Summary of public comments received on the draft assessment and risk management scope for gas oils and kerosenes

Official title: Summary of public comments received on the Draft Assessment and Risk Management (RM) Scope for Gas Oils and Kerosenes

Comments on the Draft Assessment and RM Scope for Gas Oils and Kerosenes, assessed under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), were submitted by the American Chemistry Council Hydrocarbon Solvents Panel (ACC-HSP), the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association (CCSPA), the Canadian Fuels Association, the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA), the Canadian Vehicles Manufacturing Association (CVMA), the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), Nalco Canada ULC (Nalco), and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI).

Since the publication of the draft assessment of the Gas Oils and Kerosenes Group under the Chemicals Management Plan, new information has been obtained on 15 of the 42 substances that may impact characterization of their hazard. These 15 Chemical Abstract Service Registry Numbers (CAS RNs) associated with uses in consumer products have been removed from this assessment, and will be evaluated in a separate draft assessment for Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers. Additionally, CAS RN 64742-88-7 was included in the draft assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes; however, upon review, has been removed and will be evaluated along with other low boiling point naphthas in a separate assessment. Therefore, the assessment now focuses on 26 Industry-restricted Gas Oils and Kerosenes. This table includes comments that were received on the Gas Oils and Kerosenes assessment and risk management scope. Comments and responses which are applicable to the revised Industry-restricted Gas Oils and Kerosenes are included here and considered in the Industry-restricted Gas Oils and Kerosenes assessment. Comments and responses which are applicable to the Gas Oils and Kerosenes in Products Available to Consumers assessment are also included in this table and will be taken into consideration when developing the draft assessment for Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers assessment (and if applicable, the associated Risk Management Scope).

Summarized public comments and responses from the Government of Canada are provided below, organized by topic.

Aromatic content of gas oils and kerosenes used in pulp and paper processing – Roll-up of comments

Comment Summary 1: Processed hydrocarbon solvent streams, which are used in industrial chemicals, such as in paper and pulp processing, share CAS identifiers with their un-processed petroleum streams. It is therefore very likely that the hydrocarbons found in these products are more highly refined, and contain a lower content of aromatic constituents, than the refinery streams from which they are derived and share a CAS RN with. Information was submitted by an industry stakeholder association on the % aromatic content of products used in the pulp and paper industry, indicating these products have aromatics content equal or lower than 13 % by weight.

Response 1: The assessment has been revised to mention processed hydrocarbon solvent streams. The information submitted on the aromatic content of products used in the pulp and paper industry will be considered in the assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers.

Comment Summary 2: Health Canada’s chemical analysis of consumer products validates that these products tend to contain highly-refined, low aromatic solvents, in conformity with regulatory requirements for purity and safety in consumer goods and food contact applications.

Response 2: Noted.

Edits requested related to aromatic content of gas oils and kerosenes

Comment Summary 3: Comments were provided regarding treatment of petroleum streams to remove aromatics, as well as on nomenclature of hydrocarbon solvents.

Response 3: These suggestions have been taken into consideration, and revisions have been made in the assessments.

Persistence, biodegradation and removal in waste water treatment plants (WWTPs)

Comment Summary 4: The range of degradation half-lives for petroleum substances are more strongly correlated to their carbon number/ size and less so to their chemical class. There is generally a decrease in removal rates as a function of carbon number, and degree of branching. Secondary removal rates from SimpleTreat v3.1 for the four blocks used in the assessment of the high aromatic gas oil show that most of the constituents within the 4 blocks have predicted WWTP removal rates of 80% to >90%, irrespective of chemical class. Additional persistence data references were provided by the stakeholder association, though some of the references were not publicly available.

Response 4: The wording has been revised to note the importance of hydrocarbon size. More specific data on representative structures were used in the persistence evaluation.

While wastewater removal for all blocks was high, modelling indicates that, within a block, aliphatic components were more highly removed than aromatic components.

The additional available persistence data were considered.

