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 taken steps to enhance the way new information from the other sources is acquired, evaluated and incorporated into forward work planning. These enhancements are outlined in the Approach for identification of chemicals and polymers as risk assessment priorities under Part 5 of CEPA 1999.

This more systematic compilation and review of information from a large number of information sources enables the Government of Canada to be better positioned to recognize concerns, to track emerging issues, and to identify and prioritize substances requiring further work. This also helps to increase transparency in the process of identifying new priorities.

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

Results of the 2017-2018 prioritization exercise

The Identification of Risk Assessment Priorities: Results of the 2017-2018 Review and its supporting document describe how the approach was applied to identify chemicals and polymers, beyond those identified through DSL categorization, as risk assessment priorities under CEPA 1999.

This review was conducted in 2017-2018 and 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
  • previously assessed substances that were not found to meet the criteria under section 64 of CEPA 1999, depending on the time elapsed since data/information on the substance was last reviewed
  • 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 section 75 of CEPA 1999

After searching the pertinent sources of information, the process identified approximately 8,400 substances that fit the scope of the review and had at least one new piece of information representing potential indicators requiring further consideration.

The analysis identified substances that are:

  • unlikely to require further work based on information available
  • new candidates for risk assessment
  • likely to require further data gathering
  • likely to require further scoping / problem formulation
  • subjects of ongoing international activities

Results of the 2016 prioritization exercise

The Identification of Risk Assessment Priorities: Results of the 2016 Review describes how the approach was applied to identify chemicals and polymers, beyond those identified through DSL categorization, as risk assessment priorities under CEPA 1999.

This review was completed in 2016 and primarily focused on identifying significant new hazard and/or exposure information including a review of research, monitoring and international activities for substances that are on Canada's DSL.

For the purposes of this review, the scope of substances focused on:

  • substances on the DSL that have not recently been, and are not currently being, assessed under CMP
  • certain previously assessed substances on the DSL
  • substances that had been reviewed as part of the 2015 exercise and had been assigned an outcome of further data gathering
  • 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 section 75 of CEPA 1999

After searching the pertinent sources of information, the process identified approximately 6,000 substances that fit the scope of the review and had at least one piece of new information requiring further consideration.

The analysis identified substances that are:

  • unlikely to require further work based on information available
  • new candidates for risk assessment
  • likely to require further data gathering
  • subjects of ongoing international activities

Results of the 2015 prioritization exercise

The Identification of Risk Assessment Priorities: Results of the 2015 Review describes how the approach was applied to identify chemicals and polymers, beyond those identified through DSL categorization, as risk assessment priorities under the CEPA 1999.

This review was completed in 2015 and primarily focused on identifying significant new hazard and/or exposure information, including a review of research, monitoring and international activities for substances that are on Canada's DSL.

For the purposes of this review, the scope of substances was limited to those which were not recently, currently, or scheduled to be assessed by the program. The scope is anticipated to change with future iterations of review.

After searching the pertinent sources of information, the process identified approximately 2,600 substances that fit the scope of the review and had information representing potential indicators requiring further consideration.

The analysis identified substances that are:

  • unlikely to require further work based on information available
  • new candidates for risk assessment
  • likely to require further data gathering
  • subjects of ongoing international activities
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