Harper Government Introduces Proposed Regulations to Protect Children from Harmful Chemical
Continuing to take action on harmful chemicals, especially those found
in products that are used by children
ETOBICOKE, ON, Nov. 9, 2012 /CNW/ – Today, the Honourable Leona
Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, introduced a proposed regulatory
amendment to help protect infants and toddlers from unnecessary
exposure to a harmful chemical found in some consumer products.
The proposed regulatory amendment would prohibit products intended for
children under three years of age that are made, in whole or in part,
from polyurethane foam (PUF) containing TCEP (tris (2-chloroethyl)
phosphate). It is known that TCEP can migrate out of toys and
children’s products made of PUF, including through fabric coverings, in
response to sucking or chewing.
“Our Government is committed to protecting the health of hardworking
Canadian families,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “That is why we are taking
action to prevent harmful chemicals in children’s toys from being
imported into Canada.”
TCEP, an industrial chemical with flame retardant properties, was found
to be harmful to human health after an assessment under the
Government’s Chemicals Management Plan. Sampling and testing conducted
by Health Canada found that the chemical was being used in certain foam
children’s products. Of 40 tested products, 4 were found to contain
TCEP. These products were 2 foam books and 2 sleep positioners.
However, subsequent information gathered from stakeholders suggests that
Canadian manufacturers have already moved away from the use of TCEP in
PUF and replaced it with alternatives. This prohibition would prevent
its future use in these products, and prohibit international
manufacturers from importing TCEP-containing children’s products into
More information on the Chemicals Management Plan is available at www.chemicalsubstances.gc.ca
“Child safety is a paramount priority for the Canadian Toy Association
and its member companies,” stated Kerry George, CTA Chair. “The CTA
welcomes this regulatory announcement from the Minister of Health and
we will continue to support her ongoing efforts on toy safety.”
About the Canadian Toy Association
The CTA is a non-profit trade association that works with its members
for the betterment of the Canadian toy industry. Our top priority is
providing safe fun and educational toys. The CTA’s 100+ members are
manufacturers, importers and distributors of toys generating about $1.8
billion of annual retail sales in Canada. Although the Canadian toy
industry is large, its core members are mainly smaller Canadian
Factsheet: TCEP in Products for Young Children
What is TCEP?
Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) is an industrial chemical with
flame retardant properties, which may be used in the manufacture of
polyurethane foam (PUF). Canadians may be exposed to TCEP from consumer
products made of PUF, such as furniture or mattresses, electronics,
adhesives, non-apparel textiles, the back-coating of carpets, rubber
and plastics, and paints and varnishes.
What are the health risks?
The Government of Canada, through its Chemicals Management Plan, found
that TCEP may be harmful to human health as it is a carcinogen and may
cause impaired fertility. Health Canada considers children under three
years of age to be at the greatest risk of adverse health effects from
exposure to TCEP. TCEP is not believed to pose a risk to the general
Frequent mouthing and sucking activity among infants and young children
under three years of age is a common and necessary part of their
behaviour and development. As TCEP can migrate out of foam toys and
foam children’s products, including through fabric coverings, in
response to sucking or chewing, young children are considered to be at
greater risk of oral exposure to TCEP. Additionally, due to their low
body weight and rapid rate of physical growth and development, young
children are considered to be more vulnerable to the possible adverse
health effects of the substance.
What will the TCEP Regulations do?
These proposed regulations would prohibit the use of TCEP in products
intended for children under 3 years of age, such as toys, books,
positioning devices, etc. Surveys with industry stakeholders have
indicated that there is currently limited, if any, use of TCEP in PUF.
It has been replaced by different flame retardants. This prohibition
would prevent its future use in these products, including prohibiting
the import of TCEP-containing children’s products into Canada.
How can I know if children’s products and toys in my home contain TCEP?
In 2009 and 2010, a total of 40 products were selected and tested for
TCEP. Of these tested products, 4 were found to contain TCEP. These
products were 2 foam books and 2 sleep positioners. The North American
industry has largely moved away from the use of TCEP in PUF and
replaced it with alternatives. However, TCEP may be present in products
manufactured over the past 20 years and imported children’s products
available for sale in Canada. If your child is sucking or chewing on
older or imported foam toys, you may want to remove them to prevent
Where can I get more information on TCEP?
For more information on TCEP, please contact:
Consumer Product Safety Directorate
Address Locator: 4908A
269 Laurier Avenue W.
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
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SOURCE Health Canada