Poly(amines) Group - information sheet

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  • The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, of the Poly(amines) Group to address the potential for harm to Canadians and to the environment.
  • 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, these 9 substances are considered to have low potential for risk to human health and the environment.

About these substances

  • This screening assessment focuses on 9 substances referred to collectively under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) as the Poly(amines) Group. The substances are further sub-grouped into 3 groups:
    • Poly(DADMAC): CAS RNs 26062-79-3, 26590-05-6
    • Poly(EDMA): CAS RNs 25988-97-0, 42751-79-1, 52722-38-0
    • Poly(ASPCA): CAS RNs 69418-26-4, 68130-99-4, 27967-29-9, and 68134-56-5 
  • These substances were previously evaluated under the second phase of polymer rapid screening, which identified low potential to cause harm to human health, but required further evaluation due to their potential to cause ecological harm.
  • The 9 poly(amines) do not occur naturally in the environment.
  • The Government gathers information on substances, including details on their sources and uses in Canada, to support the risk assessment and management of substances under the CMP.
  • The poly(amines) have been reported to be mainly used in water and wastewater treatment, pulp and paper production, and oil field applications.
  • Minor uses of both poly(DADMAC) substances include personal cleansing and grooming products, while minor uses of the poly(ASPCA) substances include liquid laundry and dishwashing detergent, automotive paints and coatings (CAS RN 68134-56-5) and adhesives and sealants (CAS RN 27967-29-9). Minor uses for poly(DADMAC) (CAS 26062-79-3 and 26590-05-6), poly(EDMA) (CAS 25988-97-0, 42751-79-1 and 52722-38-0) and poly(ASPCA) (CAS 69418-26-4) in food packaging materials have also been reported. 

Exposure of Canadians and the environment

  • Exposure to the general population from substances in the Poly(amines) group may vary from low to high.
  • When used appropriately during wastewater treatment, substances in the Poly(amines) Group  are not expected to remain in water. It is common for these substances to be highly removed during wastewater treatment, and residual amounts that reach the aquatic environment are expected to form solids and settle into sediments and therefore not be available.

Key health and ecological effects (hazard)

  • No effects on human health have been identified for the substances in the Poly(amines) Group.
  • The 9 poly(amines) contain functional groups that may be associated with adverse effects to fish, invertebrates, and algae. However, when present with organic matter in waste streams and the receiving environment, the polymers are expected to show moderate to low toxicity to aquatic organisms, and low toxicity to terrestrial organisms in the natural environment.

Risk assessment outcomes

  • Although human exposure was considered as high due to some consumer product uses, the human health hazard for these polymers is expected to be low. Therefore, on the basis of an overall risk potential it is unlikely that current levels of exposure to these substances will pose a human health risk.
  • There are various properties of these polymers that reduce potential exposure to, or accumulation in, organisms; therefore there is low risk of harm to the environment from these substances.
  • The Government of Canada published the Draft Screening Assessment for the Poly(amines) Group on November 10, 2018. This publication has a 60-day public comment period ending on January 9, 2019.

Proposed screening assessment conclusions

  • As a result of this assessment, the Government is proposing that the 9 substances in the Poly(amines) Group are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.
  • The Government is also proposing that these substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.

Important to know

  • Poly(ADMAC) and poly(ASPCA) polymers 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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