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Share your thoughts: Implementation of the interim standard on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in biosolids

Current status: Closed

This consultation ran from December 22, 2023 to February 20, 2024.

About the consultation

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) held a 60-day public consultation to seek comments on the proposed implementation of a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) standard for municipal biosolids imported or sold in Canada as commercial fertilizers.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a group of chemicals commonly used since the 1940s in industry and our households (in products such as food packaging, textiles, cosmetics and others). They can be harmful to people, animals and may damage our soils long term because they don't degrade (forever chemicals). To mitigate the risks of contamination, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is proposing to implement an interim standard for PFAS in domestic and imported biosolids (a by-product of waste water treatment). The limit (less than 50 parts per billion of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS, a type of PFAS)) will prohibit the importation and sale of biosolids with high PFAS content. To verify that importers and domestic waste processors comply with the standard, the CFIA will require laboratory results (Certificate of Analysis); products that exceed the limit will be subject to regulatory action.

Presence of PFAS in municipal biosolids is due to their discharged into the sewer system together with other industrial and household wastes. There are numerous beneficial uses of biosolids in agriculture as a source of nutrients and organic matter, organic waste diversion, biogas and energy production etc. The CFIA's proposed action is part of a broader Government of Canada suite of risk control measures intended to reduce human and environmental exposure to PFAS and PFAS-containing products from their point of manufacture through to their disposal (life cycle approach).

The purpose of this consultation is to seek feedback from Canadians (including the growers, farmers and the general public) on the implementation of the interim PFAS standard for biosolids.

Who was the focus of this consultation

Key themes for discussion

What we are hearing

In September 2023, after gathering input from federal partners, the CFIA began targeted consultations and engagement webinar sessions with the provinces and biosolids industry.

Consult the what we heard report to see a summary of the feedback so far on the implementation of an interim standard for PFAS in municipal biosolids imported or sold in Canada as fertilizers.

Related information

Contact us

Fertilizer Program
c/o Premarket Application Submissions Office (PASO)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0Y9


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