CAS Registry Number 107-22-2

What is it?

  • Ethanedial is an industrial chemical and also occurs naturally in the environment.
  • Ethanedial is also formed in some foods during heat processing steps or fermentation.

How is it used?

  • Ethanedial is commonly used in the production of resins and for cross-linking functionalized polymers, such as textiles, paper and proteins.
  • Ethanedial is found in products, such as certain pest control products, cleaners, paint and cosmetic and personal care products.
  • Ethanedial is not manufactured in Canada, but it is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to the assessment, ethanedial was identified as a potential concern to human health based on its classification by international organizations as a substance that was found to cause genetic damage in laboratory animals, and based on a moderate potential for exposure (not including workplace exposures) to the general population of Canada.
  • Ethanedial 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 is expected to be exposed to ethanedial mainly from food and beverages where ethanedial is formed as a result of heat processing or fermentation.
  • Exposure to ethanedial from the use of consumer products, such as paint and cosmetic and personal care products (for example, facial cleansers, conditioner, face/body lotion, shaving prep, manicure prep and hair dye), certain pest control products, and from the incidental mouthing of paper by toddlers, is expected to be low.
  • Canadians may also be exposed from inhalation of tobacco smoke.

How is it released to the environment?

  • Ethanedial may be released to the environment via industrial wastewater systems, and through disposal to land as a result of industrial processes, such as its use in drilling fluids for oil and gas exploration.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of ethanedial, 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 ethanedial is not expected to remain in the environment for a long time, or to accumulate in organisms.
  • Furthermore, the quantity of ethanedial 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 ethanedial 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 ethanedial 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 ethanedial 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 ethanedial.
  • 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). Ethanedial 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.
  • Tobacco smoke is also a source of ethanedial. Canadians are reminded that they should not smoke. For more information about smoking and how to quit, please visit the Health Concerns - Tobacco section of Health Canada's Web site or speak with a doctor.
  • Canadians who handle ethanedial 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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