Canada Approves SOR/2014-254 Products Containing Mercury Regulations

Vol. 806 | December 23, 2014

As part of Environment Canada’s initiative to protect the environment and human health, the Governor General approved SOR/2014-254 Products Containing Mercury Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The effective date of this regulation is November 8, 2015.

Mercury, a naturally occurring element used in various manufacturing processes and products, from dental amalgams to batteries, has come under increased scrutiny in recent years. Mercury is also a persistent and bio accumulative toxin, which can have fatal effects on human health and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems at low concentrations.

SOR/2014-254 is aimed to reduce the risks posed by mercury release to the environment by prohibiting the manufacture and import of products containing mercury or any of its compounds. For some products, which have no technically or economically viable alternatives, content of mercury will be limited, exempted or allowed upon approval.

Scope: All products containing mercury are covered by these regulations except the ones listed below:

  • Waste; 
  • Products regulated by the Food and Drugs Act; 
  • A veterinary biologic; 
  • Surface coatings as defined by the Surface Coating Materials Regulations or the Toys Regulations; 
  • A pest control product; 
  • Feed; 
  • Fertilizer; 
  • Ammunition and explosives; 
  • Products, other than batteries, that have a mercury concentration of 0.1% or less by weight in homogenous materials; 
  • A battery, other than a button cell battery, that has a mercury concentration of 0.0005% or less by weight in homogeneous materials; 
  • Beginning on January 1, 2016, a button cell battery that has a mercury concentration of 0.0005% or less by weight in homogeneous materials; 
  • From January 1, 2016 until December 31, 2019, a button cell battery that is incorporated into a medical device that is intended to remain in the body for at least 30 consecutive days; 
  • Ores, concentrates and by-products of metallurgic operations; 
  • On-road vehicles; 

Prohibition: Certain products containing mercury may be manufactured or imported to Canada, if present on the list of products specified and containing mercury within the limits associated or if the person holds a permit issued by the Minister.

The list of approved products is primarily electrical or electronic in nature with the exception of dental amalgams, thermometers and other scientific equipment, diagnostic assays and laboratory standards.

Labeling: With few exceptions, all products containing mercury, if manufactured or imported into Canada, require the following information readily visible on the product and packaging:

    (a) The statement “Contains mercury / Contient du mercure”;

    (b) Safe handling procedures and the measures to be taken in case of accidental breakage;

    (c) The options available for the disposal and recycling of the product in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction where the disposal or recycling is to take place;

    (d) A statement to the effect that the product should be disposed of or recycled in accordance with the applicable laws.

The information shall be present in both official languages, of a font size of at least 10 points with characters that are at least 3 mm in height, enclosed by a border and easily distinguishable from other graphic material on the product or package.

Products too small to contain the information can have the information available on the package. If there is no package or the package is too small to accommodate the information, the information can be provided via a notice or a manual accompanying the product.

Certain products listed in the regulation shall carry the ‘Hg’ symbol legibly and indelibly, in the locations specified and according to the font size requirements.

Other significant features of this regulation:

  • All forms of mercury are regulated; elemental mercury including any compounds. 
  • Determination of mercury, for the purposes of these regulations shall be conducted either at a laboratory accredited by a Canadian accrediting body under the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 or by a laboratory accredited under the Environment Quality Act, R.S.Q., c. Q-2. 
  • Starting the 2016 calendar year and every third calendar year after that, persons manufacturing or importing mercury containing products, with few exceptions, shall submit reports to the Minister providing detailed information on the persons themselves and the products.  
  • Persons manufacturing or importing mercury containing products are also required to maintain records at the person’s principal place of business in Canada, for a period of 5 years after the day on which the records are made, about the product with regards to date of manufacture, mercury content etc. 

The Final Regulation can be viewed at: http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2014/2014-11-19/html/sor-dors254-eng.php

For questions, please contact:

Laxmi Ravikumar
Tel: 1.630.209.9265
Email: laxmi.ravikumar@intertek.com

Pratik Ichhaporia
Tel: 1.312.906.7720
Email: pratik.ichhaporia@intertek.com

Jackson Cheung
Tel: 1.647.669.4925
Email: jackson.cheung@intertek.com

 

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