The rapid screening approach

An important initiative under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) is the rapid screening of substances that the Government considers to be of low concern. The rapid screening approach makes use of both qualitative and quantitative steps to efficiently evaluate the likelihood that a substance may cause harm, given conservative estimates of exposure. At each step in the rapid screening process, any substance that appears to present a potential for harm will be identified as requiring further assessment. For those substances that pass through all steps of the rapid screening without being identified as requiring further assessment, the Government will conclude that the substances are unlikely to meet the criteria set out in paragraphs 64(a), (b) or (c) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999).

Notice of intent to apply the Significant New Activity provisions

It is being proposed that 54 of the substances assessed through the rapid screening of substances from phases one and two of the Domestic Substances List (DSL) inventory update be subject to the Significant New Activity (SNAc) provisions of CEPA 1999.

A notice of intent to amend the DSL to apply the SNAc provisions of CEPA 1999 to 54 substances has been published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 150, No. 49 December 3, 2016.

View more information on the Significant New Activity Provisions under CEPA, including additional guidance on submitting information required as part of a Significant New Activity Notification (SNAN).

View the Significant New Activity Publications under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Rapid screening of substances with limited general population exposure

Unlike most previous rapid screening assessments, the substances selected as candidates for this initiative were not limited to those reported to be in commerce in Canada at less than or equal to 1000 kg/year. For this rapid screening assessment, potential for direct human exposure to the substance was the determining factor for consideration.

As a result, 171 candidate substances were identified for evaluation of potential health or ecological concerns as part of this rapid screening assessment.

Draft screening assessment

In June 2017, the Draft Screening Assessment for the Rapid Screening of Substances with Limited General Population Exposure was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette Part I: Vol. 151, No. 23 – June 10, 2017 for a 60-day public comment period. The draft screening assessment proposed to conclude that 88 of the 171 substances assessed do not meet any of the criteria set out under section 64 of CEPA 1999. Sixty of these 88 substances were identified as having potential ecological or health effects of concern. Therefore, there may be concern if exposure to any of these substances were to increase. Follow-up activities to track changes in exposure and/or commercial use patterns for these 60 substances are being considered. The remaining 83 substances were identified as needing further assessment.

Rapid screening of polymers

Second phase of polymer rapid screening

The approach applied in the second phase of polymer rapid screening was refined beyond that used in the first phase based on experience gained from the first phase, as well as further information specific to the characterization of polymers that was collected through voluntary data collection and a mandatory survey on polymer substances conducted under CEPA 1999.

Of the 603 polymers originally identified as candidates for the polymer rapid screening approach, 275 were assessed in the first phase of polymer rapid screening, leaving 328 polymers to be addressed. The second phase of polymer rapid screening considers these 328 polymers, as well as 8 polymers that were previously assessed under rapid screening of substances of low concern but were flagged for re-assessment following a 2015 review of the identification of risk assessment priorities. Therefore, the second phase of polymer rapid screening considers 336 polymers.

First phase of polymer rapid screening

Data collected through a mandatory survey of substances in phase 2 of the DSL inventory update in December 2012 indicated that 336 of the 603 polymers surveyed were not in commerce in Canada at levels greater than 1000 kg during the 2011 calendar year. These 336 polymers were therefore identified for the application of a rapid screening approach.

Information related to rapid screening assessments of polymers is available on the polymers webpage.

Rapid screening of substances from phase two of the Domestic Substances List inventory update

Based on information submitted pursuant to a section 71 of CEPA 1999 regarding commercial activity in Canada under phase 2 of the DSL inventory update, 869 of the approximately 2700 inanimate substances surveyed were identified for application of a rapid screening approach because they were identified as being in commerce in Canada at a total quantity of ≤ 1000 kg per year. The majority of the 869 substances met the categorization criteria for PiT or BiT to human or non-human organisms or for GPE to humans or under subsection 73(1) of CEPA 1999. Some substances considered in this assessment had been identified as posing a high hazard to human health based on classifications by other national or international agencies for carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, developmental toxicity or reproductive toxicity.

Final screening assessment

In August 2016, the Final Screening Assessment of Substances Identified from Phase Two of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update using the rapid screening approach was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 150, No. 35 - August 27, 2016. The final screening assessment concludes that 612 of the 869 substances do not meet any of the criteria set out under section 64 of CEPA 1999. Thirty-nine of these 612 substances may be subject to the SNAc provisions. The remaining 257 substances were identified as needing further assessment.

Draft screening assessment

In February 2015, the Draft Screening Assessment of Substances from Phase Two of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update using the rapid screening approach was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette Part I: Vol. 149, No. 9 - February 28, 2015 for a 60-day public comment period. The draft screening assessment proposed to conclude that 612 of the 869 substances do not meet any of the criteria set out under section 64 of CEPA 1999. The remaining 257 substances were identified as needing further assessment.

