Industrial Nanomaterials

Health Canada and Environment Canada share responsibility under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) to assess and manage risks from chemicals and other substances, including nanomaterials, that are imported, used, or manufactured in Canada. Environment Canada assesses the environmental risk; whereas, Health Canada assesses the human-health risk.

Substances listed on the Domestic Substances List (DSL) whose nanoscale forms do not have unique structures or molecular arrangements are considered "existing substances." The nanoscale form of a substance on the DSL is considered a "new substance" if it has unique structures or molecular arrangements.  In addition, nanomaterials which are intended to be manufactured in or imported into Canada that are not listed on the DSL are also considered "new." As all new substances, new nanomaterials are subject to notification under the  New Substances Notification Regulations (NSNR) (Chemicals and Polymers). Importers and manufacturers of these nanomaterials must submit the required information package to the Minister of Environment prior to import or manufacture of an amount that exceeds the quantity triggers set out in the NSNR.

Nanomaterials that are either existing or new are evaluated to determine their potential effects on human health and the environment. Assessments look at the type of hazard, considering the potential unique properties of the nanomaterial, and level of exposure and where needed, risk management measures are put in place to mitigate the risk identified.

Industrial nanomaterials are assessed the same way as new chemicals. The focus is on examining how a property of a nanomaterial may affect the type of hazard and the mechanisms and level of exposure.

For more information on the role of Health Canada in the New Substances program under CEPA, 1999, please visit:  New Substances Program.

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