Chemicals and pollutants

Search for a chemical or pollutant to learn more about its effects on your health and how to reduce your risk.

This table is updated on an ongoing basis.

Chemical or Pollutant Description
Asbestos Asbestos is a naturally occurring fireproof mineral that may be found in building materials such as home insulation, ceiling and floor tiles, cement, and plaster. It has also been used in automotive parts such as brake pads or clutches.
Benzophenone Benzophenone is both naturally occurring and man-made. It may be found in dust, food, indoor air and products available to consumers, such as nail polish and paint.
Bisphenol A (BPA) Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made chemical that may be found in the lining of metal food and beverage cans, thermal paper receipts, older polycarbonate baby bottles, and reusable polycarbonate water bottles, pitchers and food storage containers. Polycarbonate is a type of hard, clear plastic.
Boric acid Boric acid (borax, boron or borate) is a naturally occurring chemical found in food, water, rocks and soil. It may also be found in a variety of products available to consumers or as an ingredient for homemade arts and crafts, such as slime.
Carbon monoxide (CO) CO is an air pollutant that has no smell, taste, or colour. It comes from burning fuels such as natural gas, propane, oil, coal and wood. Furnaces, heaters, gas stoves, and fireplaces can release CO if they aren't working properly.
Coal tars Coal tars are made from the heating of coal at certain kinds of steel mill facilities. Coal tar refineries break the coal tars down to make coal tar pitch and other industrial chemicals. They may be found in pavement sealants and products available to consumers, such as certain anti-dandruff shampoos.
Dust and dust mites Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in beds, carpets, furniture, clothes, and anywhere that dust settles. Dust and dust mites are found everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
Flame retardants Flame retardants are man-made chemicals that are added to some products to help limit the spread of fire. They may be found in products such as electronics, clothing, mattresses and upholstered furniture.
Formaldehyde Formaldehyde is an invisible, flammable gas found in various building materials and products available to consumers, including glues, adhesives, paints, varnishes, wallpaper, and more.
Furan compounds Furan compounds are used by industry to make some products available to consumers, such as glues, wood strippers, paint and varnish removers. The furan compounds group contains 4 commercial chemicals: furan, furfuryl alcohol, tetrahydrofuran, and phenolphthalein.
Lead Lead is a metal that may be used in some products available to consumers such as pipes, electronics and batteries. Canadians can be exposed at low levels through air, water, soil and food.
Methylenediphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) substances MDIs are man-made substances that are used in polyurethane products, such as coatings, sealants, foam insulation, packaging wraps, particle board, and foam slabs. MDI substances can also be found in do-it-yourself (DIY) products available to consumers, including adhesives and sealants.
Mould Mould refers to fungi that can grow naturally in damp areas of a building, such as bathrooms, basements and laundry areas.
Pesticides Pesticides refer to many products we use on a regular basis such as swimming pool sanitizers, insect repellents, mothballs, and flea protection products for pets.
Petrolatum Petrolatum is a petroleum-based chemical found in certain cosmetics like lip balm, petroleum jelly, hair care products, and moisturizers.
Phthalates Phthalates are chemicals that are used to soften and increase flexibility of some plastics. They are also used as solvents in household products. They can be found in everyday products such as food packaging, cosmetics, building materials, fabrics and textiles, paints and electronics.
Radon Radon is an invisible and odourless, radioactive gas that is naturally released from the ground.
Second-hand smoke Second-hand smoke comes from burning tobacco products and from exhaled tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke contains chemicals, such as nicotine and carcinogens, which are released into the air during smoking.
Selenium Selenium is a naturally occurring mineral found in the soil, in foods like fish and breads, and in certain products available to consumers, such as anti-dandruff shampoos, multi-vitamin and mineral supplements.
Solvent Violet 13 Solvent Violet 13 is a chemical that is used as a dye. It can be found in products available to consumers, such as candles, cosmetics, pet shampoos, and non-plastic toys.
Talc Talc is a naturally-occurring mineral which has many uses. It may be found in cosmetics, prescription and non-prescription drugs, natural health products, foods, plastics, paper, paint and ceramics.
Triclosan Triclosan is a man-made chemical often added to products to ensure a longer shelf life. It is also used to kill bacteria in many household products such as toothpaste and hand sanitizer, which often display the label "antibacterial."
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) VOCs are a large group of naturally-occurring and man-made substances that can have many sources, including smoke, some paints and varnishes, cleaning products, glues, adhesives, air fresheners, and vehicle exhaust.
Wood smoke Wood smoke is made up of different chemical components, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and small particles. It can enter your home through the use of wood stoves and fireplaces.
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