Because these 612 substances are listed on the DSL, their import and manufacture in Canada are not subject to notification under subsection 81(1) of CEPA 1999. Although a risk to the environment or human health has not been identified, 40 substances in this assessment are recognized to have properties of concern. There may be a concern for the environment or for human health if exposures to these substances were to increase. Options on how best to monitor changes in the use profiles of these substances are being investigated and may include application of the SNAc provisions and/or addition to the DSL inventory update. Comments and the Government's response are summarized in the Summary of public comments received on the Draft Screening Assessment for Rapid Screening of Substances identified during Phase Two of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update.

Rapid screening of substances from phase one of the Domestic Substances List inventory update

Based on information submitted pursuant to section 71 of CEPA 1999 regarding commercial activity in Canada under Phase 1 of the DSL inventory update, 140 of the approximately 500 inanimate substances surveyed were identified for application of a rapid screening approach because they were not identified as being in commerce Canada in quantities greater than 1000 kg during the 2008 calendar year. These substances included those that met categorization criteria for GPE to humans or for PiT or BiT to human or non-human organisms under subsection 73(1) of CEPA 1999. Additional substances had been identified as posing a high hazard to human health based on classifications by other national or international agencies for carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, developmental toxicity or reproductive toxicity.

Final screening assessment

In March 2014, the Final Screening Assessment of Substances from Phase One of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update using the rapid screening approach was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 148, No. 13 - March 29, 2014. The final screening assessment concludes that 117 of the 140 substances do not meet any of the criteria set out under section 64 of CEPA 1999. The remaining 23 substances were identified as needing further assessment.

Draft screening assessment

In June 2013, the Draft Screening Assessment of Substances from Phase One of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update using the rapid screening approach was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 147, No. 25 - June 15, 2013 for a 60-day public comment period. Comments and the Government's response are summarized in the Summary of public comments received on the Draft Screening Assessment on Substances from Phase One of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update.

Rapid screening of substances of low concern

Based on the results from the categorization of substances on the DSL, 1066 substances were identified for application of a rapid screening approach. These substances included those that met categorization criteria as being iT (ecological) and either P or B (but not both), in addition to being in commerce in low quantities (maximum use in Canada of 1000 kg per year based on 1986 data) and were therefore expected to be of lower concern. The Government's intent to apply a rapid screening approach to substances of low concern was announced in Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 140 No. 49 - December 9, 2006 and a draft issue paper outlining this rapid screening approach (ecological considerations) was released on the CEPA Registry web-site on December 9, 2006. This paper was since revised and a final version entitled Technical approach for "rapid screening" of substances of lower ecological concern was released in June 2007. Sixty-one substances initially included in the approach have been withdrawn for a variety of reasons. The rapid screening approach has now been applied to 1005 substances believed to be of low concern. None of the substances met categorization criteria for human health.

Final screening assessment

In April 2013, the Final Screening Assessment of Substances of Low Concern was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 147, No. 17 - April 20, 2013.

The final screening assessment concluded that 533 of the 1005 substances of low concern do not meet the criteria as set out in section 64 of CEPA 1999.

The Government is committed to identifying and addressing all substances that may pose risks to the environment or to human health. Therefore, in order to validate the assumptions made under this rapid screening approach, further information regarding the current quantities of these substances that are in commerce in Canada will be obtained through the Government's inventory update initiatives.

The remaining 472 of the 1005 substances that underwent rapid screening have been identified as requiring further screening assessment in order to evaluate their potential to cause harm. They have also been included in the Inventory Update initiatives. These substances will be addressed with other substances moving forward in the CMP.

Updated draft screening assessment

In June 2011, the updated Draft Screening Assessment of Substances of Low Concern was released and the related notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 145, No. 25 - June 18, 2011.

There was a 60-day comment period associated with this publication. Comments and the Government's response are summarized in the Response to comments received following the publication after screening assessment of 545 low concern substances on the Domestic Substances List.

Following the close of the public comment period, all information that was received relating to the updated draft screening assessment was considered in the preparation of the final screening assessment.

Draft screening assessment

In June 2007, a summary of the Screening Assessment of Substances of Low Concern using the rapid screening approach was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 141, No. 25 - June 23, 2007.

There was a 60-day comment period associated with this publication. Comments and the Government's response are summarized in the Response to comments received following the publication after screening assessment of 754 low concern substances on the Domestic Substances List.

Following the close of the public comment period, all information that was received relating to the draft screening assessment was considered in the preparation of the updated draft screening assessment.

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