Comment Summary 5: The submitter does not agree with the persistence estimates for certain hydrocarbon components of gas oils and kerosenes, namely C9-C15 monoaromatics; 2-ring aromatics, and some 3-ring aromatics -for example phenanthrene. The submitter recommends using the Boethling (1995) extrapolation factors for extrapolating biodegradation values for water to sediment and soil, and to use BIOHCWIN to model the aquatic half-lives of hydrocarbons, in the absence of experimental data.

Response 5: The text was revised to correct errors for the monaromatics and 3-ring aromatics. It now states that the following are persistent in water, soil and sediment: C12 monoaromatics (rather than C9 to C15 monoaromatics), and C14 and C30 three-ring aromatics (rather than C14 to C30). Empirical data, models including BIOHCWIN, and the Boethling (1995) extrapolation factors were used for determining estimated half-lives.

Comment Summary 6: The statement that the major source of release of gas oils and kerosenes to the aquatic environment is from wastewater treatment plants should be verified.

Response 6: The statement was revised to be less definitive.

Comment Summary 7: As light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs), gas oils and kerosenes will mainly partition to air and water and are not expected to partition significantly to sediment. The default emission settings in certain models are not realistic for gas oils and kerosenes.

Response 7: The assessments have been revised to indicate which components of gas oils and kerosenes are expected to partition mainly to sediments, based on their physical and chemical properties.

Releases and ecological exposure

Comment Summary 8: It is unlikely that there will be releases to soil from the application of biosolids as concentrations of gas oils and kerosenes in biosolids are expected to be very low and biosolids from petroleum refineries are not indiscriminately applied to soils. Municipal biosolids should have a very low content of these compounds.

Response 8: Releases to soil are expected from land application of municipal biosolids as some hydrocarbon components of gas oils and kerosenes are hydrophobic and partition to biosolids in wastewater treatment systems.

Low risk to soil organisms was noted even using conservative assumptions in the exposure scenario for biosolids application to soil. Therefore, the calculation was not further refined.

Comment Summary 9: Industrial wastewater treatment systems (WWTSs) may achieve significantly higher than 90% removal, due to higher sludge age in the activated sludge biotreater than for municipal WWTSs.

Response 9: The removal rate of industrial wastewater treatment systems cannot be determined to be higher or lower than those of municipal systems based on sludge age alone as many other factors influence the removal rate.

Comment Summary 10: The stakeholder performed WWTS modelling on the two CAS RNs used in their pulp and paper products and submitted a summary of the results as well as some of their input parameter values. The modelling showed a waste-water removal rate of 99.99% compared to 90% used in the assessment.

Response 10: The model used by the stakeholder (EPI Suite 4.1) was designed for discrete chemical substances and is not applicable for complex mixtures such as gas oils and kerosenes. The stakeholder’s estimate is based on only one aliphatic substance without consideration of all the other components of gas oils and kerosenes. The estimate provided in the assessment is based on the hydrocarbon block method developed by Conservation of Clean Air and Water in Europe (CONCAWE), which is appropriate for petroleum hydrocarbon mixtures, such as gas oils and kerosenes.

Comment Summary 11: A use quantity of 10 000 kg/year of gas oils and kerosenes for the pulp and paper sector is unrealistically high. It is inaccurate to assume that the quantity sold to Canadian pulp and paper mills is the amount used that year. Other inaccuracies are noted, including assumptions that all facilities use gas oils and kerosenes, that 100% of the gas oils and kerosenes products used by the pulp and paper industry contain between 20% and 80% of aromatics, and that 100% of these products will be released to wastewater. In addition, the extent to which these materials would be separately collected for recycling or waste disposal should be validated.

Response 11: This information will be considered in the assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers. The exposure scenario is being refined to be more indicative of current use and release, including the revision of the wastewater emission factor based on a new analysis of wastewater recycling within the papermaking process, as well as a revision of the maximum percentage of gas oils and kerosenes in paper processing aids to 13%, owing to new data received during and following the public comments period. In addition, only mills identified as using gas oils and kerosenes and their respective use quantities will be considered in the updated scenario instead of all paper mills.

No data was found to indicate that recycling or separate disposal of spent gas oils and kerosenes takes place at paper mills. Therefore, it will be conservatively assumed that spent gas oils and kerosenes end up in the process water.

