2-Cyclohexen-1-one, 3,5,5-trimethyl- (Isophorone)

CAS Registry Number 78-59-1

What is it?

  • 3,5,5-trimethyl-2-cyclohexen-1-one, also known as isophorone, is an industrial chemical.

How is it used?

  • Isophorone is used as a solvent for automotive and industrial coatings, including industrial metal coatings and food packaging, and in adhesives for plastics, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene materials.
  • Isophorone is also used as a formulant (non-active ingredient) in one registered pest control product in Canada, but the registration for this product was discontinued as of December 31, 2009.
  • It may also be used as a flavour enhancer in natural health products and as a flavour in foods sold in Canada.
  • Isophorone is not manufactured in Canada, but is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to the assessment, isophorone was identified as a potential concern for human health based on its classification by international organizations as a substance which may cause cancer in laboratory animals, and based on a high potential for exposure (not including workplace exposures) to the general population of Canada.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • Canadians may be exposed to isophorone through its use as a flavour in foods; however, exposure of the general population of Canada to isophorone is expected to be low.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of isophorone, called a screening assessment.
  • The Government of Canada has concluded that isophorone is not harmful to the health of the general population at current levels of exposure.
  • The Government of Canada has also concluded that isophorone is not entering the environment in a quantity or under conditions that constitute a danger to the environment.
  • Screening assessments address potential for harm to the general population (not including workplace exposures).

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • Based on the conclusion of the final screening assessment, no further action will be taken on isophorone.
  • Isophorone is also on Health Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, which is the list of ingredients that are intended to be prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetics, including many personal care products. Under Canadian legislation, cosmetics that contain substances that are harmful to the user cannot be sold.
  • The final screening assessment report was published on March 6, 2010.

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).
  • Isophorone is not a concern for the environment or human health at current levels of exposure. However, Canadians are reminded when using any product, to carefully follow any safety warnings and directions.
  • Canadians who handle isophorone 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.
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