Protection from Chemicals in the Water We Drink

On May 31st, Canada and the United States designated the first set of Chemicals of Mutual Concern which are potentially harmful to human health or the environment, and are caused by anthropogenic sources - sources that were caused or influenced by humans.

Glasses of water30 million people get their drinking water from the Great Lakes. All levels of society need to work together to press for more progress on protecting the water from potentially harmful chemicals in the Lakes. While certainly a lot more needs to be done (micro plastics, pharmaceuticals etc.), bi-national agreement on a first set of chemicals in which to coordinate preventative and corrective actions is an achievement in the right direction.

Why were these identified?

These identifications are part of the requirements of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality agreement (annexes) between the the United States and Canada. Both countries are then committed to follow-up action on these problem chemicals.
Read more about follow-up actions
Information directly from
  • Prepare binational strategies and coordinate “the development and application of domestic water quality standards, objectives, criteria and guidelines, as appropriate;
  • Reduce anthropogenic releases of chemicals of mutual concern and products containing chemicals of mutual concern throughout their entire life cycles;
  • Promote the use of safer chemical substances and the use of technologies that reduce or eliminate the uses and releases of chemicals of mutual concern;
  • Continue progress toward the sound management of chemicals of mutual concern using approaches that are accountable, adaptive and science-based;
  • Monitor and evaluate the progress and effectiveness of pollution prevention and control measures for chemicals of mutual concern and adapt management approaches as necessary;
  • Regularly exchange information on monitoring, surveillance, research, technologies, and measures for managing chemicals of mutual concern; and
  • Coordinate and collaborate with various stakeholders on science priorities, research, surveillance and monitoring activities in the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.”
  • Read more about The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the 2012 Annexes
  • 1972 – Canada and the US signed the first binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement; which was focused primarily on reducing algae through phosphorus limitation
  • 1978 – Agreement goal was expanded to include:
      * Restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the water of the Great Lakes Ecosystem basin
      * Reducing toxic substances within the Great Lakes and working on their prevention pathways
      * Recognizing that there needs to be an an ecosystem approach to the goal
  • 1987 – Areas of Concern (AOC) added to the agreement. AOCs identify the most degraded areas of the Great Lakes, and support Remedial Action Plans and Proposals. 2 Georgian Bay AOCs, Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan and Colllingwood Harbour have since been successfully delisted
  • 2012 – Amendments added to improve identification, management, and prevention of Great Lakes environmental issues
    • The 10 annexes from the 2012 Agreement
      1) Reaffirming commitment to Areas of Concern (AOC)
      2) Reasserting obligations to develop Lake-wide Management Plans for each Great Lake
      3) Targeting Chemicals of Mutual Concern
      4) Studying nutrient loading and reduce occurrence of toxic and nuisance algal blooms (particularly in Lake Erie)
      5) Combining efforts to prevent harmful discharges from vessels including sewage, garbage, oil, aquatic invasive species, and other pollutants
      6) Reducing spread and prevent introduction of new Aquatic Invasive Species
      7) Developing conservation, protection, and restoration strategies for native species and risk species and their habitat that help to contribute to water quality.
      8) Researching, monitoring, and acting to protect Great Lakes groundwater for negative impacts
      9) Working to improve effectiveness of management strategies for protecting the Great Lakes water quality from climate change impacts
      10) Increasing cooperation and coordination of science activities in the Great Lakes.

      Reference for this information – “Georgian Bay Stewardship Guide”, or South-Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Guide. The guide has numerous supporters, reviewers and members on the steering committee. The concept was originated from the Lake Simcoe Stewardship Guide. My copy was obtained from the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.
    Find additional information on the focus of actions under this annex: This annex is implemented by a sub-committee co-led by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Organizations represented include: Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Minnesota Department of Health, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    What are the first set of chemicals of mutual concern?

    Many of these seem quite daunting to try to pronounce let alone understand what they are, and where they might commonly come from. Find below some key points from extensive reports put together by the Identification Task Teams of the Annex 3 Subcommittee working on compliance to the Great Lakes Quality Agreement.

    Brominated Flame Retardants:
    1. PBDEs and 2.HBCD
  • Key points taken directly from Binational Summary Report: Brominated Flame Retardants (PBDEs and HBCD) unless otherwise indicated.
  • What are Bromines? Bromines are linked by some research to interrupting or impeding endocrine function (glands that secrete hormones or other products into the blood).Reference: The Psychosis-Inducing Beverage Ingredient You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of brominated flame retardants. When fire occurs, the PBDE formulations trigger chemical reactions which impede the combustion process, delay ignition and limit the spread of fire. PBDEs are used as flame retardants in a number of applications, including textiles, plastics, wire insulation, and automobiles. Historically,PBDEs were used extensively in the U.S. and Canada; however, due to global restrictions, there has been a shift to other substances.
    • PBDEs have a common structure of a brominated diphenyl ether molecule that may have anywhere from 1 to 10 bromine atoms attached. There are many possible PBDE compounds which have different uses and different toxicity.
    • PBDEs have never been manufactured in Canada. N. American manufacturers of 2 of the more common forms agreed to voluntarily stop production by the end of 2004, which was soon followed on an international basis. 3 Major Manufacturers in the US agreed voluntarily to stop producing, importing, or selling another one of the common forms. In 2013, the export and sale of another type to Canada was to be phased out entirely.
    • The atmosphere is the primary transport medium of PBDEs , and soils and sediments are environmental sinks. Transport can occur over relatively long distances, greater than 1,000 km. Evidence for this comes from the presence of PBDEs in polar environments, and in the tissues of deep ocean-dwelling whales and other marine mammals who spend a significant portion of their lives far from anthropogenic sources.
    • PBDEs bioaccumulate into terrestrial and aquatic food webs. This tendency has resulted in extensive accumulation of PBDEs in a wide variety of birds, fish, insects, and aquatic and terrestrial mammals. With respect to PBDEs, concentrations in top predator fish (e.g. lake trout and walleye), sediment and herring gull eggs exceed relevant guidelines. Furthermore, while temporal trends in some fish species have shown recent declines, beginning in mid-2000, concentrations of some homologues in sediment and herring gull eggs have shown a stable or slightly increasing long-term trend
    • Environmental and Human Health Benchmarks Guidelines: Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQGs) have been developed in Canada for certain types of PBDEs in water, fish tissue, sediment, wildlife (and bird eggs) to assess the ecological significance of levels of PBDEs in the environment. FEQGs are benchmarks for aquatic ecosystems that are intended to protect all forms of aquatic life (vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants) from direct adverse effects for indefinite exposure periods via the water column. Additionally, fish consumption advisories exist across the Great Lakes due to PBDE concentrations. Therefore PBDEs have been identified as a threat to the environment.
  • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is a category of brominated flame retardants. The main use of HBCD is as a flame retardant in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) and extruded polystyrene foam (XPS). HBCD may also be used as a flame retardant in the backcoating of textiles for upholstered furniture, upholstery seating in transportation vehicles, draperies, wall coverings, mattress ticking, and interior textiles such as roller blinds.
    • The majority of HBCD used in textiles is for upholstered furniture, in order to meet the stringent fire safety laws of the United Kingdom and California, although according to sources, less than 1% of the total commercial and consumer use of HBCD was used for fabrics, textiles and apparel.
    • In addition, HBCD is used as a flame retardant in high impact polystyrene (HIPS) for electrical and electronic appliances such as audio-visual equipment, and some wire and cable applications.
    • HBCD’s use in numerous industrial applications has extended over decades, and is in increased demand. This demand may correlate with the decrease in the use of other flame retardants (Polybrominated diphenyl ethers – PBDEs). As a result, levels of HBCD in the environment have also been increasing, since mid-2000.
    • HBCD is highly persistent in air, water, soil and sediment and is subject to long-range transport from its source to remote areas, including the Arctic, where concentrations in the atmosphere have been found to be elevated. Along with its persistence, HBCD has been shown to have a strong potential to bioaccumulate and biomagnify up the food chain.
    • HBCD is very toxic to aquatic organisms. In mammals, studies have shown reproductive, developmental and behavioural effects. Some of these effects, including endocrine disruption, are trans-generational and detectable even in unexposed offspring. Recent studies also indicate its potential to interfere with the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis, to disrupt normal development, to affect the central nervous system, and to induce reproductive and developmental effects. It is found in a variety of Arctic species including benthic organisms, seabirds, walrus, narwhal, beluga whales, and polar bears (UNEP 2006).
    • Limited Great Lakes data is available and therefore it is not possible to conclude whether present environmental concentrations exceed relevant benchmarks or guidelines. However, data from other international and North American monitoring and surveillance activities suggest that HCBD is ubiquitous in the ambient environment.
    • Draft Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQGs) have been developed in Canada. FEQGs are benchmarks for aquatic ecosystems that are intended to protect all forms of aquatic life (vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants) from direct adverse effects for indefinite exposure periods via the water column
    • GBF will continue to look forward and report on binational actions that result from being on the list of Chemicals of Mutual Concern (see follow up actions in left hand column)
  • Perfluorinated Chemicals:
    3. PFOS, 4. PFOA and 5. Long-Chain PFCAs
    Summary of key points taken directly from Binational Summary Report: Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFOS, PFOA and Long-Chain PFCAs) unless otherwise indicated.
  • Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) are manufactured compounds that increase the resistance of everyday products to stains, grease, and water. They are slow to breakdown in the environment and are called persistent. In humans, they would not be stored in body fat like other persistent chemicals, but it takes several years for 50% of this chemical to leave the body. While there is much study going on, some studies have shown that in animals, endocrine activity can be impaired. More research needs to be done on human impact. Source: Perfluorintaed Chemicals (PFCs), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
  • These are the PFCs types that are recognized as concerning by the US and Canada: Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Long-Chain Perfluorinated carboxylic acids (LC-PFCAs)
  • Increasing concentrations of PFOS and PFOA, and to a lesser extent long-chain PFCAs, have been observed in sediment, with long-term concentration trends in both top-predator fish (Lake Erie and Ontario) and herring gull eggs (all locations). Therefore, PFOS,PFOA and long-chain PFCAs have been identified as a threat to the environment and to human health in the basin.
    • PFOs are used as a surfactant most notably in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) to fight fuel fires and in fume suppressants used in metal plating processes and in the semiconductor industry. Surfactants come from the phrase ‘surface active agent’. They reduce surface tension between 2 liquids or a solid and liquid and are used often in detergents.For example in soap, surfactants produce these effects – foam and grease transfer from hands to water. 7. PFOS-related substances were commonly used as water, oil, soil and grease repellents for paper and packaging, carpets, and fabrics. These substances can be released into the environment both directly and indirectly (through degradation of its precursors) during manufacture, use and/or disposal of products containing them. PFOS is exceptionally persistent and subject to long -range transport, and is ubiquitous in the environment.
    • PFOS concentrations in air are highest near populated areas. Although there is no temporal trend data for PFC concentrations in air within the Great Lakes Basin, data from Alert station in Nunavut shows an oscillating but declining trend in air.
    • PFOA and PFOS are found in wastewater plant effluent. PFOS has been detected at drinking water plant treatment facilities in source and treated waters. Concentrations of PFOS are found in fish from the Great Lakes at concentrations which exceed the draft Canadian federal environmental quality guidelines established for the protection of avian and mammalian predators, but below fish tissue guidelines established for the protection of fish themselves. No Canadian environmental quality guidelines exist for PFOA.
    • US EPA data shows that production of PFOS and its direct precursors, while extensive from approximately 1970 through 2002 (100,000tons total), began declining in 2003, after its principle manufacturer stopped production, and is expected to near zero production by 2015, based on other voluntary agreements with US EPA and the full use of inventories of other regulated chemicals. As PFOS-containing chemicals become more heavily regulated, their production has continued to move to developing countries where US EPA cannot track production volumes, and PFO articles are not tracked by US EPA.
    • Results from the 2000 CEPA 1999 s.71 survey indicated that PFOS and its precursors are not manufactured in Canada, and imports of PFOS and its precursors accounted for 43% (258,000kg) of the 600,000 kg of PFASs imported between 1997 –2000
    • In 2006, the Ministers of the Environment and of Health published, in Part I of the Canada Gazette, their final decision on the assessment of PFOS, its salts and certain other compounds(EC, 2008). The screening assessment concluded that PFOS, its salts and certain other compounds are or may be entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity. The assessment also concluded that current levels of PFOS exposure are below levels which might affect human health
    • In 2008, the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and Its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations came into force to protect Canada’s environment from the use and release of PFOS, its salt and its precursors (EC, 2008) . Those regulations prohibit the manufacture, use, sale offer for sale and import of PFOS, as well as manufactured products containing PFOS unless incidentally present, with certain exemptions. They align with existing controls in the United States and the EU.
    • The Screening Health Assessment concluded that PFOA and its salts are not entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.
    • In the absence of a Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guideline(CDWQG), Health Canada may develop Drinking Water Guidance Values (DWGVs). Drinking Water Guidance Values are developed on an as needed basis, and are based on an evaluation of readily available health studies. DWGVs are not subject to the same development process as the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality which are peer-reviewed and undergo national consultation before being approved by the Federal-Provincial- Territorial Committees on Drinking Water and on Health and the Environment. DWGVs provide sound guidance related to the compound(s) of concern with respect to human health. DWGV scan be used as a screening tool on drinking water monitoring data. Where monitoring concentrations are well below the DWGV, no risk to human health is anticipated. In 2008, the Ontario Ministry of Environment requested DWGV be developed by Health Canada for PFOS and PFOA to assess a spill of aqueous fire fighting foam that had contaminated groundwater. These values were reaffirmed by Health Canada in 2012.Environment Canada has developed Draft Canadian Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines(FEQGs)for PFOS for aquatic life (water), fish tissue, wildlife diet, bird eggs. Various states in the US have drafted guidelines.
  • Both PFOA and other long-chain PFCAs are extremely persistent.
  • PFOA is manufactured for use primarily as an aqueous dispersion agent [as the ammonium salt] in the manufacture of fluoropolymers , which are substances with special properties that have thousands of important manufacturing and industrial applications (PTFE & PFCA). The wire and cable industry is one of the largest segments of the fluoropolymer market, accounting for more than 35 percent of total U.S. fluoropolymer use. Apparel makes up about 10 percent of total fluoropolymer use, based on total reported production volume.
    • Fluoropolymers are used in a wide variety of mechanical and industrial components, such as plastic gears, gaskets and sealants, pipes and tubing, O-rings, and many other products.Participating companies in the US EPA 2010/15 PFOA Stewardship Program have already ceased manufacturing and use of PFOA as a polymerization processing aid or are scheduled to do so by the end of 2015.
    • Certain types and grades of fluoropolymers have been manufactured using PFOA as a polymerization processing aid. Total U.S. demand for fluoropolymers in 2004 was between 50,000 and 100,000 metric tons. The United States accounted for less than 25 percent of the world consumption of PTFE in 2007, and between 25 and 50 percent of the world consumption of other fluoropolymers. PTFE is the most commonly used fluoropolymer, and the United States consumed less than 50,000 metric tons of PTFE in 2008.
    • The reported uses for PFOA and its salts included use as a component of a formulation and other uses (i.e., batteries, coatings, and lubricants). PFOA ammonium salt (APFO) is used primarily as a commercial polymerization aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers such as polytetrafluoroethylene(PFTE)and polyvinylidene fluoride, which are used in various sectors, including the automotive, electronics, construction and aerospace industries. APFO is also used as a constituent in aqueous fluoropolymer dispersions, which are formulated into paints, inks, photographic film additives and in the architectural fabricindustry. Aqueous fire- fighting foams may also contain APFO as a component. PFAS that are potential PFOA precursors are used in the treatment of food packaging materials to enhance their properties as a barrier to moisture and grease. Thus, although APFO is typically not intended to remain in manufactured articles, trace amounts may be present as a contaminant or degradation product.
    • Both PFOS (previously mentoned) and PFOA were manufactured in the USA for several decades before production ceased in the early 2000s for PFOS and in 2013 for PFOA. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA finalized two Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) in 2002 for 88 PFOS-related substances, which require companies to notify the EPA 90 days before starting to manufacture or importing these substances for a significant new use; this pre-notification allows time to evaluate the new use. In 2007, the SNURs were amended to include 183 additional PFOS-related substances
    • Long-chain PFCAs are used for surfactant applications and in the production of fluoropolymers (high-performance plastic materials used in harsh chemical and high-temperature environments like in defense related industries or even non-stick coatings in cookware), primarily polyvinylidene fluoride. Based on available information, long-chain PFCAs are rarely used intentionally in products. Commonly used precursors which are present in commercial products, such as long-chain fluorotelomers, e.g., substances derived from long-chain fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs), or other long-chain fluorotelomer-based substances, can degrade to long-chain PFCAs.
    • PFOS, PFOA and long-chain PFCAs have been assessed as meeting the criteria for toxicity to the environment under CEPA 1999; they are subject to a number of federal risk management activities in Canada
    • GBF will continue to look forward and report on binational actions that result from being on the list of Chemicals of Mutual Concern (see follow up actions in left hand column)
  • 6. Mercury
    Key points taken directly from Binational Summary Report: Mercury unless otherwise indicated.
