Toxic substances list: volatile organic compounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic compounds containing one or more carbon atoms that evaporate readily to the atmosphere. VOCs do not include photochemically non-reactive compounds such as methane, ethane and the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The official VOC definition used by Environment Canada can be found in the publication of the Canada Gazette part II of July 2, 2003.
VOCs are primary precursors to the formation of ground level ozone and particulate matter which are the main constituents of smog. Smog is known to have adverse effects on human health and the environment.
VOC emissions stem from both anthropogenic and natural sources, but it is the anthropogenic sources of VOCs in populated and industrialized areas that are the main contributors to air quality problems. The major anthropogenic sources of concern of VOC emissions in Canada are the transportation sector, the use of consumer and commercial products that contain solvents, some commercial and industrial processes, and residential wood combustion.
There is more than one CAS number that applies to this group of substances.
- Order Adding Toxic Substances to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (July 2, 2003)
- Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (June 15, 2016)
- CEPA1999 Schedule 1 - List of Toxic Substances - This substance has been added to the List of Toxic Substances. It is entering or may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that:
a) have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity.
c) constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.
- Full life cycle management of the substance (Track 2) under the Toxic Substances Management Policy
This substance is entering the environment from the following source(s):
Risk Management Strategy
Click on the following link to view strategies and actions recommended to manage risks associated with the substance:
Risk Management Tool(s)
Tool(s) developed to manage risks associated with the substance:
- Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations
- Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations
- On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations
- Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations
- New Source Emission Guidelines for Thermal Electricity Generation
- Guidelines for Volatile Organic Compounds in Consumer Products
- Code of Practice, Guidelines and Standards from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) for the Reduction of VOC Emissions in Different Sectors
Consultation (past and present) on the substance:
- Proposed Order to Add Compounds to the Exclusion List of the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Definition under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (May 2015)
- Draft Code of Practice for the Reduction of VOC Emissions from the Use of Cutback and Emulsified Asphalt (April 2014)
- Environment Canada's Proposal to Add Compounds to the Exclusion List of the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Definition under Schedule 1 of the CEPA 1999 (September 2013)
- Revisions to the Proposed Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations (January 2013)
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