Fuel Oil No. 2- information sheet

Fuel oil, no. 2
CAS Registry Number 68476-30-2

Updated March 6, 2019:

The Final Screening Assessment for Fuel Oil No.2 was published in February 2015 under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The assessment is summarized in this information sheet (formerly public summary) and has not changed. The section in this information sheet entitled "Preventive actions and reducing risk" communicates updates in risk management activities for this substance, namely:

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  • The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, of Fuel Oil No. 2, 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 the screening assessment, the Government concluded that Fuel Oil No. 2 is harmful to the environment, but not to human health, at levels of exposure at the time of the assessment.

About this substance

  • The screening assessment focuses on the substance Fuel Oil No. 2 (CAS RN 68476-30-2), which was assessed in the Petroleum Sector Stream Approach (Stream 3) under the CMP.
  • Fuel Oil No. 2 is a complex combination of petroleum hydrocarbons. Its composition varies depending on the source of crude oil or bitumen and how it is processed.
  • According to information gathered by the Government, Fuel Oil No. 2 is primarily used as a fuel source for residential heating. It is also used in medium-capacity commercial/industrial burners.

Human and ecological exposures

  • Exposure of Canadians to Fuel Oil No. 2 from use as a home heating fuel is not expected under normal conditions of use.
  • Limited exposure of Canadians is expected to result from inhalation of evaporative emissions in the vicinity of Fuel Oil No. 2 bulk storage facilities.
  • In the event of a leak or spill from a residential fuel storage tank, there is the potential for short-term exposures.
  • Fuel Oil No. 2 may be released to the environment as a result of spills to soil and/or water from storage, loading, transport and unloading operations.

Key health and ecological effects (hazard)

  • Potential carcinogenicity (ability to cause cancer) was considered to be the important or "critical" effect for this substance, used for characterizing the risk to human health in the assessment.
  • Fuel Oil No. 2 is also considered to have ecological effects of concern, based upon its potential to harm aquatic and terrestrial organisms, as the result of exposure through spills.

Risk assessment outcomes

  • Based upon a comparison of levels to which Canadians may be exposed to Fuel Oil No. 2 and levels associated with health effects, it was determined that the risk to human health from the substance is low.
  • Based upon the information presented in the screening assessment, it was also determined that there is risk of harm to the environment from this substance, based upon the potential for spills to the marine and freshwater environment.
  • The Government published the Final Screening Assessment for Fuel Oil No. 2 on February 21, 2015.

Screening assessment conclusions

  • As a result of the screening assessment, the Government concluded that Fuel Oil No. 2 is not harmful to human health, at levels of exposure at the time of the assessment.
  • The Government also concluded that this substance is entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment at the time of the assessment.

Preventive actions and reducing risk

  • The Government published the Risk Management Approach for Fuel Oil No. 2 for public comment on February 21, 2015.
  • The emergency hazards of Fuel Oil No. 2 were assessed by the Environmental Emergencies Program. On October 8, 2016, the Government proposed to add Fuel Oil No. 2 to the Environmental Emergency Regulations, 2016, based on the findings that this substance poses acute hazards to the environment or to human life and health, if an environmental emergency occurs. The proposed regulations would also allow emergency prevention, preparedness, response and recovery requirements to be put in place for industrial facilities that store or use large quantities of the substance.
  • On June 27, 2017, Fuel Oil No.2 was added to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999, also called the List of Toxic Substances.
  • The Government has also supported work by the Canadian Oil Heat Association to explore potential measures for reducing the occurrence of small spills of Fuel Oil No. 2 associated with residential storage tanks.

Related information

Canadians who may be exposed to this substance 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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