Comment Summary 12: All pulp and paper facilities are equipped with primary and secondary wastewater treatment. Mill analyses of treated effluents show oils and greases below detection limits. The submitters are not aware of any Canadian mill where any petroleum-based solvents, at normal usage levels, have caused an upset of biological wastewater treatment or an acute or chronic bioassay response.

Response 12: Environmental effects monitoring (EEM) data from pulp and paper mills subject to the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations are publicly available from the Government of Canada EEM website. The latest data (2010-2013) from the Sixth National assessment report shows that pulp and paper mill effluents elicited sublethal (that is, chronic) toxicity responses in 63% of all effluents tested. It is however, understood that the effluents being tested contain all wastes discharged to water from the pulp and paper mills, and not only petroleum-based solvents. This information will be further considered in the assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers.

Bioaccumulation

Comment Summary 13: It is important to consider metabolism when using models to estimate the bioconcentration factor (BCF) and bioaccumulation factor (BAF). It has been demonstrated that many hydrocarbon classes are readily metabolized within fish and other organisms, leading to lower predictions of BCF/BAF than with models which do not consider metabolism.

Response 13: The modelled estimates of BCF and BAF do include metabolism.

Comment Summary 14: We agree with text in the assessment noting that trophic transfer and biomagnification evidence, as well as bioaccumulation evidence, is not necessarily an indicator of trophic magnification factor (TMF) or biomagnification factor (BMF) potential.

Response 14: Noted.

Comment Summary 15: The submitter has a data set that is not in agreement with the evaluation of bioaccumulation in the assessment.

Response 15: The dataset was not provided, nor was it publicly available. Therefore, it was not possible to compare the data or methodology with that used in the assessment.

Comment Summary 16: The stakeholder questions some of the assumptions and calculation methods used in the Harris et al. 2011 study and does not support the conclusion that there is an apparent biomagnification for alkyl PAHs in sea lions.

Response 16: It is recognized that there are uncertainties in Harris et al. (2011). The wording used in the assessment to describe the study is not definitive and states only that this study suggests that some alkyl-PAHs may be bioaccumulative [Italics added here to emphasize wording].

Ecological effects

Comment Summary 17: The stakeholder supports the use of the PETROTOX model to estimate the hazard of gas oils and kerosenes with high and low aromatic contents, including their hazard following wastewater treatment.

Response 17: Noted.

Comment Summary 18: Although the toxicity of the components of gas oils and kerosenes remaining in wastewater was predicted to increase, the total toxicity of the treated water would decrease because of the large reduction in overall mass of gas oils and kerosenes.

Response 18: The explanation in the assessment has been revised to make this point clearer.

Comment Summary 19: As the toxicity values are based on loading rates, it’s not clear how you could get a Predicted No Effect Concentration (PNEC) from them. Maybe this should be termed PNELR (Predicted No Effect Loading Rate)?

Response 19: It is acknowledged in the assessment that the aquatic PNEC is actually a loading rate; however, PNEC is a standard term used in assessments.

Comment Summary 20: The report states: “…these low aromatic content substances have low toxicity to sediment organisms.” Please give some numbers to compare with numbers given above for higher aromatic content materials.

Response 20: The sediment toxicity values have been added to the assessment.

Ecological exposure

Comment Summary 21: Not all wastewater released to a municipal facility will have up to the limit of 15 mg/L oil and grease (O&G); the actual O&G concentration reaching the municipal wastewater plant is likely to be significantly lower, and not all O&G is gas oils and kerosenes. It is not clear how the calculation was done, but the number (3.3. µg/L) seems low enough that this may not matter.

Response 21: The sewer limit for oil and grease of 15 mg/L was used as a conservative estimate of the maximum concentration of gas oils and kerosenes that could be discharged by a facility. This concentration was adjusted to consider dilution by the total flow at the municipal WWTS, removal at the WWTS, as well as dilution by the receiving water body. As this conservative scenario resulted in a risk quotient below one, indicating low risk to the environment, no further refinement of this scenario was done.

