by Scott Sagamang, Business Development Manager - Environmental Services, TUV Rheinland of North America.
The effective date of this regulation is November 8, 2015
Mercury also known as quicksilver is a heavy, silvery-white liquid metal. It is considered a highly toxic element that is found both naturally as well as through manufacturing use or disposal activities. While consumption of fish is considered to be the most significant source of ingestion related to mercury, coal-burning power plants, metal production, waste disposal, chemical production are also known to cause mercury poisoning. Studies and research has found that even minimal exposure to mercury can cause adverse effect to the environment as well as human health.
Several countries and government agencies have issued a ban limiting the use of Mercury. In 2008, the United States, ranked the world’s top exporter of mercury, introduced the Mercury Export Ban Act, implementation of which would remove a significant amount of mercury from the global market. Several other nations including EU and China has followed suit.
The most recent of such a ban comes from Canada. The Governor General of Canada, approved the SOR/2014-254: Products Containing Mercury Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The effective date of this regulation is November 8, 2015.
According to the SOR/2014-254, subject to section 2, these Regulations apply to any product that contains mercury and its compounds. The new regulation also provides a list of products that are exempt from this regulation, as long as they fall within the categories listed:
- a product that is at the end of its useful life and that is intended to be recycled
- a food, drug, or cosmetic as defined in section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act
- a veterinary biologic as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Health of Animals Act
- a surface coating material as defined in subsection 1(1) of the Surface Coating Materials Regulations or a surface coating material applied to a toy regulated under the Toys Regulations
- a pest control product as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Pest Control Products Act
- a feed as defined in section 2 of the Feeds Act
- a fertilizer as defined in section 2 of the Fertilizers Act
- an explosive regulated under the Explosives Act
- ammunition and explosives under the direction or control of the Minister of National Defense
- a product, other than a battery, that has a mercury concentration of 0.1% or less by weight in homogeneous 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
- an on-road vehicle as defined in subsection 1(1) of the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations that is of the 2016 model year or of a previous model year as determined under section 5 of those Regulations.
The regulation prohibits the manufacture or import of any product that contains mercury, unless the product belongs to the list of products specified in Column 1 of the schedule (see above bullets), the amount of mercury contained is within the specified limits, if the product is manufactured or imported before the end date set, or if the person holds a permit issued under subsection 5(1).
The regulation also specifies Labeling Requirements. All products containing mercury or its compounds must be listed and should be clearly visible on the product and packaging.
- The statement “Contains mercury / Contient du mercure”;
- Safe handling procedures and the measures to be taken in case of accidental breakage, the address of a website where that information is available, or contact information for a person who can provide that information;
- 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, the address of a website where that information is available, or contact information for a person who can provide that information; and
- A statement to the effect that the product should be disposed of or recycled in accordance with the applicable laws.
The information must also appear in both official languages, and must be presented in a font size of at least 10 points with character that are at least 3mm in height, legible, indelible and are impressed, embossed or in a color that contrasts the label background or the color of the product.
If the product is too small, or is not packaged, a notice must be attached to the product or the manual that accompanies the product with the relevant information.
Products containing mercury must ensure that the symbol Hg is indicated in the clearly specified font and size requirements in addition to it being legible and indelible.
Any determination of total quantity of mercury made for the purposes of these Regulations must be conducted by a laboratory that is accredited by a Canadian Accrediting body under International Organization for Standardization standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005 or a laboratory that is accredited under the Environment Quality Act, R.S.Q., c. Q-2.
Other significant features of this regulation include:
Any person that manufactures or imports a product that contains mercury other than the ones excluded, must submit a report to the Minister starting 2016 calendar year and every third calendar year after that year, on or before March 31 of the calendar year following the year in respect of which the report is prepared.
The new regulation will go into effect later this year, giving very little time for manufacturers or importers to comply. TUV Rheinland of North America is an ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited laboratory that can assist with determining total mercury in your product and developing a compliance path to comply with the requirement.