Benzophenone

Learn about benzophenone.

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About benzophenone

Benzophenone is an industrial chemical. It also occurs in the environment, in some fruits and plants.

You may be exposed to benzophenone from dust, food, indoor air, and products like:

  • inks
  • toners
  • cosmetics
  • paints, stains and coatings
  • e-cigarettes and vaping products
  • colourants, such as inks used in food packaging

It may also be used to flavour food.

Safety of benzophenone

Under Canada's Chemicals Management Plan, we review and manage the potential risks that chemical substances can pose to Canadians and the environment. We have recently completed our final chemical risk assessment for benzophenone.

Our final assessment has found that benzophenone is a health concern from the use of the following products:

  • nail polish
  • exterior and interior paints and stains

The health effects from the use of these products include:

  • effects on the kidneys
  • maternal effects

Benzophenone:

  • poses a risk from the use of these products when:
    • there is skin contact
    • the fumes are breathed in

The final assessment has also found that benzophenone:

  • is not harmful to the environment
  • does not pose a health risk from the following sources:
    • dust
    • food
    • indoor air
    • baby bottles

What we're doing

To reduce Canadians' exposure to benzophenone in these products of concern, we're proposing to:

  • add benzophenone to the
    • Toxic substances list, which allows Canada to implement preventive or control actions for the life cycle of the substance, from the research and development stage through manufacture, use, storage, transport and disposal or recycling
    • list of prohibited or restricted ingredients on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist
  • develop a code of practice with industry to urge manufacturers to reduce the concentration of benzophenone in paint and/or coating products to:
    • 1,000 mg/kg, or
    • a maximum of 0.1 % (w/w or weight for weight)

What you can do

Consumers are reminded to:

  • read product labels and follow all safety warnings and directions
    • labels on cosmetics must list all ingredients
  • use personal protective equipment, when listed, to minimize skin exposure or inhalation
  • open windows or doors, or run exhaust fans, during and after using a product with benzophenone
  • avoid using nail polish, paints and stains containing benzophenone if you are pregnant
  • dispose of the product safely, following the manufacturer's directions
  • limit direct skin contact with products that may contain benzophenone, such as nail polish or paints and stains

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

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