Petroleum Coke Group - information sheet
CAS Registry Number 64741-79-3
Coke (petroleum), calcined
CAS Registry Number 64743-05-1
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 the two substances in the Petroleum Coke 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.
- More information on assessing risk can be found in the Overview of Risk Assessment and related fact sheets, particularly on Types of Risk Assessment Documents and the Risk Assessment Toolbox.
- Since substances in the Petroleum Coke Group are of Unknown or Variable composition, Complex reaction products or Biological materials (UVCBs), the potential for releases and/or exposures of certain chemical components of the substances are also considered in the draft screening assessment. Components considered in the substances are certain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), vanadium and nickel. Under conditions of the petroleum coke stockpiles, these components will remain embedded in petroleum coke particles and will not be readily bioavailable.
- As a result of the draft screening assessment, the Government is proposing that the substances in the Petroleum Coke Group are not harmful to human health or to the environment at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
About these substances
- The draft screening assessment focuses on 2 substances referred to collectively as the Petroleum Coke Group under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). These substances are coke (petroleum) and coke (petroleum), calcined, also referred to as green coke and calcined coke, respectively.
- Green coke is a UVCB substance that is formed during the process of refining crude oil and oil sands upgrading.
- Further heating of green coke at high temperatures produces the substance calcined coke.
- According to information gathered by the Government, some of the green coke produced in Canada is used on-site at refineries or oil sand upgraders as a fuel; however, most is stockpiled (such as in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region) for future use as a fuel.
- Green coke is also used in Canada to produce calcined coke for use in aluminum and steel manufacturing.
Human and ecological exposures
- Canadians may be exposed to green coke and calcined coke through environmental sources (for example, air, soil and water) as a result of industrial activities related to the production, storage, and transportation of these substances. There are low concerns from exposure to petroleum coke in air, soil and water.
- Green coke may be released to the environment primarily from outdoor stockpiles.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- To inform the health effects characterization in the draft screening assessment, international reports of data on these substances were considered, including assessments by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
- The critical effects identified for characterizing the risk to human health for green coke and calcined coke were effects of these substances as fine particulates (liquid and solid particles suspended in the air) on the lungs.
- Based upon information considered in the assessment, no adverse effects in aquatic and terrestrial organisms have been identified for green coke and calcined coke.
Risk assessment outcomes
- Based upon the consideration of international assessments and use patterns in Canada, the risk to human health from green coke and calcined coke is considered to be low.
- Considering all information presented, it was determined that there is low risk of harm to the environment from green coke and calcined coke.
- The Government of Canada published the Draft Screening Assessment for the Petroleum Coke Group on September 19, 2020. The public is invited to comment on the assessment during the 60-day public comment period ending on November 18, 2020.
Proposed screening assessment conclusions
- As a result of the draft screening assessment, the Government is proposing that green coke and calcined coke are not harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in the assessment, and that these substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
- 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, Canadians should consult their employer for information on what steps to take in the workplace and/or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulator in their jurisdiction.
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