Through the Chemicals of Mutual Concern Annex of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Canada and the United States have committed to:
“… contribute to the achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of this Agreement by protecting human health and the environment through cooperative and coordinated measures to reduce the anthropogenic release of chemicals of mutual concern into the Waters of the Great Lakes.”
Canada and the United States agree to:
- Identify chemicals of mutual concern that originate from anthropogenic (human) sources, and that are agreed to by both countries as being potentially harmful to human health or the environment;
- Target these chemicals of mutual concern for action by preparing binational strategies and coordinating the development and application of domestic water quality standards, objectives, criteria and guidelines, as appropriate;
- Reduce anthropogenic releases of chemicals of mutual concern and products containing chemicals of mutual concern throughout their entire life cycles;
- Promote the use of safer chemical substances and the use of technologies that reduce or eliminate the uses and releases of chemicals of mutual concern;
- Continue progress toward the sound management of chemicals of mutual concern using approaches that are accountable, adaptive and science-based;
- Monitor and evaluate the progress and effectiveness of pollution prevention and control measures for chemicals of mutual concern and adapt management approaches as necessary;
- Regularly exchange information on monitoring, surveillance, research, technologies, and measures for managing chemicals of mutual concern; and
- Coordinate and collaborate with various stakeholders on science priorities, research, surveillance and monitoring activities in the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.
For additional information on the focus of actions under this Annex, consult the current Priorities for Science and Action 2014-2016. The Priorities are based on an evaluation of the State of the Great Lakes, with input from the Great Lakes Executive Committee, participants at the Great Lakes Public Forum, and recommendations of the International Joint Commission.
Every six months, progress on this annex is reported at the Great Lakes Executive Committee meetings. Accomplishments will be described in the Progress Report of the Parties every three years, with the first expected in 2016.
- Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission
- Indiana Department of Environmental Management
- Minnesota Department of Health
- Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
- U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
The sub-committee is supported by an extended sub-committee that involves additional organizations and experts beyond the GLEC membership. As required, time-limited task teams will focus efforts on a priority issue or project, and will be disbanded when work is complete.