Hexanedioic acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester (DEHA)

CAS Registry Number 103-23-1

The Final Screening Assessment for Hexanedioic acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester was published on September 10, 2011 as part of Batch 11 of the Challenge initiative of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The assessment is summarized on this page.

What is it

  • Hexanedioic acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester, also known as DEHA, is an industrial chemical.

How is it used

  • DEHA is primarily used as a plasticizer in the flexible vinyl plastic industry and is widely used in flexible polyvinylchloride (PVC) products such as food cling wrap packaging.
  • DEHA is used in Canada in various products such as cosmetics and some personal care products, auto interior protectant, heavy-duty hand cleanser and lubricant.
  • DEHA is both manufactured in and imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it

  • Prior to the assessment, DEHA was identified as a potential concern to human health based on its classification by international organizations as a substance that was found to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and based on a high potential for exposure (not including workplace exposures) to the general population of Canada.
  • DEHA 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 of Canada may be exposed to DEHA through consumption of food where DEHA may migrate into food from some PVC food packaging films; however, exposure through food consumption was not identified to be a cause for concern.
  • Canadians may also be exposed to DEHA through the use of some consumer products, including cosmetics and personal care products containing this substance.

How is it released to the environment

  • DEHA may be released to the environment as a result of industrial processes and during the use and disposal of products containing this substance.

What are the results of the assessment

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of DEHA, called a screening assessment. The ecological assessment for this substance was updated in an Ecological State of the Science Report published in September 2013.
  • Screening assessments address potential for harm to the general population (not including workplace exposures) and the environment.
  • The screening assessment concludes that DEHA may be harmful to human health.
  • Results of assessment, as documented in the ecological State of the Science report indicate that the quantities of DEHA that may be released to the environment are below levels expected to cause harm to the environment.

What is the Government of Canada doing

  • The Government is proposing to include DEHA as a prohibited or restricted ingredient on Health Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. The Hotlist is used to communicate that certain substances may not be compliant with requirements of the Food and Drug Act or the Cosmetic Regulations. Under Canadian legislation, cosmetics that contain substances that are harmful to the user cannot be sold.
  • Although exposure to DEHA from food and beverages is considered to be safe, the Government of Canada has also performed targeted surveys of DEHA in foods and food packaging materials and has added DEHA to the Canadian Total Diet Study to better define Canadian exposure to DEHA through dietary intake and determine whether further risk management actions are warranted.
  • The risk management approach document was published on September 10, 2011. It was followed by a 60-day public comment period that ended November 9, 2011.
  • A Notice that summarized the ecological State of the Science report was published on October 12, 2013 in Canada Gazette Part I followed by a 60-day public comment period that ended November 13, 2013.
  • Information on the risk management actions for DEHA is available.

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).
  • As a general precaution, Canadians are reminded when using any product, to carefully follow any safety warnings and directions.
  • Canadians who handle DEHA 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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