Results of prioritization, status and outcome for substances on the Revised In Commerce List

The Revised In Commerce List (R-ICL) is a list of substances, used in products regulated by the Food and Drugs Act (F&DA), that were in Canadian commerce between January 1987 and September 2001. This was a transition period preceding the date on which new substances used in these products were formally reported in the Canada Gazette as being subject to the New Substances Notification Regulations (NSNR) (Chemicals and Polymers) or NSNR (Organisms) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). Substances on the R-ICL include substances in pharmaceuticals, veterinary drugs, cosmetics, biologics, food products, natural health products, and medical devices. Under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), Health Canada subsequently prioritized the substances on the R-ICL to identify those that may require further evaluation to determine whether they pose a risk to human health or the environment. It was also recognized that there was a need to update the current commercial status information for these substances in Canada by clarifying use patterns, quantities in Canadian commerce and identifying stakeholders who import or manufacture substances on the R-ICL.

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Prioritization results

As of 2016, the prioritization process was applied to approximately 3,500 R-ICL substances, based on information available at the time, to separate the R-ICL list into 2 broad categories: “higher priority”, or “lower priority”. Substances in the “higher priority” category require some form of follow-up, for example, information gathering activities or risk assessment, to ultimately determine whether these substances pose risks to the environment or human health. Substances in the “lower priority” category were of reduced priority, at least in the context of the R-ICL, such that no immediate follow-up activity was identified at the time prioritization was conducted. It should be noted that this does not preclude future actions and information gathering to manage any R-ICL listed substances under CEPA 1999.

The initial prioritization of substances on the R-ICL resulted in approximately 25% of substances being identified as higher priority, while the remaining 75% were in the lower priority category, including some substances which were on the Domestic Substances List (DSL). To avoid redundancy between the 2 lists, substances listed on the DSL were removed from the R-ICL. Since then, any substance that is notified at the final level of notification under NSNR and added to the DSL is also removed from the R-ICL.

Prioritization Results can be viewed in the R-ICL tracking table .

The R-ICL tracking table

The R-ICL tracking table is an evergreen list that displays information related to prioritization results, status and outcomes. Updates to the R-ICL tracking table will be published on a regular basis. Stakeholders who might be impacted by updates to the tracking table will be notified in advance through notices in the Canada Gazette or through direct communications from the program. Please see program contact information to request addition to the R-ICL stakeholder’s mailing list to receive updates.

What the prioritization results column means

A prioritization result of “higher priority” means that further work may be required in order to determine whether the substance may pose a risk to human health or the environment as defined by the CEPA 1999. Further work may include:

  • additional information gathering and evaluation to assess risk
  • targeted research or monitoring to address data gaps
  • leveraging of work with other CMP partners on similar substances
  • determining whether existing measures, evaluations, or instruments for management in place are sufficient to address concerns

Information gathering through, for example, inventory updates are used to update the commercial status of substances, inform priority setting, and refine risk assessment by providing information on use patterns and quantities.

Prioritization decisions were based on available information found for the substance, including criteria suggesting low risk or because there was no evidence raising concern. Data collected through surveys will be used at the assessment stage for substances found to have commercial activity. These decisions, whether they are related to potential concerns to human health, the environment, or both, were based on preliminary information and some will change as new information becomes available.

What the status column means

The status column outlines the findings or rationale for next steps or leading to the outcome for a substance in regards to the R-ICL. This column captures data gaps as well as rationales such as:

  • clarification is required
  • no commercial activity identified
  • identified for future survey
  • removed from R-ICL to avoid redundancy with DSL
  • substances found to be subject to risk management (for example, Ministerial Condition, or listing on Schedule 1 to CEPA 1999, etc.)

The results of information surveys and screening risk assessments will change the status of many substances, and the table will be updated accordingly.

What the outcome column means

The outcome column outlines the actions that have been or may be taken in regards to substances on the R-ICL, including removal of substances from the list or identification of substances to be assessed. Where the outcome is listed as to be determined (TBD), it is likely that there is a data gap, and that clarification or survey information is required to inform decision making.

The outcome column is another evergreen column, and updates to the R-ICL tracking table will be published on an on-going basis.

Contact information for the R-ICL

Enquiries related to the prioritization of the R-ICL, including requests for a searchable format of the R-ICL tracking table may be directed to the following address:

Regulatory Affairs Unit
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch
Health Canada
Mail stop PL 4905B
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
Telephone: 1-866-996-9913 (in Canada) or 613-948-3591

Please include your full contact information: name, address, phone number and email address.

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