Sulfuric acid, diethyl ester (Diethyl sulfate)

CAS Registry Number 64-67-5

The Final Screening Assessment for Sulfuric acid, diethyl ester (Diethyl sulfate) was published on August 1, 2009 as part of Batch 4 of the Challenge initiative of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The assessment is summarized on this page.

What is it

  • Sulfuric acid, diethyl ester, also known as diethyl sulfate, is an industrial chemical.

How is it used

  • In Canada, Diethyl sulfate is mainly used to make other chemicals which are then used in the manufacturing of softeners used to increase absorbency of tissue paper.
  • Diethyl sulphate may also be used to make products used in the manufacturing of a variety of other substances and products, including dyes, fragrances, and quaternary ammonium salts used as surfactants or flocculants in water treatment.
  • It may also be used as an ethylating agent in the manufacture of commercial products such as sanitizers and organoclays.
  • Based on the most recent data available, diethyl sulfate is not manufactured in Canada, but is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it

  • Diethyl sulfate was identified as a potential concern to human health based on its classification by international organizations as a substance which was found to cause cancer and genetic damage in some studies with laboratory animals, and based on what was believed to be a moderate potential for exposure to Canadians.

How are Canadians exposed to it

  • Exposure to diethyl sulfate is expected to be very low and occur predominantly through inhalation of air.

What is the Government of Canada doing

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of diethyl sulfate, called a screening assessment.
  • The Government of Canada has concluded that diethyl sulfate is considered to be harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.
  • Canadians' exposure is very low and the Government is taking action so that exposure remains low.
  • The Government of Canada will investigate the utility of implementing a future use notification. This would require that any proposed new uses of diethyl sulfate be subject to further assessment before considering whether to allow such activities.
  • The Government also proposed to include diethyl sulfate 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.
  • The proposed risk management approach was published on August 1, 2009. The proposed risk management approach will be followed by a 60-day comment period, ending September 30, 2009.
  • Up-to-date information of the risk management action milestones for diethyl sulfate is available.

What should 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).
  • Because exposure to diethyl sulfate is very low, the Government of Canada is not currently recommending specific actions to reduce Canadians' exposure.

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