Acetic acid - information sheet
CAS Registry Number 64-19-7
On this page
- About this substance
- Human and ecological exposures
- Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Risk assessment outcomes
- Related information
- The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment from acetic acid.
- Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), the risk posed by a substance is determined by considering both its hazardous properties (its potential to cause adverse human health or ecological effects) and the amount of exposure there is to people and the environment. A substance may have hazardous properties; however, the risk to human health or to the environment may be low depending upon the level of exposure.
- More information on assessing risk can be found in the Overview of Risk Assessment and related fact sheets, particularly on Types of Risk Assessment Documents and the Risk Assessment Toolbox.
- The ecological hazard and exposure potentials of this substance were classified using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach.
- As a result of the draft screening assessment, the Government is proposing that acetic acid is not harmful to human health or to the environment at current levels of exposure.
About this substance
- The screening assessment summarized here focuses on the substance acetic acid. It was assessed under the Chemicals Management Plan.
- According to information gathered by the Government, acetic acid is human-made. In Canada, it is mainly used in food products as vinegar and as a food additive.
- This substance may also be used in products, such as cleaners and sanitizers that may be used on food contact surfaces; however, exposure to acetic acid from this use is considered to be negligible. It may also be a component in food packaging materials; however, exposure is not expected.
- Acetic acid may also be found in a range of products available to consumers, including self-care products (cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs), pest control products, household cleaners, pet shampoos and silicone sealants.
- This substance is also produced by the human body.
Human and ecological exposures
- The main source of dietary exposure to acetic acid is from its use as vinegar in food products. Canadians may also be exposed to this substance from the use of products available to consumers, such as self-care products, household cleaners, pet shampoos and silicone sealants.
- According to information considered under the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach, acetic acid was identified as having high ecological exposure potential due to its persistence in air (ability to stay in the air over time) and large quantities of use.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- No serious effects on human health have been identified for acetic acid.
- According to information considered under the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach, acetic acid was identified as having a low ecological hazard potential.
Risk assessment outcomes
- On the basis of the information presented in the draft screening assessment, the risk to human health from acetic acid is low.
- Based upon the outcome of the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach, acetic acid is considered unlikely to cause ecological harm.
- The Government of Canada published the Draft Screening Assessment for Acetic Acid on July 20, 2019. The public are invited to comment on this assessment during the 60-day public comment period ending on September 18, 2019.
Proposed screening assessment conclusions
- As a result of the draft screening assessment, the Government is proposing that acetic acid is not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure, and that it is not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
- Acetic acid may be found in products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions on product labels and dispose of productsresponsibly.
- Visit Do it for a Healthy Home for more information on chemical safety in and around the home.
- Canadians who may be exposed to acetic acid in the workplace can consult with their employer and an occupational health and safety (OHS) representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws, and requirements under OHS legislation and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System.
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