Methane, nitro- (Nitromethane)

CAS Registry Number 75-52-5

What is it?

  • Methane, nitro-, also known as nitromethane, is an industrial chemical which may also be found in various products available to Canadians.

How is it used?

  • Nitromethane is principally used as a fuel additive for drag car racing and model engines, a laboratory and industrial solvent, a stabilizer in degreasers, a solvent in making dental prosthetics, an adhesive remover, and a dry-cleaning solvent stabilizer. It can also be used in the production of biocides, agricultural products and other chemicals, and as a formulant in flux removers, magnetic tape head cleaner and multi-purpose lubricants.
  • Nitromethane is not manufactured in Canada, but it is imported into Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to the assessment, nitromethane 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?

  • The general population in Canada may be exposed to nitromethane by inhalation during the use of some products containing this substance (for example, instant adhesive remover, false nail remover, and eyelash adhesive remover); however, this exposure is expected to be low.
  • Exposure through environmental media (outdoor air, drinking water, soil) is expected to be low.

How is it released to the environment?

  • Releases of nitromethane to the environment have not been reported; however, nitromethane is highly volatile, so releases to air are expected during use of products that contain it.

What are the results of the assessment?

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

Page details

Date modified: