On October 21, 2010 the federal Health Minister gave notice under CEPA of a proposed residential indoor air quality guideline for toluene:

Residential maximum exposure limits for toluene

Click here for table

Heath Canada referenced indoor sources of toluene as including building materials, e.g. solvent and water-based adhesives, floor covering, paint and chip board. It stated:

“Canadian’s exposure to toluene is attributed predominantly to indoor air, because indoor air levels generally exceed ambient air levels, because of the greater time spent indoors”…. Exposure to toluene has been shown to cause eye, nose and throat irritation, as well as headaches, dizziness and feelings of intoxication. It has also been linked to neurological effects, including poorer performances in tests, short-term memory, attention and concentration, visual scanning, perceptual motor speeds and finger dexterity in the completion of physical tasks, as well as negative effects on colour vision and auditory capacity… Median concentrations of toluene measured in Canadian residences range from 5.5 to 24.7 ug/m3 and average concentrations from 11.5 to 34.4 ug/m3 . Peak concentrations can reach values of one to two orders of magnitude higher.”

Health Canada’s notice indicated that its recommended short and long term maximum exposure limits for toluene are presented in the Table (above) along with the critical health effects on which they are based. The averages over 8 and 24-hour sampling times are recommended as appropriate indicators of short and long-term exposure levels, respectively. “Exposure to indoor air concentrations above these limits may result in potential health effects.”

For further information see Canada Gazette, Part I, December 11, 2010, p.3142. Gazette Page 3142