Sulfuric acid, dimethyl ester (Dimethyl sulfate)

CAS Registry Number 77-78-1

The Final Screening Assessment for Sulfuric acid, dimethyl ester (Dimethyl 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, dimethyl ester, also known as dimethyl sulfate, is an industrial chemical.

How is it used

  • Dimethyl sulfate is used in Canada in the manufacturing of substances which are then used to manufacture pharmaceuticals.
  • Dimethyl sulfate is also used in the production of products such as dyes, fragrances, surfactants, and water/sewage treatment flocculants. Other products, such as photographic chemicals, can also be produced by using dimethyl sulfate.
  • Based on the most recent data available, dimethyl sulfate is not manufactured in Canada, but is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it

  • Dimethyl 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 dimethyl sulfate is expected to be very low and occur predominantly through inhalation of ambient air.
  • Canadians may also be exposed to dimethyl sulfate through emissions from facilities burning fossil fuels containing sulfur.

What Is the Government of Canada doing

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of dimethyl sulfate, called a screening assessment.
  • The Government of Canada has concluded that dimethyl 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 dimethyl sulfate be subject to further assessment before considering whether to allow such activities.
  • The Government is also proposing to include dimethyl 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 use 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 dimethyl 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 dimethyl sulfate is very low, the Government of Canada is not currently recommending specific actions to reduce Canadians' exposure.

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