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.
As a result of the screening assessment, none of these 5 substances are concluded to be harmful to human health or the environment at levels of exposure considered in the assessment. Though the risk to human health is low at current levels of exposure, the substances AGE, o-CGE, and TGIC are associated with health effects of concern, and there may be a concern if exposure were to increase.
About these substances
The screening assessment focused on 5 of 12 substances referred to collectively as the Epoxides and Glycidyl Ethers Group, under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The substances addressed in the screening assessment are: allyl glycidyl ether (AGE), beta-caryophyllene oxide (BCPO), o-cresol glycidyl ether (o-CGE), triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC), and alkyl (C12-C13) glycidyl ether (C12-C13 AGE).
These 5 substances do not occur naturally, except for BCPO, which is naturally present in some plants and essential oils.
According to information gathered by the Government, AGE is used in industrial applications while BCPO is used as a fragrance ingredient in cosmetics and may be present in foods as a flavouring agent.
o-CGE is used mainly in the formulation of epoxy resins and was found in some do-it-yourself (DIY) products available to consumers (flooring adhesive, floor coating for garages, two-component epoxy resin, and arts and crafts/hobby resin).
TGIC is mainly used in the formulation of polyester resins that are used to make polyester powder coatings.
C12-C13 AGE was identified in some DIY products available to consumers (two-component epoxy adhesive, epoxy filler, and multi-purpose epoxy resin used to seal and coat surfaces).
Human and ecological exposures
Exposure of Canadians to AGE and TGIC is expected to be minimal.
Canadians may be exposed to:
BCPO from the use of cosmetic products and from food containing this substance; however, exposure from food is considered to be low.
o-CGE or C12-C13 AGE from the use of DIY products.
According to information considered under the ERC Approach, these substances were identified as having low ecological exposure potential with the exception of TGIC, which was identified as having a high exposure potential due to its overall persistence and large use volumes.
In the European Union, the following harmonized classifications are listed:
for AGE, as suspected of causing genetic defects, causing cancer, and damaging fertility;
for o-CGE, as suspected of causing genetic defects; and
for TGIC, as a substance that may cause genetic defects.
The critical effects considered in the health assessment of BCPO were effects on the liver and lymph nodes.
There were limited data for o-CGE, therefore, a comparative approach using similar chemicals, called read-across, was used for assessing potential health effects. On the basis of the available information on o-CGE and the similar substances, carcinogenicity (ability to cause cancer) and effects on the nasal cavity were considered to be the critical effects used in the assessment of o-CGE.
For C12-C13 AGE, reversible effects at the site of contact were considered to be critical effects for the human health risk assessment.
According to information considered under the ERC Approach, AGE was identified as having a low ecological hazard potential. BCPO and TGIC were identified as having moderate ecological hazard potentials based on a moderate bioaccumulation potential and a moderate level of ecotoxicity, respectively. o-CGE was identified as having a high ecological hazard potential based on a high level of ecotoxicity. Finally, C12-C13 AGE was identified as having a high ecological hazard potential based on its high bioaccumulation potential and a moderate level of ecotoxicity.
Risk assessment outcomes
On the basis of the information presented in the screening assessment, the risk to human health is considered to be low for AGE and TGIC.
A comparison of levels to which Canadians may be exposed to BCPO, o-CGE, and C12-C13 AGE, and the levels associated with the critical health effects, determined that the risk to human health from each substance is considered to be low.
As a result of the screening assessment, the Government concluded that AGE, BCPO, o-CGE, TGIC, and C12-C13 AGE are not harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
The Government also concluded that AGE, BCPO, o-CGE, TGIC, and C12-C13 AGE are not entering the environment at concentrations that may be harmful to the environment.
Preventive actions and reducing risk
Although AGE, o-CGE, and TGIC are not considered to be harmful to human health at current levels of exposure, these 3 substances are associated with health effects of concern. There may be a potential risk to human health if exposure to these substances were to increase.
The SNAc provisions would require that the Government be notified of certain proposed new activities related to these substances, and that the new activity be assessed before being undertaken.
The notice outlines the proposed definition of a significant new activity in relation to AGE, o-CGE, TGIC, as well as the information that would need to be provided to the Government for assessment before the new activity is undertaken.
Some of these substances may be found in products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions related to the product and dispose of products responsibly.