Propane, 2-nitro- (2-Nitropropane)

CAS Registry Number 79-46-9

What is it?

  • Propane, 2-nitro-, also known as 2-nitropropane, is an industrial chemical and it may also be formed during the combustion of nitrogen-rich organic material (for example, tobacco).

How is it used?

  • Internationally, 2-nitropropane may be used in the manufacture of inks, paints, adhesives, varnishes, polymers, synthetic materials, and pharmaceutical ingredients. It has also been used in the processing of vegetable oils and in food packaging; however it is likely no longer used in North America for these applications.
  • In Canada, products identified as containing 2-nitropropane are mainly intended for industrial or commercial applications.
  • 2-Nitropropane is not manufactured in Canada, but it is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to the assessment, 2-nitropropane was identified as a potential concern for human health based on its classification by international organizations as a substance that may cause cancer in laboratory animals, and based on a moderate potential for exposure (not including workplace exposures) to the general population of Canada.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • Exposure of the general population in Canada to 2-nitropropane is expected to be low.
  • The general population of Canada may possibly be exposed to 2-nitropropane from consumption of vegetable oils that could contain residual concentrations of this substance. However, it is likely no longer used in vegetable oil processing in North America, and its use as a food processing solvent is discouraged internationally.
  • Canadians may be also exposed from inhalation of tobacco smoke.

How is it released to the environment?

  • 2-Nitropropane may be released to the environment through consumer and commercial use of products containing this substance, and from wastewater treatment plants.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of 2-nitropropane, called a screening assessment.
  • Screening assessments address potential for harm to the general population (not including workplace exposures) and the environment.
  • The Government of Canada has concluded that 2-nitropropane may be considered to be harmful to human health.
  • Additionally, although 2-nitropropane has the potential to remain in the environment for a long time, it is not expected to accumulate in organisms; therefore, the Government of Canada has concluded that 2-nitropropane is not entering the environment in a quantity or under conditions that constitute a danger to the environment.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • Exposure of the general population of Canada is currently considered to be low and the Government of Canada is taking action so that exposure remains low.
  • The application of the Significant New Activity (SNAc) provisions to this substance will be recommended. This would require that any proposed new manufacture, use or import be subject to further assessment, and would determine if the new activity requires further risk management consideration.
  • The Government of Canada is also considering removing 2-nitropropane from the list of food additives, where it is currently permitted for use as a carrier or extraction solvent for vegetable oils.
  • The final screening assessment and the proposed risk management approach documents were published on July 31, 2010. The publication of the proposed risk management approach document will be followed by a 60-day comment period, ending September 29, 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). However, exposure of the general population to 2-nitropropane is low.
  • As a general precaution, Canadians are reminded to carefully follow safety warnings and directions when using products containing 2-nitropropane.
  • Tobacco smoke is also a source of 2-nitropropane. 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 2-nitropropane in the workplace should consult with their occupational health and safety representative about safe handling practices, and requirements under the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System.
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