Identification of chemicals and polymers as risk assessment priorities

Under Part 5 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada were required to complete the categorization of approximately 23 000 existing substances on Canada's Domestic Substances List (DSL). Approximately 4 300 substances were identified as requiring screening assessment following this prioritization exercise.

The core of the risk assessment work currently being conducted under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) is comprised of these approximately 4 300 prioritized substances, along with the annual receipt of 400 to 500 new substance notifications.

The categorization process was completed in 2006, and was based on information available at the time. It is one of 7 mechanisms that help to identify candidates for risk assessment. These 7 mechanisms are:

  • Results of the categorization of the DSL
  • Industry information
  • Information exchange and review of decisions of other jurisdictions
  • Nominations to the Priority Substances List
  • New substances notifications
  • Emerging science and monitoring
  • International assessment or data collection

While the CMP will continue to address remaining priorities identified through categorization and new substances notifications, the Government of Canada has recognized that new information continues to be generated that could help inform the identification of substances of concern. Therefore, a regular review of available information is undertaken by HC and ECCC. The approach, known as the Identification of Risk Assessment Priorities (IRAP), is outlined in the Approach for identification of chemicals and polymers as risk assessment priorities under Part 5 of CEPA 1999.

This cyclical approach is a more systematic compilation and review of information from a large number of information sources. It enables the Government of Canada to communicate how emerging issues are tracked, and to identify and prioritize substances requiring further work.

Stakeholders will be consulted on initiatives that might derive from the collection and analysis of data under this approach.

Results of the IRAP prioritization exercises

To date, the IRAP reviews have primarily focused on identifying new information that would constitute indicators of hazard and/or exposure for the following types of substances:

  • Substances on Canada's DSL that have not been assessed within the last 5 years and are not scheduled to be assessed under the CMP
  • Substances that had been previously identified under IRAP and assigned an outcome of data gathering or international activity in previous review cycles, such as substances that were part of the 2017 inventory update
  • Substances that were nominated by CMP program staff as being of potential concern based on knowledge acquired through research and/or expertise gained from previous assessments
  • Substances identified as potentially requiring review pursuant to international assessment or management

After reviewing the pertinent sources of information for substances within the scope, the analyses identified substances that are:

  • unlikely to require further action at this time based on information available
  • likely to require additional data gathering
  • likely to require further scoping / problem formulation
  • likely to require risk assessment
  • likely to require monitoring of ongoing international activity

The results of the IRAP reviews are published after each cycle:

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