Acetonitrile - information sheet
CAS Registry Number 75-05-8
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 screening assessment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment from acetonitrile.
- Under 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.
- The ecological hazard and exposure potentials of acetonitrile were classified using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic (ERC) Substances Approach.
- As a result of the screening assessment, the Government concluded that acetonitrile is not harmful to human health or the environment at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
About this substance
- The screening assessment summarized here focused on acetonitrile. It was assessed under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP).
- According to information gathered by the Government, acetonitrile occurs naturally (for example, in coal tar, volcanic gas, and in the combustion products of wood) and is also present in tobacco smoke. In Canada, acetonitrile has commercial uses in laboratories.
Human and ecological exposures
- Canadians may be exposed to acetonitrile from the environment, mainly from indoor and outdoor air. Measurements of acetonitrile in residential air quality studies were used to assess human exposure to this substance.
- According to information considered under the ERC Approach, acetonitrile was identified as having low ecological exposure potential.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Acetonitrile has been reviewed internationally through the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Cooperative Chemicals Assessment Programme. There is an OECD SIDS Initial Assessment Report (SIAR) available. This review was used to inform the health effects characterization in the screening assessment. Effects on the blood were considered to be the critical effects considered in the human health assessment.
- According to information considered under the ERC Approach, acetonitrile was identified as having a low ecological hazard potential.
Risk assessment outcomes
- On the basis of information presented in the screening assessment, the risk to human health from acetonitrile is considered to be low.
- Based upon the outcome of the ERC Approach, acetonitrile is considered unlikely to be causing ecological harm.
- The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for Acetonitrile on April 3, 2021.
Screening assessment conclusions
- The Government concluded that acetonitrile is not harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in the assessment, and is not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
- The screening assessment focused on potential risks from exposure of the general population of Canada, rather than occupational exposure. Hazards related to chemicals used in the workplace are defined within the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. For information concerning workplace health and safety and what steps to take in the workplace, Canadians should consult their employer and/or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulator in their jurisdiction.
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