Commercial Naphthenic Acids Group - information sheet
Naphthenic acids (NAs)
CAS Registry Number 1338-24-5
Naphthenic acids, calcium salts (calcium naphthenates)
CAS Registry Number 61789-36-4
On this page
- About these substances
- Exposure of Canadians and the environment
- Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Risk assessment outcomes
- Important to know
- The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, of Commercial Naphthenic Acids Group, to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment.
- 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.
- The ecological hazard and exposure potentials of these substances were classified using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach.
- The risk posed by substances in the Commercial Naphthenic Acids Group is low at current levels of exposure; therefore, it is proposed that these substances are not harmful to human health or to the environment.
About these substances
- This screening assessment focuses on the substances naphthenic acids (NAs) and calcium naphthenates, referred to collectively under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) as the Commercial Naphthenic Acids Group.
- The Government gathers information on substances, including details on their commercial status in Canada, to support risk assessment and risk management of substances under the CMP.
- NAs occur naturally in crude oil and they are recovered during the processing of extracted petroleum distillates, such as jet fuel, kerosene, and diesel. Salts of NAs, such as calcium naphthenates, are synthetic (human-made) and do not occur naturally.
- This assessment focuses on the commercial NAs obtained through the extraction of petroleum distillates. The commercial NAs differ from NAs that are produced as a by-product during oil sands mining, extraction and processing of crude oil.
- In Canada, these substances may be present as a component in industrial lubricants and greases, as well as in paints and coatings.
- While NAs that are produced as a by-product during oil sands mining, extraction and processing of crude oil are not a part of the current assessment, activities to better understand them are occurring under the joint Canada-Alberta oils sands environmental monitoring program, and they are being proposed for addition to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI).
Exposure of Canadians and the environment
- In Canada, NAs and calcium naphthenates are mainly found in products that are intended for professional/industrial use, such as lubricants for specialized transportation equipment and paints for automobile refinishing. Therefore, exposure of Canadians to these substances is not expected.
- Commercial NAs may also be used in certain food packaging materials in Canada; however, exposure from this source is considered to be negligible.
- NAs and calcium naphthenates were identified as having low ecological exposure potential.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Based upon limited health effects data available for NAs and calcium naphthenates, no critical effects of concern for human health have been identified.
- NAs were identified as having a moderate ecological hazard potential based on the substance's moderate level of toxicity, while calcium naphthenates were identified as having a low ecological hazard potential.
Risk assessment outcomes
- Based upon the information presented in the screening assessment, the risk to human health from NAs and calcium naphthenates is considered to be low.
- The Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach characterized these substances as posing a low risk of harm to the environment.
- The Government of Canada published the Draft Screening Assessment for the Commercial Naphthenic Acids Group on August 18, 2018. This publication has a 60-day public comment period ending on October 17, 2018.
Proposed screening assessment conclusions
- As a result of this assessment, the Government is proposing that NAs and calcium naphthenates are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.
- The Government is also proposing that these substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
Important to know
- Canadians who may be exposed to NAs and calcium naphthenates 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 (WHMIS).
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