Comment Summary 22: Re: “Table 7-5. Distribution of estimated Predicted Effect Concentrations (PECs) for paper mills in Canada.” For very low WWTS flow rates, it is extremely conservative to assume a dilution factor of 10, as these plants are not likely to comprise 10% of a receiving water’s daily flow. Further, the assumption that a plant with 30x lower discharge than the median plant is using the average tonnage on site is likely not reasonable. These two values combine to greatly increase uncertainty in the estimated PEC values for the 2 highest quantiles (90% and 100%). Further, the two highest PECs correspond to discharges (influent to a sewer for offsite WWTP of > 5 ppm total oil), which would potentially be in exceedance of discharge permitting and are probably unrealistic values.

Response 22: Complete and instantaneous dilution of wastewater discharge into a large waterbody is not realistic, therefore, a ten-fold dilution factor was used to consider the sensitive ecological area impacted by the discharge.

Ecological risk and conclusions

Comment Summary 23: For complex Unknown or Variable composition, Complex reaction products or Biological materials (UVCB) substances, the toxic unit addition approach, rather than a whole substance approach is more technically appropriate to determine risk. Due to solubility limitations of certain risk-driving constituents, toxicity does not scale linearly with substance loading at high values. As a result, it is likely that risks are overstated using whole-substance PECs and PNECs.

Response 23: The comparison of PECs to PNECs is considered valid as the PEC is considered a loading rate and the PNEC is a no-observable effect loading rate based on the composition of the gas oils and kerosenes in the effluent. In addition, at the PEC concentrations, all components are expected to be dissolved based on information in Swigert et al. (2014).

Comment Summary 24: The conclusion should not be broadly written as it is in the draft risk assessment, as this indicates that all of the CAS RNs in this Group have a high aromatic content (20% or greater), which is not the case. In addition, it indicates that the many safe uses of the same CAS RNs are concluded to be of concern, regardless of aromatic content.

Response 24: The assessment has been revised to include only 26 industry-restricted gas oil and kerosenes. As a result, the conclusion in the assessment has changed: “It is therefore concluded that the 26 Industry-restricted Gas Oils and Kerosenes in this assessment do not meet any of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA.” 

The aromatic content of gas oils and kerosenes will be further considered in the assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers.

Comment Summary 25: The submitter would like confirmation that the intent of the assessment is to conclude that gas oils and kerosenes with aromatic content of 20% by weight or greater are CEPA Toxic.

Response 25: The assessment has been revised to include only 26 industry-restricted gas oil and kerosenes. As a result, the conclusion in the assessment has changed: “It is therefore concluded that the 26 Industry-restricted Gas Oils and Kerosenes in this assessment do not meet any of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA.” 

Information received through the public comment period, as well as any new information following the publication of the draft Gas Oils and Kerosenes assessment, on 15 substances with uses in consumer products that were removed from this assessment will be considered/ addressed in the assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers.

Comment Summary 26: The risk to the environment from gas oils and kerosenes used in pulp and paper manufacturing should be reconsidered in light of any new information obtained (for example, aromatic content of CAS RNs).

Response 26: Environmental exposure to gas oils and kerosenes from pulp and paper manufacturing will be re-assessed considering any new information obtained, in the assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers.

Request for follow-up

Comment Summary 27: A response to our comments would be appreciated, either by letter or through a meeting.

Response 27: Noted.

Comment Summary 28: The parties wish to be engaged in stakeholder consultations concerning gas oils and kerosenes, including for risk management measures.

A stakeholder is concerned with the impact that the risk assessment and risk management approach may later have on their product formulations and uses for paint products and adhesives.

One stakeholder indicated they support and, to the extent possible, will participate in the request for additional information as detailed in the RM scope document.

Response 28: The assessment has been revised to include only 26 industry-restricted gas oil and kerosenes. As a result, the conclusion in the assessment has changed: “It is therefore concluded that the 26 Industry-restricted Gas Oils and Kerosenes in this assessment do not meet any of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA.”  The information regarding 15 gas oils and kerosenes used in consumer products will be further considered in the assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers. Should potential concerns from substances in the Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers assessment be identified, stakeholders will be consulted in the development of any potential risk management measures.

