Posted on 21/09/2021 in Building & Construction Fire Safety Regulatory 2021
Firefighters and harmful chemicals

Canada has announced the aim to protect firefighters from toxic substances, including certain flame retardants. Canada’s Federal Ministers for Health and for the Environment together announced an “Action Plan” to protect firefighters from “harmful chemicals released during household fires”, including “Banning harmful flame retardants”, supporting development of safe FRs and alternatives to chemical FRs, monitoring of firefighter exposure, identifying firefighter practices to reduce exposure, improving PPE (personal protective equipment) and information/awareness activities. To date, it is not clear whether this “Action Plan” will involve new regulatory or policy actions. References are to existing voluntary / industry information actions such as the Health Canada “Notice to stakeholders on the use of flame‑retardant chemicals in certain consumer products in Canada” and to existing Canada federal chemical policy, under which 168 flame retardants have been assessed since 2006 (48 as existing Priority Substances, 120 as New Substances) and a 36 further FRs have been identified as priorities for review. The excel summary table* on the Canada government website lists 17 FRs found not harmful to health or the environment, 2 found to show low risk and 12 considered to be “harmful”.

* FRs found by Canada Government assessment to be:
– Not harmful to health or the environment: Ethylene bis(tetrabromo phthalimide) (EBTBP); Tributyl phosphate (TBP); Antimony trioxide; TBBPA bis(allyl ether); TBBPA bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether); Tricresyl phosphate (TCP), Hexachlorocyclo pentadiene; TBBPA; TDBP-TAZTO; Pentabromophenol PBP; Bromoethane; 2,2-bis(bromomethyl)-1,3-Propanediol; Chlorendic Acid; DMPP; α- bromo- chloro- alkenes C12-30; Chloro alkenes C12-24;
– Low potential for harm: ATE; bis(2-ethylhexyl) 3,4,5,6-tetra bromophthalate (TBPH); 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetra bromobenzoate (TBB);
– Harmful to the environment and/or to human health: Dechlorane Plus (DP); Decabromo diphenyl ethane (DBDPE); Tri(chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP); Hexabromocyclo dodecane (HBCD); Decabromo biphenyl; Tetrabromo(tetra bromophenyl) benzene Hexabromo biphenyl (HBB); Decabromo diphenyl ether (decaBDE); Pentabromo diphenyl ether (pentaBDE); Octabromodiphenyl ether (octaBDE); Hexabromo diphenyl ether (hexaBDE); Tetrabromo diphenyl ether (tetraBDE); Nonabromo diphenyl ether (nonaBDE); Heptabromo diphenyl ether (heptaBDE)
– Proposed harmful to the environment and/or human health: TCPP; Boric acid, its salts and its precursors; TDCPP; Melamine.
“Government of Canada announces action plan to protect firefighters from harmful chemicals”, 11 August 2021
Canada Government “Flame Retardants” page


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