The risks posed by a substance are determined both by its 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.
A draft screening assessment was conducted for a subset of 34 substances identified as being of low concern.
As a result of the draft screening assessment, the Government is proposing that these 34 substances are not harmful to human health or to the environment at levels of exposure considered in the assessment.
According to information gathered by the Government, a few of these substances may be used in Canada for a variety of industrial and consumer uses (including food packaging materials, drugs, natural health products, cosmetics, sealants, lubricants and greases, paper products, paints and coatings, batteries, water treatment products, pesticides, and disinfectants).
Human and ecological exposures
The human health exposure and risks of 33 of the 34 substances were characterized using 2 science approaches based upon biomonitoring data. Human biomonitoring is the measurement of substances in blood, urine or other human tissues and fluids (such as breast milk, nails or hair) through health studies or surveys, such as the Canadian Health Measures Survey. The information on levels in humans is important to estimating exposure to Canadians.
Substances containing cerium, germanium, lanthanum, neodymium, praseodymium, tellurium, and yttrium (10 substances) were characterized using the biomonitoring-based approach 1, and Canadians' exposure to them is considered unlikely or limited.
Twenty-three bismuth- and lithium-containing substances were characterized using the biomonitoring-based approach 2, which found that Canadians' exposure is below levels associated with critical health effects.
The human health exposure and risk of sodium bromate (1 substance) was characterized using the rapid screening of substances with limited general population exposure.
For all 34 substances, the ecological exposure was characterized in the ERC-I Approach using predictive modelling (a generic near-field exposure model) and an analysis of measured concentrations of metals. Information was gathered from surveys issued under section 71 of CEPA 1999, the National Pollutant Release Inventory, the Canada Border Services Agency, market research and a number of federal and provincial water quality monitoring datasets.
Key health and ecological effects (hazard)
To inform the health effects characterization in the screening assessment, international and national reports of data on these substances were considered. This included assessments by the United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and other Health Canada reviews.
Because bismuth- and lithium-containing substances were assessed under the biomonitoring-based approach 2, iomonitoring equivalents (concentration in blood related to health-based guidance values) were determined for these substances
For the 34 substances, ecological hazard was characterized in the ERC-I Approach. The approach uses published predicted no-effect concentrations (PNECs; the concentration below which exposure to a substance is not expected to cause adverse effects in the environment) from domestic and international assessments and water quality guidelines. When no suitable PNECs were available, new ones were derived considering multiple sources of information.
Risk assessment outcomes
Using the 3 human health approaches noted above, it was determined that the risk to human health from these 34 substances is low at levels of exposure considered in this assessment.
Using the ERC-I Approach, these 34 substances were characterized as unlikely to be causing ecological harm.
Proposed screening assessment conclusions
The Government is proposing that these 34 substances are not harmful to human health or the environment at levels of exposure considered in this assessment.
These substances may be found in products available to consumers. Canadians should follow any safety warnings and directions related to the product and dispose of products responsibly.
Use the Substances Search tool to find substances that are referenced in certain legislative or regulatory instruments or on Government of Canada websites.