Benzophenone – information sheet

Methanone, diphenyl-,
CAS Registry Number 119-61-9

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Overview

  • 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 the environment from benzophenone.
  • 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 to the environment.
  • The ecological hazard and exposure potentials of benzophenone were classified using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances (ERC) Approach.
  • As a result of the screening assessment, the Government has concluded that benzophenone is harmful to human health but not to the environment, at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.

About this substance

  • The screening assessment summarized here focused on the substance methanone, diphenyl-, also referred to as benzophenone, which was assessed under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP).
  • Benzophenone occurs naturally in the environment (for example, in some fruits and plants), and is also human-made.
  • According to information gathered by the Government, benzophenone is used in a range of products available to consumers, including cosmetics, paints and coatings, stains, adhesives, sealants and pest control products. It may also be used in inks, toners and colourants, including inks used in some food packaging, and as a flavouring agent in foods.

Human and ecological exposures

  • Canadians may be exposed to benzophenone from indoor air, dust, food, and from the use of baby bottles. Exposure may also occur from the use of certain cosmetics (for example, nail polishes, fragrances and body cleansers), as well as from exterior and interior paints, and stains.
  • According to the information considered under the ERC Approach, benzophenone was identified as having a low ecological exposure potential.

Key health and ecological effects (hazard)

  • To identify human health effects, international reports of data on benzophenone were considered. This included reviews by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the European Food Safety Authority.
    • IARC classified benzophenone as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".
    • Non-cancer effects on the kidney and maternal effects were identified as critical effects for characterizing the risk to human health.
  • According to information considered under the ERC Approach, benzophenone was identified as having a low ecological hazard potential.

Risk assessment outcomes

  • It was determined that this substance may pose a risk to human health, based upon a comparison of levels to which Canadians may be exposed to benzophenone from the use of certain products available to consumers (nail polish, exterior and interior paints and stains) and the levels associated with critical health effects. Other sources of exposure (such as food, indoor air, dust and baby bottles), were not considered to pose a risk to human health.
  • Based upon the outcome of the ERC Approach, benzophenone is considered unlikely to be causing ecological harm.
  • The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for Benzophenone on January 30, 2021.

Screening assessment conclusions

  • As a result of the screening assessment, the Government concluded that benzophenone is harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
  • The Government also concluded that benzophenone is not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
  • Also, benzophenone meets the persistence criteria but not the bioaccumulation criteria as set out in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations of CEPA 1999.

Preventive actions and reducing risk

  • The Government of Canada published the Proposed Risk Management Approach for Benzophenone on January 30, 2021. The public is invited to comment on this document during the 60-day public comment period ending on March 31, 2021.
  • The Government intends to add benzophenone to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999, also called the List of Toxic Substances.
  • To address human health concerns for benzophenone, the Government is considering the following:
    • Measures to reduce exposures to benzophenone from certain cosmetics by describing it as a prohibited or restricted ingredient on Health Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. The Hotlist is used to communicate that certain substances may not be compliant with the Food and Drugs Act or the Cosmetic Regulations. Under Canadian legislation, cosmetics that contain substances that are harmful to the user cannot be sold.
    • A measure to reduce the concentrations of benzophenone to a maximum of 0.1% (w/w) or 1,000 mg/kg in certain exterior and interior paint, stain and/or coating products that are available to consumers in Canada.
  • Information is being sought by the Government to inform risk management decision-making. Details can be found in the proposed risk management approach, including where to send information during the public comment period, ending March 10, 2021.
  • Further information and updates on risk management actions for substances managed under the CMP can be found in the risk management actions table and the two-year rolling risk management activities and consultations schedule.

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