Hexanoic acid, 2-ethyl- (2-Ethylhexanoic acid) (2-EHA)

CAS Registry Number 149-57-5

What is it?

  • Hexanoic acid, 2-ethyl-, also known as 2-ethylhexanoic acid or 2-EHA, is an industrial chemical.

How is it used?

  • A major use of 2-EHA is in the preparation of metal salts and soaps used as drying agents in paint and inks, and as thermal stabilizers in polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
  • 2-EHA is also used in the manufacture of resins used in automobile windshields and vinyl flooring.
  • 2-EHA is not manufactured in Canada, but it is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to the assessment, 2-EHA was identified as a potential concern to human health based on its classification by international organizations as a substance that was found to cause harm to the developing foetus in laboratory animals, and based on a high potential for exposure (not including workplace exposures) to the general population of Canada.
  • 2-EHA was not considered to be a high priority for assessment of potential risks to the environment; however, potential environmental effects were also evaluated in this screening assessment.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • The general population in Canada may be exposed to 2-EHA through the use of paint products, antifreeze, PVC-containing products and other products containing metal salts of 2-EHA; however, this exposure is expected to be low.

How is it released to the environment?

  • 2-EHA may be released to the environment through various waste streams, as a result of its production, use and the environmental degradation of some plasticizers.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of 2-EHA, called a screening assessment.
  • Screening assessments address potential for harm to the general population (not including workplace exposures) and the environment.
  • Results of the final screening assessment indicate that 2-EHA is not expected to remain in the environment for a long time, or to accumulate in organisms.
  • Furthermore, the quantity of 2-EHA that may be released to the environment is below the level expected to cause harm to organisms.
  • The Government of Canada has therefore concluded that 2-EHA is not entering the environment in a quantity or under conditions that constitute a danger to the environment.
  • The Government of Canada has also concluded that 2-EHA is not harmful to the health of the general population at current levels of exposure.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • Due to the high volume use, the Government of Canada proposes to investigate the utility of adding 2-EHA to the Environmental Emergency Regulations, so that emergency prevention, preparedness, response and recovery requirements are put in place.
  • Based on the conclusion of the final screening assessment, the Government of Canada proposes that no further action be taken on 2-EHA.
  • The final screening assessment report was published on September 10, 2011.

What can Canadians do?

  • The health risks associated with a chemical depend on the hazard (its potential to cause health effects) and the dose (the amount of chemical to which you are exposed). 2-EHA is not a concern for the environment or human health at current levels of exposure.
  • As a general precaution, Canadians are reminded when using any product, to carefully follow any safety warnings and directions.
  • Canadians who handle 2-EHA in the workplace should consult with their occupational health and safety representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws and requirements under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

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