The risks posed by a substance are determined by both its hazardous properties (potential to cause adverse human health or ecological effects) and the amount or extent of exposure to people and the environment.
When needed, the Government implements risk management measures under CEPA 1999 and other federal acts to help prevent or reduce potential harm.
The 5 substances in the Aldehydes Group are associated with health effects; however, at levels of exposure considered in the assessment, the Government concluded that they are not harmful to human health or to the environment.
The 5 substances in the Aldehydes Group occur naturally in the environment.
According to information gathered by the Government, these substances are mainly used in Canada in cosmetics, as formulants in pest control products, and as non-medicinal ingredients in natural health products. Additionally, these substances may be used as food flavouring agents. They may also be used as components in the manufacture of certain food packaging materials; however, exposure from this use is expected to be negligible.
Human and ecological exposures
The screening assessment indicates that Canadians may be exposed to substances in the Aldehydes Group from the use of products available to consumers (for example, body moisturizers, air fresheners), from the environment and from potential use as food flavouring agents and natural occurrence in food.
According to the information considered under the ERC Approach, the 5 substances in the Aldehydes Group were identified as having low ecological exposure potential.
Based on laboratory studies, the critical effects identified for characterizing the risk to human health for benzaldehyde were effects on the liver through inhalation exposure. Based on laboratory studies, decreased survival rate was identified as a critical effect through the oral route.
There were limited health effects (hazard) data for octanal, nonanal and vanilla oils; therefore, a comparative approach using similar chemicals, called read-across, was also used to assess potential health effects.
The critical effects identified to characterize risk to human health for substances in this group are as follows:
For octanal and nonanal, effects on stomach and nasal tissues.
For methylbenzaldehyde, decreased pituitary weight.
Based on available information, no critical effects have been identified for vanilla oils.
According to information considered under the ERC Approach, benzaldehyde, octanal, nonanal and methylbenzaldehyde were identified as having low ecological hazard potentials. Vanilla oils was identified as having a high ecological hazard potential; however, the potential effects on the environment were not further investigated due to the low exposure of this substance.
Consideration of subpopulations who may be more susceptible or highly exposed
There are groups of individuals within the Canadian population who, due to greater susceptibility or greater exposure, may be more vulnerable to experiencing adverse health effects from exposure to substances.
Certain subpopulations are routinely considered throughout the screening assessment process, such as infants, children, and people of reproductive age. For instance, age-specific exposure estimates are routinely derived and developmental and reproductive toxicity studies are evaluated for potential adverse health effects. For substances in the Aldehydes Group, these subpopulations with potential for higher exposure, and those who may be more susceptible, were taken into account in the risk assessment outcomes.
Risk assessment outcomes
Based upon a comparison of levels to which Canadians may be exposed to substances in the Aldehydes Group and the levels associated with health effects, the risk to human health from these 5 substances is considered to be low.
Based upon the outcome of the ERC Approach, these 5 substances are considered unlikely to be causing ecological harm.
Proposed screening assessment conclusions
The Government is proposing that the 5 substances in the Aldehydes Group are not harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
The Government is also proposing that the 5 substances in the Aldehydes Group are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful.
Substances in the Aldehydes Group are found in products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions related to the product and dispose of products responsibly.