Groupe Marcelle inc. was recently ordered by the Court of Québec, at the Montréal Courthouse, to pay a fine of $500,000 after the company plead guilty to one count of violating the the Significant Activity Provisions in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Specifically, the company had imported perfluorononyl dimethicone without first providing information about the substance to the government.

Between April 15, 2021 and May 18, 2022, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers conducted various audits and an inspection at the premises of Groupe Marcelle inc., a cosmetics company in Dorval, Quebec. They were able to identify the marketing of cosmetic products (Lise Watier, Marcelle and Annabelle brand eye and lip pencils) containing Perfluorononyl Dimethicone.

In this case, the marketing of cosmetic products containing Perfluorononyl Dimethicone is considered a new activity under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The Act requires a person or company to provide certain information to the government when Perfluorononyl Dimethicone is used in a new activity that may pose a risk to the environment.

The cosmetic ingredient Perfluorononyl Dimethicone (whose commonly associated Chemical Abstracts Service number is 882878-48-0) is a silicone polymer that is used in cosmetic products to increase the hold, durability, spreadability, and water or oil resistance of cosmetics applied to the skin. It is one of the perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of thousands of synthetic substances.

By using Perfluorononyl Dimethicone in cosmetic products, without having previously provided the government with the required regulatory information, Groupe Marcelle inc. has committed an offence under subsection 81(4) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The products concerned have been withdrawn from the distribution chain.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of companies for violations of federal environmental laws.