Fuel Oil No. 4, Fuel Oil No. 6 and Residual Fuel Oil - information sheet

Fuel oil, no. 4
CAS Registry Number 68476-31-3

Fuel oil, no. 6
CAS Registry Number 68553-00-4

Fuel oil, residual
CAS Registry Number 68476-33-5

Updated March 6, 2019:

The Final Screening Assessment for Fuel Oil No. 4, Fuel Oil No. 6 and Residual Fuel Oil was published in April 2014 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 "Related information" communicates updates on these substances, namely:

On this page

Overview

  • The Government of Canada conducted a science-based evaluation, called a screening assessment, of Fuel Oil No. 4, Fuel Oil No. 6, and Residual Fuel Oil, 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.
  • These substances are associated with human health and ecological effects; however, as a result of the screening assessment, the Government concluded that these substances are not harmful to human health or to the environment, at levels of exposure at the time of the assessment.

About these substances

  • The screening assessment focuses on 3 substances, CAS RNs 68476-31-3, 68553-00-4, and 68476-33-5, referred to as Fuel Oil No. 4, Fuel Oil No. 6, and Residual Fuel Oil respectively, in the Petroleum Sector Stream Approach (Stream 3) under the CMP.
  • Fuel Oil No. 4, Fuel Oil No. 6 and Residual Fuel Oil, also known as heavy fuel oils (HFOs), are complex combinations of petroleum hydrocarbons.
  • Their compositions vary depending on the source of crude oil or bitumen feedstock and how they are processed.
  • According to information gathered by the Government, these 3 HFOs are primarily used by industry as fuels for energy production (heat and electricity) and for marine transportation.

Human and ecological exposure

  • Exposure of Canadians to these 3 HFOs is not expected as they are primarily used by industry.
  • These substances have the potential to be released to the environment through 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 these substances, used for characterizing the risk to human health in the assessment.
  • These substances are also considered to have ecological effects of concern, based upon their potential to harm aquatic organisms, as well as seabirds and their eggs.

Risk assessment outcomes

  • Exposure of Canadians to these 3 substances is not expected; therefore, the risk to human health is considered to be low.
  • The potential for spills of these 3 HFOs of a sufficient size to cause harm to organisms is considered to be low; therefore, it was also determined that there is low risk of harm to the environment from these substances.
  • The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for Fuel Oil No. 4, Fuel Oil No. 6 and Residual Fuel Oil on April 12, 2014.

Screening assessment conclusions

  • As a result of the screening assessment, the Government concluded that these 3 substances are not harmful to human health, at levels of exposure at the time of the assessment.
  • The Government also concluded that these substances are not entering the environment at levels that are harmful to the environment at the time of the assessment.

Related information

  • These substances were not considered to be harmful to human health or the environment at levels of exposure at the time of the assessment; however the emergency hazards of these substances were assessed by the Environmental Emergencies Program.
  • On October 8, 2016, the Government proposed to add these 3 substances to the Environmental Emergency Regulations, 2016, based on the findings that these substances pose 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 these substances.
  • With use and carriage of these substances expected to increase in the Canadian Arctic, the Government of Canada is undertaking a study to project vessel traffic and fuel use.
  • Canadians who may be exposed to these substances 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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