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.
Lotus corniculatus is a flowering plant also known by the common name of bird's-foot trefoil. Some forms of the plant are known to produce compounds called cyanogenic glycosides, which may break down to release hydrogen cyanide (HCN).
Lotus corniculatus extract is derived from the plant and is a mixture of phytochemicals, which may include the cyanogenic glycosides.
According to information gathered by the Government, Lotus corniculatus seed and flower extracts are present in cosmetic products in Canada.
Human and ecological exposures
The screening assessment indicated that Canadians may be exposed to Lotus corniculatus extract (and possibly HCN, as a result) from the use of cosmetics, such as body lotion or lip balm.
According to the information considered under the ERC Approach, Lotus corniculatus extract was identified as having low ecological exposure potential.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
HCN is considered to be the most toxicologically relevant substance in Lotus corniculatus extract. Based on this, the critical effects identified for characterizing the risk to human health for Lotus corniculatus extract were effects on the thyroid and the male reproductive system. Short term (acute) effects on the nervous system, such as headaches, were also identified.
According to information considered under the ERC Approach, Lotus corniculatus extract was identified as having a high ecological hazard potential due to its potential ecotoxicity.
Risk assessment outcomes
Based upon a comparison of the levels to which Canadians may be exposed to Lotus corniculatus extract, and the levels associated with health effects, it was determined that the risk to human health is low.
Based upon the outcome of the ERC Approach, Lotus corniculatus extract is considered unlikely to be causing ecological harm.
Screening assessment conclusions
The Government concluded that Lotus corniculatus extract is not harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in this assessment, and is not entering the environment at levels that are harmful.
Lotus corniculatus extract is found in products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions related to the product and dispose of products responsibly.
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