Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group – information sheet
On this page
- About these substances
- Human and ecological exposures
- Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Risk assessment outcomes
- Related information
- The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment from 9 substances in the Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group.
- 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 (ERC) Approach.
- Substances in the Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group may be associated with certain human health and/or ecological effects; however, the risk to Canadians and the environment is low at levels of exposure considered in the assessment. Therefore, it is concluded that these substances are not harmful to human health or to the environment.
About these substances
- The screening assessment focused on 9 of 16 substances referred to collectively under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) as the Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group. The substances addressed in the screening assessment are: undecylenic acid; α-linolenic acid (ALA); tung oil; tall oil fatty acid; tall oil fatty acids, potassium salts; evening primrose oil; dimer acid; trimer acid; and ethylhexyl cocoate.
- The substance fats and glyceridic oils, margosa was included in the draft screening assessment for the Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group published on August 18, 2018; however, based on additional information received, this UVCB (Unknown or Variable Composition, Complex Reaction Products or Biological Materials) substance requires further assessment. Therefore, further evaluation of this substance will be provided in a separate screening assessment.
- There were 4 other substances in the Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group [Chemical Abstract Services Registry Numbers (CAS RNs) 68139-89-9, 53980-88-4, 68647-55-2, and Domestic Substances List (DSL) Confidential Accession Number 11556-0] that were determined to be of low concern to both human health and the environment, through other approaches.
- Conclusions for the substance with the CAS RN 68139-89-9 are provided in the Screening Assessment for Substances Identified as Being of Low Concern using the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances and the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC)-based Approach for Certain Substances.
- Conclusions for the substances with the CAS RNs 53980-88-4, 68647-55-2, and DSL Confidential Accession Number 11556-0 are provided in the Screening Assessment for the Rapid Screening of Substances with Limited General Population Exposure.
- Additionally, 2 substances (CAS RNs 68476-03-9 and 73138-45-1) originally included in the Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group, were placed into another substance group to which they are more appropriately suited on the basis of scientific considerations. Conclusions for these substances are provided in the Screening Assessment for Seven Hydrocarbon-based Substances.
- According to information gathered by the Government, the substances in the Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group occur naturally in the environment and/or are derived from natural sources, such as plants and animal fats and oils. ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is essential for humans and is naturally present in certain foods.
- In Canada, these substances have a variety of uses, such as in cosmetics, natural and non-prescription health products, lubricants and greases, adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, fuels and related products, food packaging materials, and for undecylenic acid, as a food flavouring agent.
Human and ecological exposures
- Canadians may be exposed to these substances through the use of products available to consumers, such as cosmetics and natural and non-prescription health products.
- Exposure to undecylenic acid may also occur through food, from its potential use as a food flavouring agent. Canadians may also be exposed to ALA through its natural presence in food.
- According to the information considered under the ERC Approach, tung oil was identified as having a high ecological exposure potential based on the critical emission rate of the substance to the environment, whereas the remaining 8 substances were identified as having a low ecological exposure.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- To identify health effects information, international reports of data on these substances were reviewed.
- ALA and the major components of tall oil acid, evening primrose oil, dimer acid, trimer acid and the free fatty acid of ethylhexyl cocoate have been assessed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Cooperative Chemicals Assessment Programme and a Screening Information Data Set Initial Assessment Report is available.
- A form of a major component of tung oil was reviewed by the European Food Safety Authority.
- Dimer acid was reviewed by the Australian Government Department of Health.
- Using information from these existing assessments, ALA; tung oil; tall oil fatty acid; tall oil fatty acids, potassium salts; evening primrose oil; dimer acid; and trimer acid are not considered to have hazardous properties for human health.
- Available information indicates that undecylenic acid and ethylhexyl cocoate may have effects on organ and body weights.
- According to information considered under the ERC Approach, undecylenic acid; tung oil; trimer acid; dimer acid; and ethylhexyl cocoate were identified as having a low ecological hazard potential.
- New information has been considered under the ERC approach, following the public comment period of the original draft screening assessment for this Group. As a result, the hazard profiles of tall oil fatty acid and tall oil fatty acids, potassium salts were reclassified from high to low, on the basis of their low potential ecotoxicity and a low potential to accumulate in aquatic food webs.
- ALA and evening primrose oil were identified as having high ecological hazard potential, based on their moderate potency and potential to cause adverse effects in aquatic and terrestrial food webs, given their bioaccumulation potentials.
Risk assessment outcomes
- Based upon a comparison of levels to which Canadians may be exposed, and the levels associated with health effects, along with the consideration of international assessments, the risk to human health from these substances is considered to be low.
- Based upon the outcome of the ERC approach, undecylenic acid; tung oil; tall oil fatty acid; tall oil fatty acids, potassium salts; trimer acid; dimer acid; and ethylhexyl cocoate are considered unlikely to be causing ecological harm.
- The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for Fatty Acids and Derivatives on August 1, 2020.
Screening assessment conclusions
- The Government concluded that undecylenic acid; ALA; tung oil; tall oil fatty acid; tall oil fatty acids, potassium salts; evening primrose oil; ethylhexyl cocoate; trimer acid; and dimer acid are not harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
- The Government also concluded that these 9 substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
- Substances in the Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group 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.
- 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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