  • There have been downward trends in concentrations of mercury, however the build-up in sentiment and in some fish regularly go over guidelines. Pre-industrialization, N. American atmospheric concentrations were at 0.5 – 0.8 ng/m3 vs. more currently at double the concentration (1.6) ng/m3 (3)
  • Mercury is a heavy metal that is naturally present in the environment, but also released as a result of human activities such as through coal combustion, petroleum product refinement, extraction of metals form ore, and the disposal of products (like batteries and light bulbs) containing mercury .
  • The real danger is that the mercury will be transformed into highly toxic methyl mercury in the environment, which can accumulate in living things and also increase in concentration (bio-magnify).
  • Mercury has debilitating effects on wildlife including reproductive issues and growth. For humans, who get mercury primarily through fish and seafood, methyl mercury concentrations that exceed guidelines is a neurotoxin that can damage the central nervous system , and for pregnant women it can damage their fetus.
  • However,the majority of advisories are minimally to moderately restrictive and that mercury currently causes about <1-2.5% and < 10% of the restrictive advisories for the general population and sensitive populations in Ontario;
  • Non-natural mercury does not break down in the environments. It can evaporate easily and can thus be transported by wind for long distances.
  • In Canada, mercury is part of the List of Toxic Substances and there have been many programs since the ’70s to reduce its risk. Ontario has also named it a toxic substance under regulation 455/09 in the Ontario Toxics Reduction Act. Domestic emissions have been reduced by 90% from 1970-2007. Many old uses of the chemical have been phased out (eg. Paints), however it is still used in electric power generation, non-ferrous smelting and refining, iron and steel industries and cement manufacture. In ’06 there was about 65 tonnes of human generated mercury deposits in Canada – most of which came form foreign source. China was the largest source with about 42%. 4
  • In the US, the EPA works with state and local governments on risk reduction. All 8 Great Lakes states have mercury actions, laws, and regulations. In ’05, about 100 tonnes of mercury came from human sources, despite almost a 60% reduction due to decreases from hospital and municipal incinerators and chlor-alkali factories. In the Great Lakes, coal fired utility boilers is the largest source of mercury at 57%.5. N. American domestic deposits of Mercury have greatly declined in the Great Lakes; but it is still a serious issue, and foreign atmospheric is rising to the top of deposit concerns.
  • Actions and regulations to address coal-fired electric generation are forthcoming in Canada and the US and all coal-fired utility boilers in Ontario have already been shut down. As more actions remain to be implemented across the rest of Canada and the US, this should also be considered a gap in risk management.
  • The lowest concentrations of mercury in the Great Lakes surface water is found in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay6
  • In summary, measured concentrations of mercury in offshore waters are declining in all of the Great Lakes and,at present, are below the 26 ng/L Canadian Water Quality Guideline for the Protection of Aquatic Life. However, because these are largely offshore Great Lakes concentrations, samples taken closer to shore or closer to potential sources are likely to yield higher values. Measured concentrations of mercury in sediment have declined significantly over the past four decades. Concentrations are typically very low across the western Great Lakes basin. However, concentrations in sediments of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario continue to routinely exceed the Canadian Sediment Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life. The higher concentrations of mercury observed in the eastern Great Lakes basin are likely representative of the greater proportion of existing local sources (e.g. electric power generation) and the fact that deposition rates are highest within close proximity of local source. In Lakes Erie and Ontario and concentrations across all of the lakes in some sport fish species warrant long-standing fish consumption advisories, due to fillet mercury concentrations.
  • GBF will continue to look forward to and report on binational actions that result from being on the list of Chemicals of Mutual Concern (see follow up actions in left hand column)
  • 7. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
    Key points taken directly from Binational Summary Report: Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) unless otherwise indicated.
  • They are artificial compounds that have useful properties for industrial activities including good insulating, low flammability, high heat capacity, low chemical reactivity and long-term resistance to degradation.
  • The types of PCBS that are bioaccumulative, meaning they build up in organisms faster than they can be excreted or broken down, are the most toxic.
  • PCBs, particularly the highly chlorinated mixtures, are associated with cancer of the liver in animals. Source: The PCBs Polychlorinated biphenyls, GreenFacts
  • PCBs chemicals are in a downward trend since the 1980s and 90s, however, concentrations are still high in fish and lake bottom sediment and consistently higher then guidelines and have warranted fish consumption advisories. PCBs still remain a threat – existing uses need to continue to be further controlled, contaminated sediments need to be dealt with, and the long-term monitoring of concentrations within species and the environment needs to persist .
