Site-restricted petroleum and refinery gases - information sheet
- Final Screening Assessment for Site-Restricted Petroleum and Refinery Gases (published on June 1, 2013). Public comments received on the draft screening assessment and risk management scope were considered, and a summary was published.
- Risk management actions were taken.
- Associated notice: Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 147, No. 23 - June 1, 2013
On this page
- About these substances
- Human and ecological exposures
- Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Risk assessment outcomes
- Preventive actions and reducing risk
- Related information
- The Government of Canada conducts risk assessments of substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) to determine whether they present or may present a risk to human health or to the environment.
- The risks posed by a substance are determined by bothits hazardous properties (potential to cause adverse human health or ecological effects) and the amount or extent of exposure to people and the environment.
- When needed, the Government implements risk management measures under CEPA 1999 and other federal acts to help prevent or reduce potential harm.
- The Government concluded that the 40 site-restricted petroleum and refinery gases substances are harmful to human health at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
- The concern was for a small portion of Canadians that may be exposed near petroleum facilities. These substances are associated with the potential to cause cancer. Risk management actions were taken.
- The Government also concluded that the 40 site-restricted petroleum and refinery gases substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.
About these substances
- The summary of Stream 1 substances and publications of the Petroleum Sector Stream Approach includes details on the substance names and CAS Registry Numbers.
- The screening assessment focused on 40 substances, referred to collectively under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) as site-restricted PRGs under Stream 1 of the Petroleum Sector Stream Approach.
- PRGs are complex combinations of petroleum hydrocarbons. Their compositions vary depending on the source of crude oil, bitumen, or natural gas, and how they are processed.
- According to information gathered by the Government, PRGs are often used as fuel in petroleum facilities, or are further refined or blended into other products.
- Site-restricted PRGs are not expected to be transported off refinery, upgrader or natural gas processing facility sites.
Human and ecological exposures
- The screening assessment indicated that exposure to Canadians is expected to be limited to the unintentional emissions of these substances in the vicinity of petroleum facilities.
- Although measures and practices are in place to limit the releases of petroleum substances within the facility, unintentional releases of these substances into the atmosphere may occur.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
- Carcinogenicity (potential to cause cancer) was considered to be the important or critical effect for these substances, used for characterizing the risk to human health in the assessment.
- Some of these substances are also associated with ecological effects, based upon their potential to remain in the environment for a long time.
Risk assessment outcomes
- Based upon the information presented in the screening assessment, it was determined that these substances may pose a risk to human health, as there is a small portion of Canadians that may be exposed near petroleum facilities.
- It was also determined that there is low risk of harm to the environment from these substances, as concentrations of components of PRGs in air surrounding petroleum facilities are not expected to be at levels that could result in harm to the environment.
- None of these substances contains components that meet the bioaccumulation criteria as set out in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations of CEPA 1999; however, many of the components of site-restricted PRGs meet the persistence criteria, as they persist in the atmosphere.
Screening assessment conclusions
- The Government concluded that these 40 site-restricted PRGs are harmful to human health, at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
- The Government also concluded that these substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful.
Preventive actions and reducing risk
- The Government published the Risk Management Approach for Site-Restricted Petroleum and Refinery Gases for public comment, on June 1, 2013.
- On October 5, 2016, the 40 site-restricted petroleum and refinery gases were added to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999, also called the List of Toxic Substances. Adding a substance to the list does not restrict its use, manufacture or import. Rather, it enables the Government to take risk management actions under CEPA 1999.
- On November 11, 2020, the Reduction in the Release of Volatile Organic Compounds Regulations (Petroleum Sector) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These regulations will reduce unintentional releases of volatile organic compounds, including PRGs, from petroleum sector facilities.
Where to find updates on risk management actions
- Updates on actions can be found on the timeline for Stream 1 of the Petroleum Sector Stream Approach . Up-to-date information on the regulations, including any legislative change, is available on the Reduction in the Release of Volatile Organic Compounds Regulations (Petroleum Sector) web page.
- Additional information on the risk management of substances addressed under the CMP is available.
- Use the Substances Search tool to find substances that are referenced in certain legislative or regulatory instruments or on Government of Canada websites.
- 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 (WHMIS). For information concerning workplace health and safety and what steps to take in the workplace, Canadians should consult their employer or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulator in their jurisdiction.
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