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 12 substances in the Resins and Rosins 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 Government is proposing that tall oil is harmful to the environment but not human health. DHAA, TOP, storax, rosin (CAS RN 8050-09-7, 8052-10-6, 73138-82-6), RHME, RMa, RCa, RNa, and RME are not proposed to be harmful to human health or the environment. Although DTO, rosin (CAS RN 8050-09-7, 8052-10-6, 73138-82-6), RCa and RNa may be associated with ecological effects of concern, the risk to the environment is low at current levels of exposure.
Under the Domestic Substances List, tall oil covers two distinct materials usually referred to in Canada as crude tall oil and distilled tall oil.
About these substances
The screening assessment focuses on 12 of 14 substances referred to collectively as the Resins and Rosins Group, under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The substances addressed in the screening assessment are: 1-phenanthrenecarboxylic acid, 1,2,3,4,4a,9,10,10a-octahydro-1,4a-dimethyl-7-(1-methylethyl)-, [1R-(1α,4aβ,10aα)] (DHAA); tall oil (crude or distilled, CTO or DTO, respectively); tall-oil pitch (TOP); storax (balsam); rosin (CAS RN 8050-09-7); resin acids and rosins acids, hydrogentated, Me esters (RHME); rosin, maleated (RMa); tall-oil rosin (also known as rosin or CAS RN 8052-10-6); resin acids and rosin acids, calcium salts (RCa); resin acids and rosin acids, sodium salts (RNa); resin acids and rosin acids, Me esters (RME); and resin acids and rosin acids (also known as rosin or CAS RN 73138-82-6).
Two other substances in the Resins and Rosins Group were determined to be of low concern to both human health and the environment through other approaches.
Resin and Rosin substances may be human-made as well as naturally occuring in soil, lakes and streams due to natural processes (that is, decay from plant materials), as well as trees (coniferous trees such as pine trees, and sweet gum tree species).
These substances may also be downstream by-products resulting from the pulp and paper industry (such as, Kraft pulping that transforms wood into wood pulp), or the extraction of rosin from live trees or wood stumps.
In Canada, substances in the Resins and Rosins Group are imported and/or manufactured.
The Government gathers information on substances, including details on sources and uses in Canada, to support the risk assessment and management of substances under the CMP.
Substances in the Resins and Rosins Group are used by industry as processing aids, and in electronics solder (that is, permanently bonding metal pieces together with heated metal), concrete production, rubber compounding, steelmaking, and formulation of paints, coatings and other products.
In Canada, substances in this group may be found in products available to consumers, such as adhesives or binding agents, and cosmetics.
Human and ecological exposures
The primary source of exposure of Canadians to resins and rosins is from the use of cosmetics, such as waxing treatments, moisturizers and lipsticks.
Canadians may also be exposed to these substances through house dust.
Resins and rosins are released into the environment through emissions to surface water from industrial activities. Such releases are likely to result in exposure to aquatic organisms near points of release.
Certain components of these substances are expected to remain in the environment for a long time and may accumulate in organisms.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
No effects on human health have been identified for resins and rosins.
Tall oil, through releases from CTO manufacturing activities, has the potential to cause effects in aquatic organisms at current levels of exposure.
DHAA, balsam, RME and rosin (CAS RN 73138-82-6) were identified as substances with low ecological hazard potential according to information considered under the Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach
Risk assessment outcomes
Based upon a comparison of levels to which Canadians may be exposed to Resins and Rosins Group substances, and the levels associated with health effects, the risk to human health for these 12 substances is considered to be low.
The Ecological Risk Classification of Organic Substances Approach characterized four substances as posing a low risk of harm to the environment. The draft screening assessment indicates that another 7 substances are also unlikely to cause harm to the environment.
Considering all information presented, it is proposed that there is a risk of harm to aquatic organisms from tall oil through releases from crude tall oil manufacturing activities.
As a result of this assessment, the Government is proposing that the substances in the Resins and Rosins Groups are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.
The Government is proposing that tall oil, specifically CTO, is entering the environment at concentrations that may be harmful to the environment. It is also proposing that the other 11 substances are not harmful to the environment.
The Government intends to propose that crude tall oil (CTO) be added to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999, also called the List of Toxic Substances.
If the proposed conclusion is confirmed in the final screening assessment, the Government is considering the following actions to address ecological concerns associated with CTO:
The implementation of regulatory and non-regulatory controls to minimize the release of CTO to the Canadian environment.
Although DTO, rosin, RCa and RNa are not considered to be harmful to the environment at current levels of exposure, these substances are considered to have elevated hazards to the environment at low concentrations. Therefore, there may be a potential risk to the environment if quantities of these substances in the environment were to increase.
For this reason, follow-up activities to track changes in exposure and/or use patterns for these substances are being considered.
Stakeholders are encouraged to provide any information pertaining to these substances that may help inform the choice of follow-up activity, during the 60-day public comment period on the assessment. This could include information on new or planned import, manufacture or use of the substances.
Resins and rosins may be found in products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions on product labels and dispose of products responsibly.
Visit Healthy Home for more information on chemical safety in and around the home.
Canadians who may be exposed to Resins and Rosins Group in the workplace should 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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