Bay oil and your health

Learn about bay oil, its potential health risks and how to reduce your exposure

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About bay oil

Bay oil is extracted from the pimentaplant and is known as an essential oil. It can occur naturally in food and may be used as a food-flavouring agent. It's also used as a fragrance ingredient in a variety of products available to consumers, such as:

Bay oil can be purchased as an essential oil at a concentration of up to 100%. It may be used by consumers as an ingredient in do-it-yourself (DIY) products and applications at home.

Bay oil may also be called:

Safety of bay oil

Under Canada's Chemicals Management Plan, we review and manage the potential risks that chemical substances can pose to people in Canada and the environment. The first stage of the review process is a draft chemical risk assessment.

We have completed the draft assessment of bay oil. We're proposing that bay oil may increase your risk of cancer when used in certain DIY products that are inhaled or applied to the skin, including:

We're also proposing that:

What we're doing to reduce your exposure to bay oil

Our assessment is not yet final. We're continuing to evaluate the potential risk posed by bay oil before we publish our final conclusion. This includes:

If the proposed findings for bay oil are confirmed in the final assessment, we will consider:

Methyl eugenol, a chemical found in bay oil, is already described as restricted on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. This list provides information to manufacturers on the permitted use of essential oils that contain methyl eugenol in certain cosmetics.

You can provide any comments on our draft assessment and proposed risk management during the 60-day public comment period.

What you can do to reduce your exposure to bay oil

You can take steps to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.

Limit your use of bay oil in DIY products and applications that are inhaled or applied to the skin.

Read product labels and follow all safety warnings and directions:

If you're unsure if your product contains bay oil, contact the manufacturer.

If you're exposed to bay oil at work, talk to your employer and occupational health and safety (OHS) official about:

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