  • PCBS were used widely, “primarily used as coolants and lubricants in a wide variety of electrical and other equipment, in applications such as: electrical transformers, capacitors and switches, electrical components in fluorescent lighting fixtures and appliances, and hydraulic and heat transfer systems. They were also used as plasticizers in other products, such adhesives, caulks, flame retardants, paints, pesticide carriers, plastics and many other industrial and commercial sealants.2
  • Canada made the import, manufacture and sale (for re-use) of PCBs illegal in 1977, and also made its release into the environment illegal in 1985. However, PCB equipment owners have been allowed to use the equipment until the end of its life subject to monitoring. Ontario has the largest amount at 202 thousand kilograms as of 2012. However, usage by the end of 2012 was 30% less than when regulations enforcement began in 2008.
  • The US produced 700 thousand tons (1.4 billion pounds) of PCBs from 1929 to 1977. Banned in ’79 by the EPA except for limited circumstances, unfortunately prior to ’79 large quantities were released into the environment
  • There are many federal and provincial/state programs supporting research and management of PCBS, but there are also opportunities for the countries to come together and fill gaps.
  • GBF will continue to look forward to and report on binational actions that result from being on the list of Chemicals of Mutual Concern (see follow up actions in left hand column)
  • 8. Short-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins (SCCPs)
    Key points taken directly from Binational Summary Report: Chlorinated Paraffins(Short, Medium and Long Chain) unless otherwise indicated.
  • Chlorinated Paraffins (CPs) are a group of synthetic organic chemicals consisting of n-alkanes with varying degrees of chlorination. CPs are often subdivided into SCCPs(C10–C13) (this is the short and on the mutual concern list), MCCPs (C14–C17) and LCCPs(C>18).
  • Production of SCCPs in the EU, USA and Canada ranged from 7,500-11,300 tons in 2007. Although production has decreased dramatically in North America and Europe, SCCP production has risen exponentially in China.
  • CPs are valued as extreme pressure additives in metalworking fluids because they reduce metal tool wear and are extremely cost-effective. CPs are used worldwide in a wide range of applications such as plasticizers and flame retardants in a wide range of plastics and sealants. More highly chlorinated CPs are used as flame retardants and water-repellents. Used from everything from wires to paints to softening agents in leather and so much more.
  • CPs have been measured in human liver, kidney, adipose tissue and breast milk. Although adequate information related to humans is not available, toxicokinetic studies in experimental animals indicate that distribution of CPs is expected to occur mainly in the liver, kidney, intestine, bone marrow, adipose tissue, and ovaries (IPCS 1996). In addition, CPs may cross the blood- placental barrier. Elimination of CPs shows an inverse relationship to chlorine content, that is, CPs with greater degrees of chlorination are not excreted as readily as CPs that are less chlorinated.The U.S. National Toxicology Program reviewed the toxicity of CPs (C12, 60% chlorine).They found that acute toxicity of SCCPs (C10-13) is very low: SCCPs may cause skin and eye irritation upon repeated application, but do not appear to induce skin sensitization. There is no experimental evidence using human data that demonstrates the carcinogenicity of SCCPs. In the 13th Report on Carcinogens, NCI lists CPs (C12, 60 percent chlorine) as reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. They are possibly carcinogenic to humans based on evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and mechanistic considerations.
  • Several reports include CPs among their evaluation of chemicals of emerging concern in the Great Lakes region
  • GBF will continue to look forward to and report on binational actions that result from being on the list of Chemicals of Mutual Concern (see follow up actions in left hand column)
  • GBF works on Water Quality

    Georgian Bay Forever is active on protecting water quality. We have worked with the Township of Georgian Bay on the first microbial assessment of water quality. We continue to work with the Georgian Bay Biosphere and other partners on establishing standard protocols for water quality monitoring. Also, we support research into investigating algal blooms. Learn more .

    About Georgian Bay Forever:
    Georgian Bay Forever is a charity that funds and supports scientific research and education that protects and enhances the waters of Georgian Bay, as part of the Great Lakes. Our vision is that Georgian Bay waters are healthy and thriving for future generations. Learn more about how you can support out work.

    References used in this post:

    Thank-you to all the sources and references in this post.

    Note - I try to bring together information to help educate about the Great Lakes Water Quality agreement. I do use sources, in this case the actual words from government documents to provide information. I do my very best to attribute properly and try very hard to get it right. If I have made an inadvertent mistake around improperly recognizing someone’s work or misinterpreting the work, please let me know via email at communications and I will correct.

  • Canada and the United States Designate the First Set of Chemicals of Mutual Concern" Email from Grands Lacs/ Great Lakes (EC), May 31, 2016
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    7 Surfactants: the ubiquitous amphiphiles. Royal Society of Chemistry