2-Propenoic acid, ethyl ester (Ethyl acrylate)

CAS Registry Number 140-88-5

What is it?

  • 2-Propenoic acid, ethyl ester, also known as ethyl acrylate, is an industrial chemical.
  • It occurs naturally in some fruits (for example, pineapple, durian, blackberries, raspberries and passionfruit).

How is it used?

  • The major use of ethyl acrylate is in the manufacture of polymers and copolymers.
  • Ethyl acrylate is not manufactured in Canada, but it is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to the assessment, ethyl acrylate 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.
  • Ethyl acrylate 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 is not likely to be exposed to ethyl acrylate since it is used primarily in industrial settings.
  • Canadians may be exposed to ethyl acrylate through the use of paint and caulking products and from its naturally-occurring presence in some fruits (for example, pineapple, durian, blackberries, raspberries and passionfruit); however, these exposures are expected to be low.

How is it released to the environment?

  • Ethyl acrylate may be released to air during industrial manufacturing and use of the substance.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of ethyl acrylate, 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 ethyl acrylate is not expected to remain in the environment for a long time, or to accumulate in organisms.
  • Furthermore, the quantity of ethyl acrylate 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 ethyl acrylate 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 ethyl acrylate 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 ethyl acrylate 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 ethyl acrylate.
  • 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). Ethyl acrylate 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 ethyl acrylate 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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