On January 31, 2009 Environment Canada and Health Canada (Government) released their joint final decision on the screening assessment of a series of 16 chemical substances (Batch 2 chemicals) as part of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan. The Plan was initiated in 2006 to assess the safety of certain priority chemicals on the Domestic Substances List that were identified as potentially harmful. (There were 17 substances in Batch 2 when it was originally released as part of the initiative on May 12, 2007. The final screening assessment conclusion for one substance in Batch 2, Bisphenol A, was released on October 18, 2008.)

CEPA Toxic Substances

Of the 16 remaining Batch 2 substances, the Government concluded that two substances – Cyclotetrasiloxane, octamethyl- (D4) and Cyclopentasiloxane, decamethyl- (D5) (also known as cyclomethicone) – commonly found in consumer products such as shampoos, conditioners and antiperspirants meet one or more of the criteria set out in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) as a "toxic" substance. As a result, the Government has recommended that these substances be added to Schedule 1 of CEPA (toxic substances). It will consider imposing regulations to limit the quantity or concentration of D4 and D5 contained in certain personal care products and other consumer products manufactured in and imported into Canada.

In addition, isoprene and epichlorohydrin (and the two hair dyes that use epichlorohydrin in their manufacture - HC Blue No. 5 and HC Blue No. 4), both commonly found in cosmetic products, are proposed to be added to Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, which will prevent their future use in cosmetics. Following the screening assessment, both substances were designated as carcinogens.

On February 20, 2009 screening assessments for 19 chemical substances included in Batch 5 of the Plan were also released. Two of these substances are proposed to be of concern to human health. Specifically, the Government is also proposing to add acrylamide to Schedule 1 of CEPA (toxic substances). Acrylamide is used to make polymers commonly found in cosmetics (as well as grout, cement, diapers and other products). It is also commonly found in processed fried foods (such as french fries and potato chips) as a result of a chemical reaction when certain ingredients are exposed to high cooking temperatures. At this time, the Government has not proposed a risk management approach for acrylamide, but has indicated that it plans to use the Food and Drugs Act “to reduce the inadvertent production of acrylamide in certain processed foods intended for human consumption.”

The Government is inviting comments from industry and other interested stakeholders on its proposed risk management approach for the Batch 2 substances until April 1, 2009. Draft regulations are expected by January 2011. For more information on Batch 2 substances and proposed risk management approaches, click here. Comments on the proposed addition of acrylamide to CEPA’s toxic substances list will be received until April 22, 2009. For more information on the risk assessments for the Batch 5 substances, click here.