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First list of “Chemicals of Mutual Concern” finalized

On June 1, the Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLEC) finally designated the first round of chemicals of mutual concern (CMC) under Annex 3 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. First-round CMCs include the following eight substances: hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids (LC-PFCAs), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs).

The US Environmental Protection Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada are developing “pilot” binational management strategies for of these substances (PCBs and HBCD). Drafts of the strategies have been prepared but have not been released for public review. CGLI expects that the pilot strategies will review existing management actions for the two substances and evaluate whether additional management action is required. Both voluntary actions and regulatory actions may be considered. Additional voluntary actions may be recommended if voluntary action would effectively manage risk associated with particular chemicals.

Public nominations for the next round of CMC nominations are due September 1, 2016, and a new suite of CMC candidates is expected to be identified in Winter/Spring 2016. So far, the only nomination the governments have acknowledged has been for radionuclides. CGLI’s Chemical Management Work Group is deeply involved in the Annex 3 process and CGLI serves on the Annex 3 Extended Subcommittee.