Phenol, (1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-methoxy- (BHA)

CAS Registry Number 25013-16-5

What is it?

  • Phenol, (1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-methoxy-, also known as BHA, is an industrial chemical.

How is it used?

  • BHA is permitted for use as a food additive in Canada as an antioxidant to delay the deterioration of flavours and odours and increase the shelf life of fats and fat-containing foods, including foods baked or fried in animal oils.
  • BHA may also be used as an antioxidant and antimicrobial preservative in personal care products, pharmaceutical products, natural health products and veterinary products manufactured in Canada.
  • BHA is also an antioxidant used in animal feeds.
  • BHA is a formulant (non-active ingredient) used as a stabilizer or fragrance in pesticide products in Canada.
  • BHA is not manufactured in Canada, but it is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to the assessment, BHA was identified as a potential concern for 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 moderate potential for exposure (not including workplace exposures) to the general population of Canada.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • The general population of Canada is primarily exposed to BHA through its permitted use as an antioxidant in some foods and through its use in personal care products such as shampoos and skin moisturizers.

How is it released to the environment?

  • BHA may be released to the environment through use of products containing this substance.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of BHA, 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 BHA is not harmful to the health of the general population at current levels of exposure.
  • Additionally, although BHA 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 BHA 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?

  • Based on the conclusion of the final screening assessment, the Government of Canada proposes that no further action be taken on BHA.
  • The final screening assessment report was published on July 31, 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). BHA is not presently 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 safety warnings and directions.
  • Canadians who handle BHA 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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