The Canadian government is set to proceed with the development of environmental assessment regulations for the substances in products regulated by the "Food and Drugs Act" (F&DA), according to Health Minister Allan Rock.

This essentially means that ingredients in products such as pharmaceuticals, food additives and novel foods will be required to meet environmental assessment criteria as well as the current health and safety requirements.

Health Canada commented that the new regulations aimed to manage any potential risk substances might pose, either directly to the ecosystem or indirectly to human health.

International monitoring has established that certain ingredients may be detected in the environment, but further examination is required to establish the full risks of that presence. In order to do this, Health Canada will set up an Environmental Assessment Unit in association with Environment Canada to examine the substances.

The two organisations will also establish a scientific panel to advise on the development of the regulatory framework. It will also overlook research into the effects of releasing pharmaceutical or personal care products into the environment, and give advice on the best disposal methods.

Companies looking for import and manufacture approval for goods regulated under the F&DA will have to notify the Minister of the Environment from 13 September.

Products regulated by the F&DA that have been on the market before 14 September will be assessed under the new Environmental Assessment Regulations. If parallel research discovers that the products ingredients are hazardous to human health or the environment however, immediate and appropriate action will be taken.