Ottawa, November 27, 2017
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This memorandum has been updated to clarify the definition of “noxious atmosphere”, including update to paragraphs 13 and 14.
This memorandum outlines the CBSA’s interpretation of the expression “to be employed in a noxious atmosphere” throughout the Customs Tariff.
Departmental Consolidation of the Customs Tariff
3926.20.10 - - - Protective suits and their accessories (including gloves), to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
3926.90.10 - - - Respirators, consisting of several layers of nonwovens of man-made fibres, whether or not treated with activated carbon, with or without an exhalation valve, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
4015.19.10 - - - Protective gloves to be employed with protective suits in a noxious atmosphere;
4015.90.10 - - - Protective suits and parts thereof, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6113.00.10 - - - Protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6117.90.10 - - - Of protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6210.10.10 - - - Protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6210.40.10 - - - Protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6210.50.10 - - - Protective suits, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6217.90.10 - - - Of protective suits to be employed in a noxious atmosphere;
6307.90.10 - - - Respirators, to be employed in a noxious atmosphere
Guidelines and General Information
1. The term “noxious atmosphere” has the same scope in every tariff item in which it occurs.
2. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), in its decision in AMD Ritmed v. the President of the Canada Border Services Agency (AP-2014-013-/015) established that a hospital environment is a “noxious atmosphere” as many serious and even life-threatening types of infection are present in a hospital setting.
3. The decision also confirmed that isolation gowns are a protective suit as it protects parts of the body from exposure to infections. The CBSA also recognizes single use coveralls, single use aprons and disposable lab coats as protective suits.
What is a Noxious Atmosphere?
4. Noxious atmospheres are:
- Medical or health care environments (e.g., hospitals, doctor’s offices, dental offices, environments to which emergency response teams or first responders are deployed, residential care homes, long term care institutional facilities, medical and veterinary clinics) which can be contaminated with microorganisms that are considered harmful to human health; or
- Life-threatening environments (e.g., radioactive atmospheres, bio-safety containment level 4 laboratories) that legally require specific protective apparel to be worn.
5. The noxious substance or contaminant may be in the air, in a gas, in a liquid/fluid, on/in a surface/object, or in an infected host organism (e.g., human, plant or animal).
Goods to be employed in a noxious atmosphere
6. Goods typically worn by health care workers as personal protective equipment (PPE) will qualify for classification under one of the applicable tariff provisions if they meet the terms of the heading, subheading and tariff item and are not more specifically classified elsewhere.
7. For example, subheading 4015.11 specifically provides for surgical gloves of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber; therefore surgical gloves of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber cannot be classified under subheading 4015.19, which includes tariff item 4015.19.10 (“Protective gloves to be employed with protective suits in a noxious atmosphere”).
8. The use of PPE goods is recognized internationally as critical control measures to help mitigate against the transmission of infection, disease and other life-threatening hazards.
PPE standards and/or technical specifications
9. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other internationally recognized health and safety organizations have guidelines and recommendations with respect to the use of PPE in managing the risks posed by hazards found in noxious atmospheres, including infection prevention and control.
10. A list of safety standard designations are provided in Appendix A - Table of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Goods and Standards and/or Technical Specification Requirements.
11. A list of recognized certifying bodies is provided in Appendix B Table of Recognized Certifying Bodies for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
12. A Health Canada licence for a Class II medical device will be considered equivalent to certification by an internationally recognized standards body.
13. Tariff items providing for goods “to be employed in a noxious atmosphere” are considered to be conditional relief provisions; meaning that duties are relieved only if the condition(s) of relief are met.
14. Therefore, in addition to meeting PPE standards/specifications, (see paragraph 10 above), goods must also satisfy the specified use (i.e., to be employed in a noxious atmosphere).
15. For example, plastic medical examination gloves of tariff item 3926.20.10 imported by, or imported and sold to:
- Spas, nail salons, hair salons;
- the food service industry;
- automotive paint shops;
would not qualify as they will not be employed in a life-threatening, medical or health care environment.
16. Please refer to Memorandum D11-8-5 - Conditional Relief Tariff Items for details on importing goods subject to conditional relief.
17. For certainty regarding the tariff classification of a product, importers may request an advance ruling on tariff classification. Details on how to make a request for a tariff classification advance ruling are found in CBSA Memorandum D11-11-3, Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification, which is found on the CBSA website.
18. For more information on CBSA programs, please call the Border Information Service from within Canada at 1-800-461-9999. From outside Canada, please call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064. Long distance charges will apply. Agents are available Monday to Friday (08:00 – 16:00 local time / except holidays). TTY is also available within Canada: 1-866-335-3237.
Table of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Goods and Standards and/or Technical Specification Requirements to Qualify “To Be Employed In a Noxious Atmosphere”
The following is a table of standards that apply to various types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for which there are related “to be employed in a noxious atmosphere” tariff items.
The standards listed below are not exhaustive; other standards or technical specifications may qualify if it can be demonstrated that the alternative standard is recognized as equivalent to a standard listed in the table.
|PPE Good||Standard/technical specification|
|Gloves, except surgical gloves - disposable, single use||
EU Regulation 2017/745 (former EU Council Directive 93/42/EEC), EN 455;
|Surgical or Isolation gowns - disposable, single use||
|Coveralls – disposable, single use||
|Aprons – disposable, single use, waterproof||ANSI/AAMI PB70|
|Particulate respirator (including single use, disposable masks that cover the mouth and nose)||
|Lab coats – disposable, single use||
Table of Recognized Certifying Bodies for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
|American Association of Textile Chemists and Colourists||AATCC|
|American Society for Testing Materials||ASTM|
|American National Standards Institute||ANSI|
|Association for the Advancement of Medical Instruments||AAMI|
|Canadian General Standards Board||CGSB|
|Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety||CCOHS|
|Canadian Standards Association||CSA|
|Center for Disease Control||CDC|
|Conformité Européen (English « European Conformity »)||CE|
|European Economic Community||EEC|
|International Standards Organization||ISO|
|National Institute of Occupation Safety and Health||NIOSH|
|National Fire Protection Association||NFPA|
- Issuing office:
- Trade and Anti-dumping Programs Directorate
- Headquarters file:
- HS 3926, HS 4015, HS 6113, HS 6117, HS 6210, HS 6217, HS 6307
- Legislative references:
- Departmental Consolidation of the Customs Tariff
- Other references:
- Superseded memorandum D:
- D10-15-26 dated September 24, 2017
- Date modified: