms are not entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that may constitute a danger to human life or health as defined in the paragraph 64(c) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999).

Adding Chlorinated Alkanes to Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

In 2008, chlorinated paraffins (now referred to as chlorinated alkanes) were proposed to be added to Schedule 1. In October 2011, chlorinated alkanes containing 10 to 20 carbon atoms were included in a final Order to add to Schedule 1.

Draft Update on the Human Health Assessment of Long-Chain Chlorinated Alkanes

On September 3, 2011 the draft update on the human health assessment of long-chain chlorinated alkanes was released and the related Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 145, No. 36 - September 3, 2011 (PDF Version - 1101 K) for a 60-day public comment period.

Background

Throughout this section the terms chlorinated alkanes and chlorinated paraffins are used. The term chlorinated paraffins continues to be used only when referring to documents published prior to September, 2011 with that name in the title.

Chlorinated alkanes are subdivided into three classes: short-chain chlorinated alkanes (with 10 to 13 carbon atoms); medium-chain chlorinated alkanes (with 14 to 17 carbon atoms); and long-chain chlorinated alkanes (with 18 or more carbon atoms).

In 1993 chlorinated alkanes, which appeared on the first Priority Substances List (PSL1), were assessed to determine whether they meet criteria set out in section 11 of the 1988 Canadian Environmental Protection Act (Priority Substances List Assessment Report for Chlorinated Paraffins). It was concluded that short-chain chlorinated alkanes could pose a danger to human life or health. However, there was insufficient information to conclude whether other chlorinated alkanes could be harmful to the environment or whether other chlorinated alkanes could constitute a danger to human life or health.

Discussions aimed at managing the risks posed by short-chain chlorinated alkanes were conducted with stakeholders. However, risk management discussions were suspended, pending the generation and review of new information concerning the risk of chlorinated paraffins to human health and the environment.

In June 2005 a draft follow-up risk assessment report on chlorinated alkanes was released for a 60-day public comment period, and a Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 139, No. 24 - June 11, 2005 (PDF Version - 1288 K) indicating the Government's proposed measures for these substances. Comments and the Government's response relating to the assessment report are summarized in the Summary table of public comments on the draft follow-up risk assessment report.

In August 2008, a Final follow-up assessment report on chlorinated paraffins was published and the related Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 142, No. 35 - August 30, 2008 (PDF Version - 710 K). That assessment concluded that:

  • All chlorinated alkanes meet the criteria under paragraph 64(c) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999);
  • Chlorinated alkanes containing up to 20 carbon atoms are predominantly anthropogenic and the available data regarding their persistence and bioaccumulation potential indicates that they satisfy the criteria outlined in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations, made under CEPA 1999. Chlorinated alkanes containing up to 20 carbon atoms thus meet the criteria for virtual elimination of releases to the environment.

As a result, it was recommended that these substances be added to Schedule 1 to CEPA 1999.

A proposed Risk management approach document for chlorinated paraffins was also released in conjunction with the final follow-up assessment in August 2008.  The Government's Response to comments on the risk management approach and consultation document on chlorinated alkanes (previously called chlorinated paraffins) is now available.

The Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012, published on January 2, 2013 in the Canada Gazette, Part II, include controls on the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of chlorinated alkanes containing 10 to 13 carbon atoms (short-chain chlorinated alkanes) and products containing these substances. Options are being considered for the control of releases to the environment of chlorinated alkanes containing 14 to 20 carbon atoms.