Used and Re-refined Oils Group - information sheet

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Overview

  • The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, of the Used and Re-refined Oils 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, it is proposed that used oil residue, used vacuum gas oil, C12-25 used distillate, C5-18 used distillate, used light oil, hydrotreated residue, refined used oil, and clay-treated used oil are not harmful to human health or to the environment.

About these substances

  • This screening assessment focuses on 8 of 9 substances referred to collectively under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) as the Used and Re-refined Oils Group. The substances addressed in this screening assessment are used oil residue, used vacuum gas oil, C12-25 used distillate, C5-18 used distillate, used light oil, hydrotreated residue, refined used oil, and clay-treated used oil.
  • Lubricant oils, used, also referred to as used oil, were found to meet the broad classification of used crankcase oils and was therefore considered to have already been addressed through the Priority Substances List Assessment Report of Waste/Used Crankcase Oils in 1994 and the follow-up report in 2005. It was found that used crankcase oils are entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment. Waste/used crankcase oils are subject to provincial and territorial risk management measures. As such, this substance will not be subject to further risk assessment work at this time under the CMP given previous regulatory activities.
  • These substances do not occur naturally. They are produced during re-processing and re-refining processes (which are processes to refurbish used oils to high-quality base oils).
  • Used vacuum gas oil, C12-25 used distillate, C5-18 used distillate, used light oil, and hydrotreated residue are used within industrial facilities as lubricant oils.
  • Refined used oil and clay-treated used oil are base oils with commercial and industrial applications.
  • Some of the substances in the Used and Re-refined Oils Group have similar physical-chemical properties and uses to used crankcase oils, asphalts, base oils, and other substances.

Human and ecological exposures

  • Exposures associated with asphalt use of used oil residue are described in the Screening Assessment for Asphalt and Oxidized Asphalt. As described in that assessment, dried asphalt likely entraps contaminants and other petroleum substances which limit the exposure of used oil residue to Canadians and the environment.
  • Exposures associated with uses of used vacuum gas oil, C12-25 used distillate, C5-18 used distillate, and used light oil are similar to those described in the Final Screening Assessment of Petroleum Sector Stream Approach for Low Boiling Point Naphthas (Industrial-restricted). These substances are used within industrial facilities and do not enter the marketplace as products available for consumers, which restricts their exposure to Canadians and to the environment.
  • There was no information found indicating that hydro-treated residue and clay-treated used oil are currently used or produced in Canada. Therefore there are no known sources of exposure to Canadians or to the environment from these substances.
  • Exposures associated with uses of refined used oil were similar to those described in the Draft Screening Assessment for Base Oils draft. There is limited exposure expected from the industrial products where this substance is found.

Key health and ecological effects (hazard)

  • Effects on human health and aquatic organisms were not quantified for substances in this group, due to their limited potential for exposure.

Risk assessment outcomes

Proposed screening assessment conclusions

  • Used oil was found to meet the broad classification of used crankcase oils, and is considered to have been addressed through previous assessment activities; therefore this substance will not be subject to further risk assessment work at this time under the CMP.
  • As a result of this assessment, the Government is proposing that used oil residue, used vacuum gas oil, C12-25 used distillate, C5-18 used distillate, used light oil, hydrotreated residue, refined used oil, and clay-treated used oil are not harmful to human health at current levels of exposure, and that these 8 substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment.

Related information

  • These substances 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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