OTTAWA – Environmental Defence today applauded the federal government’s decision to designate as “toxic” two chemicals known as siloxanes.  The chemicals, referred to as D4 and D5 siloxanes, are commonly found in shampoos, skin care products, deodorants and many other consumer products.  Unfortunately, the government opted not to list a third siloxane, D6, also found in such products.
“This is the first step toward regulating these harmful chemicals,” said Aaron Freeman, Policy Director of Environmental Defence.  “We urge the government to go the distance by getting these chemicals off the market.”
The government released its decision under its Chemicals Management Plan, a program that places the onus on industry to demonstrate that priority chemicals of concern are safe for people and the environment.  Following a “toxic” designation, the government is required to draft a plan to manage the chemical.  
D4 siloxane has been linked to harmful developmental effects, impaired fertility, liver damage and cancer.  D5 has also been found to be a potential carcinogen.  Siloxanes are persistent and bioaccumulative, meaning they remain in the environment, and the human body, for a very long time.  Government assessments also found them to be “inherently toxic” to wildlife.  
D4 siloxane is found in approximately 100 cosmetic products in Canada, while D5 is found in nearly 3,000.  D6, which was not listed as “toxic” by the government, is found in about 530 cosmetic products.  In addition to personal care items, siloxanes are used in many other products, including plastics, pesticides, and coatings for textiles, carpets and paper.  For most if not all uses, there are widely available safer alternatives.
While the United States has yet to regulate siloxanes, the European Union will require companies to register the chemicals next year under its REACH program to regulate potentially harmful substances.  The silicon industry has been aggressively lobbying the Canadian government to exempt siloxanes from regulation.  
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change. Nationwide.
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)