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GreenEarth gets green light in Canada
The Canadian government has decided not to pursue restrictions on the use of siloxane D5, the key component of GreenEarth drycleaning solvent. The ruling clears a cloud hanging over D5 since 2009 when Environment Canada said it was looking at regulating the chemical. At that time the agency said it did not believe D5 posed a threat to human health but it wanted it to investigate releases of D5 into the environment, citing concerns for bioaccumulation in fish and other aquatic organisms. A board of review was convened by the environmental ministry to further investigate the issue. Last fall, the board reported that “it is virtually impossible for siloxane D5 to occur in any environmental matrix at concentrations sufficient to produce harm to the environment.”
Peter Kent, Canada’s environment minister, has now affirmed the board’s decision.
“This decision follows a thorough analysis of the Siloxane D5 Board of Review’s report, all existing available scientific information, and on-going international regulatory activities,” said Kent. “It underlines our commitment to reach fact-based conclusions to protect Canadians’ health and the environment.”
D5 is used in dozens of consumer products in addition to GreenEarth drycleaning. It is a common ingredient in personal care products, including deodorants, antiperspirants, cosmetics, shampoos and body lotions, and it is used in the production of silicone polymers and in industrial cleaning. Environment Canada is the second major regulatory body to decide that D5 poses no threat to human health or the environment. The California Air Resources Board reached the same conclusion in 2008 after studying GreenEarth as an alternative to the use of perc in drycleaning.
From the beginning, GreenEarth officials said they were confident that Canada would not restrict the use of GreenEarth. “We have always applauded the measured, fact-based approach that Canada has taken on the bioaccumulation issue and are pleased to yet again have science on our side,” said Tim Maxwell, GreenEarth president. “We have always welcomed regulatory reviews like the one now concluded in Canada because they offer scientific, thorough and independent perspective on the environmental, health and safety profile of GreenEarth silicone,” Maxwell added. “GreenEarth has never required regulation of any kind by any regulatory body in either the U.S. or Canada and news like this confirms our confidence in the security of our regulation-free status.”
In the U.S., EPA has been silent on the subject of D5 regulation in recent years. In a “fact sheet” on the use of D5 in drycleaning published in 2005, EPA said it would evaluate various studies and was “interested in receiving data on human exposure to D5, including drycleaning applications.” There has been no action by EPA since then.
Regulators in Europe continue to review the environmental safety of D5, according to the European Silicones Centre.