Phenol-Formaldehyde Resins Group - information sheet

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  • 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 8 substances in the Phenol-Formaldehyde Resins 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.
  • As a result of this screening assessment, the 8 substances in the Phenol-Formaldehyde Resins Group are proposed to be concluded not harmful to human health or to the environment.

About these substances

  • This screening assessment focuses on 8 substances referred to collectively under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) as the Phenol-Formaldehyde Resins Group.
  • These substances were previously evaluated under the Second Phase of Polymer Rapid Screening and identified as requiring further assessment due to potential human health risk.
  • Phenol-formaldehyde resins do not occur naturally in the environment but are man-made.
  • According to information gathered by the Government, these substances are reported to be used in Canada  as adhesives, sealants, process aids, intermediates, corrosion inhibitors, fillers, bleaching agents, encapsulating agents, surface active agents, fixing agents (dying auxiliary), and abrasives. They may be used in several industries, such as plastics and rubbers, paints/inks, food packaging , coatings, building/construction, electronics, oil and gas, metal, auto care, fabrics, textile, leather, cosmetics and toys (as thermoset plastic).

Human and ecological exposures

  • These substances were determined to have limited exposure since their components are manufactured to react and are trapped within a hardened polymer matrix from which they are not expected to be released. Exposure by oral, inhalation and dermal routes is not expected, neither is exposure from the environment (for example, drinking water).
  • Available information indicates that the 8 substances in the Phenol-Formaldehyde Resins Group have either low import quantities or low environmental exposures.

Key health and ecological effects (hazard)

  • No effects on human health have been identified for risk characterization of these substances.
  • Potential for ecological harm was evaluated under the Second Phase of Polymer Rapid Screening. No ecological concerns were identified for any of the 8 substances.
  • pC-BPA-tBPF meets the same criteria which identify a Low Concern Polymers' criteria. Polymers which are described by this criteria, have a limited percentage of low-molecular-weight components, are chemically stable and do not contain reactive components; therefore, they present low human health concern.

Risk assessment outcomes

Proposed screening assessment conclusions

  • As a result of this assessment, the Government is proposing to conclude thatthe 8 substances in this group are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure and are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.

Related information

  • Phenol-formaldehyde resins may be found in products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions on product labels and dispose of products responsibly.
  • Canadians who may be exposed to these substances 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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