Liquefied Petroleum Gases (Stream 4 petroleum and refinery gases)

CAS Registry Number 68476-85-7 (Petroleum gases, liquefied)
CAS Registry Number 68476-86-8 (Petroleum gases, liquefied, sweetened)

What are they?

How are they used?

  • LPGs are mainly used as fuels, raw materials for industrial processes, and as aerosol propellants in products available to consumers.
  • LPGs can be used as cooking or heating fuels. They are often stored in cylinder tanks which are available to consumers.
  • LPGs can also be used as a transportation fuel.
  • Based on 2010 data, these two LPGs are manufactured in Canada.

Why did the Government of Canada assess them?

  • These two LPGs were included in the Petroleum Sector Stream Approach (Stream 4) under the Chemicals Management Plan for the screening assessment of potential risks to the environment and to human health.
  • Prior to their assessment by the Government of Canada, these two LPGs were identified as a potential concern to human health. Furthermore, they are classified by international organizations as substances that may cause cancer.
  • These two LPGs were not considered to be a priority for assessment of potential risks to the environment. However, potential environmental effects were also evaluated in the screening assessment.

How are Canadians exposed to them?

  • Canadians may be exposed to LPGs during the indoor use of aerosol products containing LPGs as propellants.
  • Canadians living in the vicinity of petroleum facilities or filling stations may be exposed to LPGs.

How are they released into the environment?

  • Unintentional releases of LPGs into the atmosphere may occur during production within petroleum refineries.
  • LPGs may also be released during transportation and transferring and during their use by consumers.

What are the results of the assessment?

  • The Government of Canada has conducted a science-based evaluation of LPGs, called a screening assessment.
  • Screening assessments address the potential for harm to the general population of Canada and the environment. More information on types of approaches used to address substances can be found in the Risk Assessment Toolbox fact sheet.
  • Results of the final screening assessment indicate that these two LPGs are not expected to accumulate in or cause harm to organisms. Furthermore, the quantities of these LPGs that may be released to the environment are below the levels expected to cause harm to organisms. The Government of Canada has therefore concluded that these two LPGs are not entering the environment at levels that constitute a danger to the environment.
  • Exposure to these two LPGs through their use as propellants in aerosol products and in the vicinity of filling stations is not expected to cause harm to the general population of Canada.
  • Unintentional releases of these two LPGs from petroleum refining facilities contribute to the total releases of petroleum and refinery gases (PRGs) that have been previously assessed. In the final screening assessment of Stream 1 site-restricted petroleum and refinery gases published in June 2013, the Government of Canada concluded that site-restricted PRGs may be considered harmful to human health as there is a small portion of the general population that may be exposed in the vicinity of petroleum facilities.
  • Therefore, the Government of Canada has concluded that these two LPGs may be harmful to human health at current levels of exposure.

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • The Government of Canada published the Final Screening Assessment for Liquefied Petroleum Gases and the Proposed Risk Management Approach for Liquefied Petroleum Gases on February 25, 2017. The Approach document is followed by a 60-day public comment period, ending on April 26, 2017.
  • The risk management being considered for these two LPGs is aimed at reducing fugitive air emissions from certain petroleum facilities. It is anticipated that a regulation currently under development for 44 PRGs under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 will also be used to address harmful releases of LPGs.

What can Canadians do?

  • The health risks associated with a chemical depend on its hazard (its potential to cause health effects) and the amount of substance to which a person is exposed.
  • Except under special circumstances, it is unlikely that most Canadians would be exposed to LPGs on a regular basis.
  • However, as a general precaution, Canadians are reminded when using any product to carefully follow any safety warnings and directions, and to dispose of the products appropriately.
  • Canadians who may be exposed to LPGs in the workplace should consult with their employer and occupational health and safety (OHS) representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws and requirements under the OHS legislation and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
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