Miscellaneous (editing errors)

Comment Summary 29: The submitters noted a number of small errors in the report, relating to numbering of and references to Tables, page numbers in the Table of Contents, and references to an Appendix.

Response 29: These errors have been corrected. 

Comments on health section

Comment Summary 30: The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) list of Substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMRs) refers to gas oils and kerosenes that have not been further refined or purified for use in products. According to the European Commission regulation, if these substances are purified, they are not classified as 1B CMRs.

Response 30: This condition is mentioned in Section 8.2 and a reference has been added to the ECHA 2012 report in Table C-1 and the Appendix C heading to note that these classifications are from ECHA 2012.

Risk management scope document/ risk management

Comment Summary 31: It will be difficult to track gas oils and kerosenes in surface water, wastewater and biosolids as these are UVCBs, therefore only individual components can be measured in these media.

Response 31: Noted. Information will be considered should concerns from substances in the Gas Oils and Kerosenes in Products Available to Consumers assessment be identified. If needed, stakeholders will be consulted in the development of any potential risk management measures.

Comment Summary 32: Granular Activated Carbon tertiary treatment would be effective for improving removal of gas oils and kerosenes in wastewater treatment systems.

Response 32: Noted. Information will be considered should concerns from substances in the Gas Oils and Kerosenes in Products Available to Consumers assessment be identified. If needed, stakeholders will be consulted in the development of any potential risk management measures.

Comment Summary 33: Several stakeholders in the pulp and paper sector reported they would not be directly implicated by the Risk Management (RM) Scope as the assessment applies only to facilities who are using gas oils and kerosenes as:

The stakeholders do not have information to prepare responses to the majority of the questions put forward to stakeholders in the Draft RM Scope.

Response 33: Noted.

Comment Summary 34: The risk assessment and RM Scope should apply only to the facilities implicated (for example, specific sub-sector) and not to the entire pulp and paper sector. As there is potential for a mill that is not currently using products with gas oils and kerosenes to switch to using such a product, the stakeholder recommends that ECCC consider using Significant New Activity provisions for new users in conjunction with an RM tool that applies only to existing users.

Response 34: The assessment has been revised to include only 26 industry-restricted gas oil and kerosenes. As a result, the conclusion in the assessment has changed: “It is therefore concluded that the 26 Industry-restricted Gas Oils and Kerosenes in this assessment do not meet any of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA.” 

The information regarding 15 gas oils and kerosenes used in consumer products will be further considered in the assessment of Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers. Should concerns from substances in the Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers assessment be identified, stakeholders will be consulted in the development of any risk management measures.

Comment Summary 35: The industry stakeholder welcomes the efforts to better characterize the aromatics content of gas oils and kerosenes. They also welcome the exploration of alternative substances to gas oils and kerosenes in the pulp and paper manufacturing process.

Response 35: Noted.

Comment Summary 36: It is encouraging that the risk management activities are targeting key areas of concern, that is, potential releases from processing aids in the pulp and paper sector. Processes used in the auto industry would not result in discharges to surface water.

Response 36: Noted.

Comment Summary 37: The questions in the RM Scope document indicate that the government perceives many data gaps and may be using the public comment period as a de facto survey of stakeholders for missing information. The stakeholder feels this is inappropriate and that incomplete information will still be the result. A proper survey may be needed.

Response 37: The assessment now only contains industry-restricted gas oils and kerosenes, of which none were found to meet the definition of section 64 of CEPA in the Industry Restricted Gas Oils and Kerosenes assessment. A separate assessment for Gas Oils and Kerosenes with Uses in Products Available to Consumers will include information received from the public comment period of the Gas Oils and Kerosenes assessment, as well as any other new information on the substances assessed in the Gas Oils and Kerosenes in Products Available to Consumers assessment.

Consultations with stakeholders during the drafting of the assessment, as well as during the public consultation period have indicated that the impact of additional information beyond that already received, would likely be minimal.

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