Scientific support for Health Canada with emerging chemicals

Client Name
Health Canada
Multiple Locations, Canada
  • Risk assessment & toxicology


SLR provided scientific expertise for a scientific programme for the Canadian government (Health Canada) with the objective to evaluate emerging chemicals and assisting in the creation of future national policies towards perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) such as PFOS and PFOA.


SLR’s North American risk assessment team developed soil screening levels for seven PFC congeners, focusing on identifying toxicological information specific to the chemicals. SLR’s work included review of 229 references, but sufficient toxicity information was only available for two of the seven target compounds to develop chemical-specific toxicity values. For the other five, either PFOS or PFOA were used as surrogates, depending on the chemical. ​


​An important outcome for this project was that soil screening levels for residential, industrial, and commercial land uses were developed for all seven PFCs – values that will help Health Canada and the Canadian government to create future policies for these compounds. The resulting values ranged from 0.35 mg/kg (residential value for PFNA) to 2,050 mg/kg (industrial value for PFBA). This work shows that some PFC congeners (e.g., PFNA) may be at least as toxic as PFOS while others are much less toxic. These additional PFC congeners are not yet regulated by EPA, but we anticipate these will be included in the near future as other jurisdictions around the globe incorporate them.

SLR provided the following project support: ​

  • Updated literature compiled by Health Canada through 2011​ (emerging field of PFAS research)
  • Background information (e.g., PFOS, PFOA) ​
  • Summarised environmental fate and behaviour​
  • Compiled information on behaviour and short- and long-term effects on human and animal health​
  • Evaluated and summarised toxicokinetics​
  • Considered potential additive effects​
  • Derived toxicity reference values (TRVs)​
  • Developed Soil Screening Values​ (Follow established HC guidance​
  • Identified data gaps, uncertainties and limitations. ​