U.S., Canada Target Reductions in Chemicals on New Binational List to Reduce Public Health Risk

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna at bilateral talks in Ottawa. (Credit US Embassy Ottawa)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna today announced that Canada and the U.S. have agreed to target reductions of eight chemicals.

The two countries agreed to target a new list of Chemicals of Mutual Concern (CMCs) to protect public health and the environment in the Great Lakes region under Annex 3 of the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

“Designating these Chemicals of Mutual Concern puts us on the road to reducing them to protect the public health and water quality of the Great Lakes region,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Together with Canada and the region’s partners, we’re making the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement work hard for the tens of millions of people who live, work and play around these magnificent water bodies.”

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Catherine McKenna said, “A safe and secure water supply is critical for human health, the environment and the economy. The joint designation of these chemicals of mutual concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is yet another example of Canada’s commitment to keep our Great Lakes great through collaboration and sound science.”

Following an extensive, collaborative and transparent process, the following chemicals were designated as the first Chemicals of Mutual Concern under the new Agreement:

1.    Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD);
2.    Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs);
3.    Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA);
4.    Perfluorooctane Sulfonate  (PFOS);
5.    Long-Chain Perfluorocarboxylic Acids (LC-PFCAs);
6.    Mercury;
7.    Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); and
8.    Short-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins (SCCPs).

Through the Agreement, Canada and the United States committed to protect human health and the environment through cooperative and coordinated measures to reduce the release of chemicals to the Great Lakes. The Agreement requires the two governments to prepare binational strategies to reduce exposure to the new CMCs and to coordinating the development and application of domestic water quality standards, objectives, criteria and guidelines, as appropriate.

For more information on Chemicals of Mutual Concern or the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, visit www.binational.net.