Phenol-Formaldehyde Resins Group - information sheet

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  • The Government of Canada conducted a science-based screening assessment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment from the 8 substances in the Phenol-formaldehyde Resins Group.
  • 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.
  • As a result of this screening assessment, the Government concluded that the 8 substances in the Phenol-formaldehyde Resins Group are not harmful to human health or to the environment at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.

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 concerns for human health.
  • Phenol-formaldehyde resins do not occur naturally in the environment, but are human-made.
  • According to information gathered by the Government, these substances are reported to be used in Canada in a variety of ways such as adhesives, sealants, corrosion inhibitors, fillers, bleaching agents, fixing agents, and abrasives. They may be used in several industries, such as plastics and rubbers, paints/inks, food packaging, coatings, building/construction, printed circuit board, electronics, oil and gas, metal, auto care, fabrics, textile, leather, cosmetics, and toys.

Human and ecological exposures

  • These substances were determined to have limited exposure because 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 environmental media (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.
  • One of the resins, pC-BPA-tBPF, meets the same criteria which identify polymers of low concern. Polymers which are described by these 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

  • On the basis of the information presented in this screening assessment, the risk to human health from phenol-formaldehyde resins is low.
  • It was also determined that there is low risk of harm to the environment from these substances.
  • The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for the Phenol-Formaldehyde Resins Group on December 12, 2020.

Screening assessment conclusions

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

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